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Controlling Workflow Automation with Approval and Todos
Controlling Workflow Automation with Approval and Todos

Add manual control to your workflows by requiring approval and creating todos.

Sam Gioia avatar
Written by Sam Gioia
Updated over a week ago

Workflows do not have to run all by themselves. Sometimes, you'll need more control over when certain actions run and send content to the client. We have two methods of creating manual checkpoints in workflows: requiring approval and todos.

Requiring Approval

Requiring approval gives you manual control over when an action runs, allowing you to make edits to the action or determine whether or not you want it to send.

This is a great option when you want to wait until you receive feedback from a client before proceeding, such as waiting until after a consultation call to decide whether or not to send your proposal to a potential client. It's also useful when you want to make changes to actions before they go out.

How to Require Approval on an Action

To require approval, just check the option box when setting up the action in your workflow template.

This feature is only available on the following actions:

  • Send Email

  • Send Form

  • Send Contract

  • Send Primary Invoice Create Invoice

  • Send Appointment Scheduler

How to Approve Actions

Any actions set to require approval will show an Approve button when viewed within the workflow on the project. Click the button to approve the action.

An action requiring approval will not run unless you've approved it, even after it's been triggered. You can approve an action as soon as you apply the workflow, even before the action triggers so it can run seamlessly. The action will still wait to run until it's triggered if you pre-approve it.

If you do not pre-approve the action, you will receive an email alert reminding you to approve that action when it is triggered. You can see a count of workflow actions requiring your approval in the Recent section of your dashboard. Click on that notification to view the list of actions.

TIP: Once an action that requires approval is triggered, if you have not yet approved the action, you will have three hours to click approve. If you do not approve the action within three hours, you will need to clear the too late to send error.

One downside to approve before sending is that it may not give you context for what you need to do before approving that action. If you need to take certain steps before an action runs, you can use todos.

Create Todo

When the Create Todo action is triggered in the workflow, a task will be created for you to check off. Any actions that come after a Create Todo action that are triggered "after all previous actions complete" will wait for you to check off the todo before running. You can use one or more todos in sequence to hold an action from running until completing the todos.

How to Add Todos to Your Workflow

Let's say you want to review your client's questionnaire responses, create a mood board, and paste the link to their mood board in the follow-up email before it goes out. You can create a series of todos after the client completes their questionnaire to ensure you take all of those required steps before sending out the client's email. We wouldn't want it to be sent without the link!

Notice that the todos are triggered "after form Intake Questionnaire completed," but the Send Email action is triggered "after all previous actions complete." That is the key to making sure the email does not send until all of the todos are checked off. Always use the "after all previous actions complete" trigger for the action that should be held by the todos. Any other trigger and the action will ignore the todos and run on its own timeline.

How to Complete Todos

When a workflow creates a todo on a project, you will see a small checkbox right inside the workflow. If you're already looking at the workflow on the project, this is an easy place to check off the todo, especially since you'll have full context on which actions come next.

Todos created by workflows will also appear on the main Tasks page in your account as well as in the Tasks tab of the project in which they were created. Going to the main Tasks page of your account is an excellent way to see all of the todos created across all of your projects.

Preventing Accidental Triggers

If you are nervous that you will check off a todo and trigger another action by accident, require approval on the action. This way, you'll need to BOTH check off the todo AND click approve on the action.

Another tip is to add the language "check off this todo to automatically _____" to the body of the todo so that you will always know what comes next. Adding this context to your todos is a great practice when you work with a team to ensure everyone manages the workflows correctly.



What happens if I delete a todo created by a workflow without completing it?

The workflow will consider the todo you deleted as complete and run the next action. If you want to delete a todo, make sure there are no outstanding actions in the workflow that you would not want to run. It's best to completely archive the workflow on the project before deleting unwanted todos if a project has been cut short.

I want my todos created by the workflow to have due dates. Is this possible?

Unfortunately, no. Todos created by the workflow will appear once they have been triggered, but there is no way to set a due date automatically.

I am still so nervous that my workflow will complete an action when I don't want it to. Are there any other options?

If you are uncomfortable requiring approval or using todos alone, you can always add in a Pause Workflow action to stop the entire workflow from running until you start it back up again.

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