Hello everyone, in this article I will tell you why I started using different Google environment tools for productivity: Google Calendar, Google Keep, Google Tasks, and Google Docs. Since I have been using them relatively recently – about a year, I may not know everything, especially about the existence of alternatives. So one of the reasons this article exists is to hear feedback and possible alternatives.
First, I will go through the user cases, then I will describe all the pros and cons of tools.
A task not to forget
From time to time, some tasks come to my mind that I need to do today, but not immediately, but later. And very often I like to forget these tasks, especially if they are small ones: buy water, call someone, do something small. For this, I just use Google Tasks.
For example, a shopping cart for groceries:
Scheduled task (possibly with integrated email)
Recently, I had a lot of tasks related to relocating and getting started with Microsoft (visa, insurance, handover of work devices, etc.) so I received a lot of emails from different service providers. You can integrate an email, which will most likely contain the date, names, addresses, into Google Tasks by also setting up an alert for yourself. When the time comes, you can easily go to this email to see all the details.
Because in my case, after 2 weeks of communication with different reloc teams, even with labels from Gmail, it still took a long time to find the right one.
It also works with tasks without email. I use them for all sorts of meetings:
Just a scheduled task
Scheduled task with integrated email
By clicking this button, you will automatically create a task with the name of the email and with a button that redirects to the same email.
If you click on the “Test email” button, you will be redirected to an email.
In addition, for tasks with integrated email, you can also set a reminder.
I mostly use this user case when I have repetitive tasks for a certain period of time: take pills, exercises, reminders to read, etc.
For each recurring task – you can click the “Date Time” button.
Then go to the “Repeat” option
And then configure a reminder for yourself.
Now you will receive this task with reminders every day. In this case, you can say that you can create a simple task and just not execute it so that it hangs in the list – and you will be right. But I love when the task is done, this cool checkbox is clicked, the sheet is cleaned up for today.
What I love about Google Tasks
A very long time ago, for this kind of user cases above, I used different types of applications on my phone or on a PC, there was even a time when I used a simple notepad and a pen. But they had their shortcomings compared to what I use now.
Integration with Google environment. Most likely, most readers have a personal email hanging on Gmail. And the first advantage of Google Tasks is that they are integrated into the Google environment and you can use them with other tools like (Gmail, Calendar, Keep, etc).
It’s free. You don’t have to pay money for a subscription or anything like that. The only option where you will need to pay is only if you use 15 gigs of free Google storage.
This is Cloudbase. With this comes 2 more benefits:
Your data is unlikely to disappear somewhere, Google is responsible for them.
You can work with your data from any device that has access to a browser or application. For example, I have two phones, 3 laptops now, and it’s very comfortable that wherever I go, everything is synchronized everywhere.
Simple interface. There is little functionality in Google Tasks, you can create different sheets with tasks, and only one level of the hierarchy of these tasks, there is the possibility of integration with Gmail, well, reminders. And for me this is quite enough.
Reminders. On my phone, I can configure different sounds for different reminders (tasks for today, tasks for yesterday, scheduled tasks). Having done this, I can simply remember the task for the desired sound. These reminders work without an Internet connection (if you created them in the application where you want to hear them, or if you synchronized them and then turned off the Internet).
At some point, I had a lot of tasks, and most of them were scheduled tasks (with exact time). And in order not to get confused in them – I use Google Calendar.
Google keep is a note taking tool. I’m actually not really happy with it right now because I’m missing some functionality, so I’m considering migrating to Microsoft OneNote, but still using Google keep for now.
I write here all the important information like addresses, phone numbers, things to remember, words of people to remember (for example, I have my Czech numbers here, some addresses of people, just in case, names and addresses of hospitals, shops, links on the map, etc.).
Let’s look at the pros and cons (from my belfry, of course)
Google keep has good performance on the phone, everything is quite fast even on my Xiaomi.
There you can record without internet connection. You need internet, only to sync with other devices.
Integration with Gmail. Google keep has it too. Just open the desired email, go to the notes tab and start writing it. The email will be automatically added to the note in the same way as to the task.
Now you can jump to that email very quickly when you’re working on a note:
Pretty good system of labels and colors. I don’t use them much now, because most of the notes are still Google Docs. But if categorization would be needed, then this is enough.
Integration with Google Docs: You can very easily transfer a note to a Google Docs document.
You can also attach a reminder as with tasks:
The reminder will appear in Google Calendar:
There are no text styling options like in Google Docs, or at least approximately like there. You can write plain text in one style without changing the size, font style, without any bolds, italics, colors, etc. You can also do checkboxes, but here, too, not everything is so simple.
Each note can have 2 styles: “simple” and “checkbox style”.
I don’t really understand why this feature is needed, because you can make the behavior checkbox in Google Tasks, it will be more convenient. You can also apply checkboxes to the ENTIRE note. There is no option to create two checkbox elements and solder a simple text between them, which makes me even more wonder why this feature is needed at all?
In addition, if you translate from one style to another – you lose all the empty lines, Google just collapses it all:
You can insert pictures, but they will always be inserted at the top of the note, and not at the place where you had the cursor (as in Google Docs).
No integration with Google Tasks. For example, I met situations when I wanted to attach a note from Google Keep to Google Tasks, but unfortunately, there is no such option yet.
For categorization, you only have labeling, which is not bad, but I think it’s a bit limited compared to folder categorization. It would be cool if there were two types: both folder categorization and labeling categorization.
Therefore, specifically, I mostly use Google Docs for notes (study, work, medicine, neuroscience, etc.)
But it’s slower than Google Keep, and as far as I know, you can’t edit Google Docs on a phone without internet. In addition, you constantly need to move from Google Docs to Google Drive if you need to open another file, this is not very fast and convenient.
I use Google Calendar before each new day, because the Calendar contains all the events, tasks and reminders. From time to time I have a really full sheet with tasks for different dates, and it’s very convenient to see only what you have for tomorrow. In addition, this is a kind of tool that combines all tasks, with events, with reminders in one place and you can see everything at once and, accordingly, create everything from one place.
I have found the Google Environment very handy for managing my life and work tasks, making the process easier and faster for me. In terms of notes, I think there are still a lot of features that would be cool to do. I will be grateful for your feedback and comments, maybe you have a better alternative.