ClickUp is a collaborative, task-orientated productivity platform with integrated tools to help you manage tasks and projects. In my last post, I provided a high-level overview of ClickUp and the ClickUp hierarchy. I also mentioned my approach to implementing ClickUp - keep it simple, get it working well, add something new, and iterate. Now that you've had a chance to familiarise yourself with the basics of ClickUp tasks, it's time to dig deeper into some of the more advanced features.

The screenshot below provides a quick overview of the tasks dialogue.

The basic task features, such as assigning people, due dates, and priority, are straightforward and help keep you on top of what needs doing. However, ClickUp becomes much more powerful when you start to use some of the additional features. For example, ClickUp allows task statuses to be customised to reflect your workflow. You can also add subtasks and checklists, which is helpful when working with more complex tasks. Adding start dates helps you to manage your workload more effectively. Also, having conversations inside tasks helps keep everything related to the task in one place, so you don't have to trawl through your emails for information.

The status of each space, folder, and list can be configured to align with how you and your team works. In my example screenshot, the task status is "in progress". I like to use "to do", "in progress", "delegated/waiting", "completed", and "closed" for simple tasks. These statuses help me focus on the tasks I'm currently working on while keeping track of new tasks and tasks that are waiting on other people.

When I'm working on my content calendar in ClickUp with my marketing expert, we use "to do", "in progress", "awaiting approval", "approved", "scheduled", and "published" to keep track of content development. If your team is shipping orders, your list may use "order received", "finance approved", "waiting on stock", "picking and packing", "dispatched", and "invoiced". Statuses allow us to easily visualise where tasks are in your workflow and what needs to get done, which helps you and your team be more productive. View ClickUp's help page about creating and managing custom statuses here.

Subtasks add another layer to the ClickUp hierarchy. This additional layer allows you to keep track of smaller to-do items that contribute to getting the parent task done. For example, you may have different people working on various aspects of publishing a blog post and could use the following subtasks:

  • creating the outline of the post;
  • writing and editing the post;
  • preparing the artwork used in the post and on social media;
  • loading the post on your blog; and
  • promoting the post on social media.

Subtasks have their own statuses, assignees, due dates, and priorities to help you and your team manage their work. You can also collaborate on subtasks like any other task using the description field for saving notes and having conversations in the comments area. View ClickUp's help page about subtasks here.

While subtasks are very powerful, they may be too sophisticated when you need to keep track of a process or ensure certain things get done rather than collaborate on these smaller steps. In these situations, ClickUp's checklists may be just the thing as they allow you to add a simple to-do list to tasks or subtasks. In addition, items on a checklist can be nested into sublevels and assigned to people. The example below shows a checklist attached to a weekly admin task. For checklists that you use regularly, you can set a task to recur and create a new instance of the task at set intervals, save a task as a template and reuse the template, or save the checklist as a template and add the checklist as you need it to tasks. View ClickUp's help page about checklists here.

Customising your task statuses to reflect your workflows and using subtasks and checklists are powerful tools to help keep track of work, whether you're collaborating just with yourself or other team members. However, to avoid getting lost in a rabbit warren of statuses, subtasks, and checklists, remember to keep it simple, get it working well, add something new, and iterate. In my next ClickUp post, I'll look at using ClickUp's views to manage your tasks and workload.