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Task Management Tools from Google

Alan Miller Crushing Go Lives | Cloudbakers

As an individual who has worked on hundreds of Google Apps deployments, one of the most intriguing milestones to me personally is the “Go Live” date, which the first day end users are 100% on the Google Apps for Work platform. The reason this day is so fascinating to me is not because it marks the near conclusion of the project lifecycle (which it does), or because there are numerous tasks and subtasks that come to a head at the same time (which there are), but because I am able to interact with end users directly and watch their everyday workflows adapt to a modern solution.

That being said, there is typically one overarching concept that tends to dominate these one-on-one interactions, which is “how do I best manage my tasks?”

A plethora of idiosyncratic strategies

I’ve seen users coming from legacy platforms who leverage the sent mail folder to keep track of tasks, users who employ some 3rd party solution such as Trello or Notepad to manage tasks, users who create calendar events for a task list to reference, and even users who bookmark specific web links on a temporary basis throughout the day to keep things straight. The list goes on and on. What makes this so interesting to me is how creative (without even realizing it) the vast majority of people are when finding ways to remain organized with day-to-day activities.

Think of it this way: generally there are guidelines or even strict rules that dictate how you should do your job. Whether it’s entering sales leads in a CRM, managing resources with an ERP, completing specific financial applications on behalf of customers, or generally accepted workbook formulas for pulling metrics, each job function has a stated workflow. Except, of course, task management. During the workday you may use a CRM, manage an ERP, and pull metrics using certain, documented formulas, but I seldom come across a company that dictates how these tasks are organized or managed (the glaring objections being an employee who lives out of a ticketing system or someone assigned all tasks from a project manager). This leaves each employee to discover a task management method on their own. Enter a universal option for all, Google Tasks.

Task management, Google style

Google Tasks is integrated tightly with both Gmail and Google Calendar. Users can choose to create tasks organically, or take advantage of some extended functionality. Tasks can be divided into multiple lists, shuffled up and down, sorted by a few different options, marked as complete, and even printed. If a task is assigned a date, it will also display on your “Tasks Calendar.”

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

1) Marty is looking for an easy way to list tasks as they come up and cross them off as each task is completed. Marty is using the Gmail interface. 

Google Tasks from Gmail Interface | Cloudbakers

  • In the top left corner of Gmail, Marty sees the word “Mail” with a drop down arrow. Marty can simply click the arrow and select “Tasks”. Immediately, a small window launches with Marty’s task list

  • Marty clicks the “+” sign to create a new task and simply checks the box next to each task to mark as complete. Marty can use the various sorting options to organize his list, fitting into his well organized Gmail account

2) In this example, Marty not only wants to create a task, but also assign a date to that task, so it reflects on his calendar.

  • Marty creates a task and follows the arrow to the right of the task in order to edit the details

    Edit Details of a Google Task | Cloudbakers

  • Marty selects a due date for the task. The edits are automatically saved

Adding Notes to Tasks in Google | Cloudbakers

  • Notice from this screen, Marty can also add notes to the description 

  • When Marty selects his task calendar from the calendar interface, he can see the task under the date selected, depicted as an “All Day Event”

3) In this example, Marty creates a task directly from an email.

Google Tasks from an Email | Cloudbakers

  • As Marty opens an email from the web interface, he thinks to himself, “I’d really like to remind myself to complete this tomorrow and add it to my task list”

  • With the email open, Marty selects the “More” action button and chooses the option “Add to Tasks”

  • Google systematically pulls the subject line of the email and adds it as the title of the task, while also using a hyperlink to connect the related email

  • Marty is able to edit the task details, simply adding a due date and any additional notes

4) In this example, Marty adds a task from a webpage

  • Later that afternoon, Marty is navigating through a web page and decides he would like to add content from that webpage as a task

Google Tasks Chrome Extension | Cloudbakers

  • Marty navigates to the chrome web store, and enables the Google Tasks by Google extension (in addition to the many useful extensions he's already enabled)

Google Tasks in the Omni Bar | Cloudbakers

  • Marty refreshes his browser and now sees a symbol for the task extension in his omni-bar

  • Marty can now easily add tasks while navigating through various web pages

Google Tasks is an easy, unified solution to managing your day-to-day activities and projects. It is integrated and intuitive, and already available to Gmail users. Start using it today!

 

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Originally published on February 08, 2016

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