Sunday, August 30, 2015

Google Tasks Keeps To-Do Lists Handy!

Are you a list maker? Do you get a sense of satisfaction from crossing or checking off items that you complete? I feel like I get more accomplished when I have a to-do list to keep me on track. And I have to admit that if I don't write things down, I won't remember to do them!

I have tried a variety of notebooks, apps, and software over the years to keep track of my to-do lists. So far, I've had the most success with the Reminders app on my Macbook. But this year I decided to revisit Google Tasks. Tasks is part of our Google Apps accounts, and I tried Tasks for a while when we first went to Google. I didn't like the fact that I only saw my Tasks list when I viewed my Google Calendar.

However, now that we're using Gmail, I can keep my Tasks in view on that screen, and it's working out much better for me. I'm in and out of my Gmail constantly!

To launch Google Tasks:

1.  Open Gmail in your browser and click the little arrow to the right of Mail in the upper left. Click Tasks.

2.  Tasks will open in the bottom right of your screen. To add to your list, double click in the box and start typing OR click the + sign at the bottom of the box. If you'd like to add a deadline to the task (optional), click the arrow to the right of the task, add the additional information, and click the "back to list" link. Your changes save automatically. You can see on the screenshot below that my tasks are arranged by due date, with those with no due date at the bottom of the list. You also have the option to create multiple lists; click on the "switch list" icon to the right of the trash can.

3.  To mark a task as complete, click the box in front of it. The task will be crossed off the list. To delete it, click Actions > Clear completed tasks or click the trash can while the item is checked.

4.  To minimize the Tasks box, click the minus sign at the top of the box. Click again to maximize the box.

5.  The tasks with assigned due dates will also be noted at the top of those days on your Google Calendar. To see your complete Tasks list while viewing your Calendar, click Tasks under My Calendars on the left to activate it.

6.  Although it doesn't appear that Google makes a Tasks app for the iPhone or iPad, a quick search of the App Store shows that there are third-party apps that sync with Google Tasks. (gTasks looks promising.) Additionally, you can access Tasks through the Safari web browser on your mobile device. This quick YouTube video explains how. If you have an Android phone, I'm sure there's an app for that!

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my Google Tasks list. The only downside is that it doesn't email me or pop up reminders like the Remind app on my Macbook does! 

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