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Task Templates With Unique Sub-Tasks

Learn how to create a task template that will create new sub-tasks each time you use it.

Last updated on June 13, 2022

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In this guide, we’ll show a Notion “hack” that lets you “spawn” unique sub-tasks from a Database Template in the ✅ All Tasks database. This is useful for when you have a specific task type that includes multiple sub-tasks (or steps) that are the same each time you do that task. This solves the problem where sub-tasks created from a Database Template are always the same exact ones. Note: you can use this method in any other database, like 🗒 All Notes or 🏗 Projects.
 

To start, we’ll need to unlock our core ✅ All Tasks database, which will allow us to edit Database Templates.

Once that’s done, we can go in and start creating our new template.

 

First, let’s duplicate the existing 🗂 Task with Sub-tasks Database Template:

 
Notion image
 

Now, we can open our newly created template as a full page and start editing. Make sure there is a bar at the top saying You’re editing a template in ✅ All Tasks [UB].

Name your template accordingly and choose your emoji.

 
Notion image
 

You can, of course, fill out any properties of the main task itself, if you need that. In my example, I’ve filled out the Project and Contexts properties. (Keep in mind these will be the same each time you duplicate the template).

Notion image
 

Before we start adding our tasks, we need to remove one filter from the linked database view that displays our sub-tasks. This is so that our tasks will be correctly connected to their parent task once we start duplicating the template.

 
Notion image
 

Removing this filter will result in many more tasks showing up. But don’t worry about that! This is just temporary, to make sure our new tasks get connected properly, and we don’t fall into a Notion bug that will incorrectly connect our tasks later on.

Now, let’s add our sub-tasks. Feel free to fill out their properties - they’ll stay filled, even after we drag these out.

 
Notion image
 

As you can see, I’ve added six different sub-tasks, and all of them have a due date.

To create our duplicatable template, we need to drag all of these tasks out of the database and into the page below. They’ll become their own, individual pages, but they’ll magically retain their properties.

 
 
 

And now, our template is almost ready to duplicate! Don’t worry about our sub-tasks being plain pages with no properties. Once you duplicate the template, and drag them back into the database, their properties will come back!

Before we start using our new template, we need to bring back the self-referential filter we removed in the second step of this guide. Without that, our duplicatable tasks wouldn’t actually be sub-tasks.

 
Notion image
 

The filter should be Parent Task → Contains → [Our template name]. When you start searching for pages in the filter window, choose the first one - it’s our template. That way, our database view here will reference itself, once it is duplicated.

This is called a self-referential filter.

 

Now, we’re ready to start using our template!

 
This video contains voiceover, since I wanted to explain a few extra things. But you can watch it without sound and it will be helpful, too!
 
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Note: this hack won’t really work well with Due Dates, since even if you have a your date display set to “Relative”, your dates will still point to the original days. There’s no way to make them automatically move, for example by a week. You’ll have to update your Due dates manually.
 
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While this method existed for a while, it was brought to our attention after this excellent article by Matthias Frank. Thank you, Matthias!
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