Are you using DUE dates and DO dates in the planning and scheduling of your business?

No?!? 😱 You should be!!

Because this planning hack is seriously going to change your life and the way you tackle your work (especially projects)!!

But first, let’s make sure you know the difference between the two:

  • A “DUE” DATE is the day something is due also known as a completion date or deadline.
  • A “DO” DATE is the day you actually work on or do something.

And why is using BOTH such an important part of planning and scheduling for your business?!?

Because projects (whether client work or your own business projects) should always be broken down into manageable, bite-size tasks and NEVER done all at once. (Riiiiiiiight?! 😉)

Related Post: The Difference Between Tasks and Projects You Need to Know

Laptop mockup showing due dates and do dates in Asana on a hot pink background with the words my favorite planning hack: using due dates & "do" dates in Asana

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HOW I USED TO USE DUE DATES AND DO DATES (IN HIGH SCHOOL)

It should surprise no one that I never pulled an all-nighter in school. Not for a project, not for a paper, not once, never at all. Why? Because I had better things to do… like watch Gilmore Girls on Tuesday nights and sleep!! (I also spent every free period I had in the library doing homework because volleyball practice always ran late.)

But the real reason I never pulled an all-nighter is because I used DUE dates and DO dates to get my papers and projects done on time, every time.

WHENEVER A PAPER OR PROJECT WAS ASSIGNED:

  • I would take out a piece of paper and write the DUE date at the bottom of the page.
  • Then I wrote out all of the tasks I would have to DO to complete that paper or project (starting with research and ending with “mom proofread” and final tweaks).
  • Then, working backwards from the DUE date, I gave each of those tasks a DO date (making sure I had plenty of time to get the paper or project done by the DUE date).
  • Bonus: I wrote everything in my planner so I could keep it all straight and check things off as complete!! 🤩

These days, I’m a little more sophisticated with my project planning…

HOW I USE DUE DATES AND DO DATES NOW (IN MY BUSINESS)

I use DUE dates and DO dates all the time in my business for client work, for blog posts, for creating courses and digital products… The list goes on and on because I use them A LOT!! (Only now, I use them in Asana instead of on a scrap piece of paper!! 😉)

They are an intricate part of my planning process for all things business (and life sometimes, too).

FOR EXAMPLE (ENJOY THE FOLLOWING PICTORIAL):

Let’s say, I’m working on a new mini-course for The Systems Shop.

I’ve already mapped out the course content using my handy-dandy Product Planner Asana Template so that I know I have 3 modules with 3 lessons each. (We’re keeping things super simple for this example, okay?!)

Screenshot of course outline in Asana list view.

Let’s also say that Lesson 1 of each module is a super in-depth, workshop style training with talking points I have to write and slides I have to design. Then, I have to record the training and upload it to the course area.

(If you’re keeping count, that’s 4 things I have to DO for this lesson to be complete.)

So, I’m going to list all 4 of those tasks out as subtasks under Lesson 1.

Screenshot of subtasks listed out in Asana.

Then, because I know I want Lesson 1 to be complete by Friday, October 22nd, I’m going to set that as the OVERALL DUE DATE for Lesson 1, and then assign the task to myself so it shows up in My Tasks.

Screenshot of due date in Asana.

Next, I’m going to assign DO DATES to each of the 4 subtasks and assign them to myself so I know they’ll show up in My Tasks, too. (I always work backwards from the OVERALL DUE DATE to ensure I have plenty of time to get each task done.)

Screenshot of a due date for a task and do dates for subtasks in Asana.

Now, you can see that my plan is to write talking points on Monday, October 18th, design slides on Tuesday, October 19th, record the training on Wednesday, October 20th, and upload the training to the course area on Thursday, October 21st.

I didn’t actually assign a task to Friday, October 22nd because if all goes according to plan, I should be done by the due date.

But if something goes wrong that week (like I get sick or the power goes out), I know that I have Friday (the overall due date for Lesson 1) to use as a cushion if I need it. But only if I REALLY need it. That cushion is not there so I can be a lazy daisy!! 😴

If we look at the My Tasks tab, you can see all of my course creation-related tasks laid out for the week. I know what I’ve got to do and when to ensure I meet the overall due date of having Lesson 1 complete by Friday, October 22nd!!

Screenshot of tasks and subtasks in Asana My Tasks calendar view.

I’ll do the same for all of the other lessons in Module 1, 2, and 3, so that all of the course creation tasks are scheduled out and I know what I have to do for the next 9 weeks on top of my regular business tasks, client work, etc.

Pretty great plan, right?! 🙌🏻

BONUS HACK: TO-DO CARDS

I will admit that there is ONE thing that bugs me slightly about Asana. And that is the fact that subtasks do not show up as the project color in My Tasks. They show up WHITE and it BUGS my color-coding-loving brain to no end.

BUT I HAVE A FIX!!!

I actually use my Product Planner Asana Template in 2 ways:

  1. to outline my course or digital product in detail
  2. to schedule out the tasks I need to do to create it

So, after I’ve outlined the course, I’ll create what I like to call TO-DO cards for each of the tasks I have to do for each lesson. (’m going to use Lesson 1 again as the example just to keep things nice and simple.) Only this time, I’ll create a new CARD for each of the 4 tasks I have to do to complete Lesson 1 instead of listing them out as subtasks.

Screenshot of to-do cards in Asana board view.

I’ll assign each of those TO-DO cards a DO date and then assign them to myself so that they show up in My Tasks. I’ll also create a Lesson 1 DUE date card as well just to keep things on the straight and narrow.

Screenshot of to-do cards with Due/Do Dates in Asana board view.

Et voilà!! Now all of my course creation tasks are blue and my color-coding brain is happy again!! 🙃

Screenshot of To-Do Cards in Asana My Tasks calendar view.

When I’m done creating the course content, I’ll hide all of the TO-DO cards by changing the view to incomplete tasks only so I’ll have just the outline cards left for me to reference if I need to. (I can always bring the TO-DO cards back by changing the view to completed tasks or all tasks.)

Screenshot of different task views in Asana.

Editor’s Note: If the subtasks showing as white don’t bother you like they do me, you don’t have to use the TO-DO cards. I only shared this bonus hack for the other color-coding lovers out there. Asana is aware of our desire to have subtasks show up in the same color as the project so I’m hopeful there will be an update soon!! 🤞🏻


If you would like to know more about my Product Planner Asana Template and 14 other templates (including #AllThingsBusiness, Product Pipeline, Lead Tracker, Content Ideas, Marketing Map, Membership Manager, and more), you need to sign up for the Asana Assistant waitlist!! 🎉🎉🎉

Navy background with the Asana Assistant logo on a laptop mockup

The template pack will be dropping in The Systems Shop super soon and you’ll be the first to know all the details including early access to a 24-hour celebration code!! 😍


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