Asana — My Bucket System for personal tasks management

Disclaimer: this article talks about a task management system for Asana, but the underlying concept can be used with any task management solution.

For years, Asana has been my go to solution to manage my life. Lately, things have gotten pretty hectic with Asana storing tasks about my startup work, my work as a freelance developer, tasks about personal matters (family, holidays, gifts…), tasks about my side-projects and more recently tasks about my soon-to-be consulting practice in Asana integration and my plan of merging all my Asana activities under one single banner.

Then you won’t be surprised if I tell you the “My Tasks” view in my Asana was a mess. Everyday, I was watching the Today and Upcoming sections fill up. I still have this neat trick of pushing tasks to Later with a Due Date so they come back automatically, called Automatic Task Promotion. I call it the Boomerang Method© (patent pending). But this trick does not work in all cases.

I needed a system to organize tasks, prioritize them and get rid of the noise. My goal: no more than 10 tasks in the Upcoming section at any given time, and 3–4 in the Today section. Let me introduce you to the Bucket System for personal tasks management© (patent also pending). I also like to call it the “Smart-Rich-Good father” system, you will understand why in a minute (patent not pending).

The idea is to create a personal team called “Buckets” for example and create several buckets (projects) in it, one for each “type of person” you want to be. As an example, here is a list of my buckets: (good) father & friend, entrepreneur, smart, entertained, writer, organized, rich. A bucket is a project with a board layout and the following columns: To Do, In Progress, Recurring, Blocked/Waiting, and configured to display only incomplete tasks. Also make sure to choose nice colors for each project.

When you create a new task for yourself or get one attributed to you, you choose a bucket to put it into, in addition to the projects already belongs to. Then the idea is to have at most one or two tasks per bucket in your Upcoming section. Because, let’s face it, for each bucket there is one task that needs to be done first. Once you complete that task, find the next most important one in the bucket and move it to Upcoming.

You can also create a “Review buckets” recurring task to review buckets content once a month for example and do some cleanup/reorganization.

This idea is based on the hypothesis that depending on the time of day, time you have ahead, mood… you would feel like being an entrepreneur, organize stuff, entertain yourself, become smarter… Yes this system is a simple “put tasks into projects” approach but with this small specificity that put you on the right mindset to do the tasks.