Here’s what my tasks screen looks like:
Later is the total backlog of stuff to do and it stays collapsed. I have a recurring todo to review the Later pile and pull items into Upcoming.
Upcoming is my backlog for the week. I’ve divided it into days so I can schedule out my week. I put items that need more time or analysis on days with bigger blocks of time available, and the shorter tasks fit into days with more meetings.
Meetings get todo items as well. That forces me to weigh the meetings against the other items on my list, and to think about what I need to do to prepare for the meeting.
Today gets subdivided into three sections: Meetings, WIP, and Todo. Meetings for the day go there on the day-of. Todo is a list of new tasks or sub-tasks that I haven’t started on that I’d like to accomplish today.
WIP is where any task that I’ve started, but not completed, goes. It’s my work in progress column. I review it daily, and see what next steps I need to take to complete those items. Sometimes its following up with someone whom I need input or approval from. Other times I’ve already put a next step into that item as a subtask.
With Asana, you can put subtasks into Upcoming or Todo, while the parent tasks stays in WIP. As a manager, a lot of my tasks have a “ask and wait for feedback” step. So I create a subtask for “Incorporate team’s feedback” and schedule it for the day after the feedback is due.
Finally, a word on Due Dates. I love to use the due date as a tickler function. I have a good idea. There’s no room in my current week, and the new idea isn’t important enough to bump anything off the list. I give it a due date for a week or two out and stash it in Later so it’s off my mind. Then when the due date comes up it automatically shows up in Today for me to consider scheduling it.
For items where I have a firm due date I promised someone else, I set a due date and tag it with fixed-date so I know its deadline is unmovable.