Asana tip: How to set important task deadlines.

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There’s no stress quite like the frantic rush to hit a looming deadline. But panic-stricken working doesn’t have to be the status quo. A little extra consideration when setting due dates can go a long way to help plan your work schedule.

First of all, always build in a little extra buffer time for unexpected delays and setbacks. If you like, you can think of “due dates” as “done dates”.

✅ Set the Due Date for when you plan to have done it.

…NOT the latest possible deadline. 

If you must complete a task by next Friday or the world ends, it’s probably best not to set the Due Date as next Friday. Aim to get it done sooner. Nobody likes to be on the back foot, frantically rushing to complete something in time. For example, if you need to process employee Payroll, don’t set the Due Date as payday on 28th. By then, it’s already too late.

Deadlines for big tasks

It is also helpful to break down big tasks into smaller tasks or sub-tasks. Aim to be able to complete each one in a single sitting. This makes the daily planning process much easier.

However, some big tasks cannot be easily split into smaller tasks. For example: editing a 60 minute Youtube video. This may take many hours, split across many sessions over many days. In these cases, set a Start Date to show when you plan to begin work. You can then use time estimate tags to show how long you plan to spend during each session.

 💡 TIP 1: Task Start Dates can be particularly useful for time-consuming recurring tasks. Take the payroll example above. The chances are you don’t need to start processing it on the 1st of each month. Instead, you might consider setting the Start Date, say, seven days before the deadline. If the deadline is 25th, you might set a Start Date of the 18th.

💡 TIP 2: Use the keyboard shortcut TAB + D to quickly add a Due Date to the selected task. 

💡 TIP 3: Asana understands some words in the date field. Try typing “today” or “tomorrow” or “monday” – or even “next week” or “next month” – and see what happens!

Give it a go.

Dave J Mason
Solutions Partner
How to set important task deadlines.

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