[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: GOOGLE - Use Tasks Instead of Calendar Items

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Tue Mar 10 15:07:44 PDT 2020

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 This Week's Topic: GOOGLE

1. VIDEO & ARTICLE ... Use Tasks Instead of Calendar Items
2. COMMUNICATING ... Did you forget his or her name?
3. LEADERSHIP ... Look at the Janitor Differently (Chapter 2)


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GOOGLE - Use Tasks Instead of Calendar Items


I use Google Calendar for everything -- to the point where I used to dump anything I needed to do into it as an "event." I not only added time-sensitive meetings and appointments, but personal reminders like "buy vitamins" and tasks such as "schedule May webinar."

This started off being a good way to stay accountable for all the things that I need to get done. However, soon my calendar was blocked off with so many things, it became difficult to see the difference between a scheduled appointment and an item that was a holding place. My days looked so full that it became overwhelming ... and confusing.

As a result, when I started using a calendar scheduling app (e.g. Calendly) ... so that people could see my availability for themselves and choose a time to meet ... there weren't very many slots left because my tasks and reminders were blocking actual "open" time.


Then I discovered that Google has added "Tasks" to its core services.

This means that when you're working on a desktop or laptop, you'll see "Tasks" in the right side panel -- not only when you're in your Calendar, but in Gmail and other Google apps (like Drive, Docs, and Sheets).

"Tasks" can be used in tandem with your calendar to keep you organized. Now you can set up your "to-do" items as tasks and sub-tasks (instead of calendar events). You can assign due dates and notifications to help you stay on track.

NOTE: On mobile devices, Google Tasks is a different app, but it is integrated into your Google account, so any additions or changes to Tasks that you make on your desktop will be mirrored on your smart device.

Overview of Which to Use

Okay, so before we jump in and look at how to use Google Tasks, if you're wondering just when you should create a Calendar Item vs. creating a Task… here are a few considerations.


Choose a Calendar item…

·     When it is time-specific -- like a meeting, an appointment or a scheduled phone call.
·     If you need to block off time to show that you’re "busy."
·     When you need to use the extended features like adding a location or inviting guests.
·     If you need to create a recurring meeting, task or appointment.

Choose a Task….

·     When you need a place to keep track of items that you want to accomplish (with or without a certain date/time) but don't want to block time on your calendar.
·     If you need the ability to create a project "List" that contain Tasks and sub-tasks.
·     If you want to be able to view all of your Tasks in one place (in the right column when you’re in Google apps)
·     If you have a smart device and want to be able to access, add and update Tasks on the run and don't want to make them date-specific.

It is important to note that Google Tasks is a stripped-down task management system without a lot of bells and whistles. This can be a benefit for many people as it can be easy to get overwhelmed with too many options -- instead of just completing the task at hand. However, if you require a project management tool for a team, look at other options such as Asana<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001X8tzRKumkEWD5txHMjaRgJyhPY5VPMOErh107qLlJRrpaykDfYSz8416j9O1JnaLm8zVehYg4A0_pl61IYfwQrBMdXVmT7QJTtmFBsCRR2V0R6UwwD0RVFN_MJXJiVnlGvEWoOqU1qmLXrUWrCVQBTnLabhyJQj-BbuEADmHjRUqjtCj8wmvaQbiTGNIeQnnwz0Yza4iyok=&c=xlsK8LvP3e_vpzg8i4QdkucG2rHwKNlJqmhhKfRaKhxqeBqAiVLZyQ==&ch=iXXX0rbPEKpTvhnRF_cAVUzywUFxqP6oIjhHPT_uBh2Jif48NE171w==>.

Get Started with Google Tasks


Remember, the right panel where Tasks are listed is also visible when working in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets or Slides on your desktop.

To make the Tasks list show, click on the check mark in the blue circle.

NOTE: If the side panel isn't open at all, click the small carat ( >) in the bottom right of the screen. That will expand and collapse the side panel.

Set Up Your Task Lists


When you begin to start using Tasks, you'll notice that there is a default "List." This is similar to a folder where you group Tasks. You can rename the default folder and add new ones.

·     Click the Task icon in the right pane of a Google app (Calendar, Email, Drive…) to open the Tasks app.
·     To create a new List, click the down arrow next to the current list and choose Create new list.
·     NOTE: To rename your default List or any List, select the List and click the more buttons (3 vertical dots) and choose Rename list.

Types of Tasks

Within your List you can add a singular Task or include sub-tasks.

1.  Tasks will only appear in your Task list, not on your calendar.
2.  However, you can assign a Date to a task. In this case it will show on your calendar at the beginning of the day. You'll see a check mark in front of it.
3.  You can also give the Task a Time. When you do that the task will appear in your calendar in that date/time area - and it will NOT block out the availability.

Add a Task


·     Select the list you want to add the task to. At the top of the Tasks window, use the down arrow (if you have more than one).
·     Click the Add a task option.
·     If you just want to add text, start typing. It will automatically save.
·     TIP: You'll be inclined to hit the Enter button when you're done typing, but that opens a new Task line. Just move your mouse out of the Task box when your finished typing or press the Tab key.
·     When you do get an empty task line, put your cursor in it and press Backspace.
·     If you want to add more or make changes ... such as assign a date and time, or add sub-tasks to the item ... click the pencil icon to the right of the Task.
·     In the image to the right, you'll note 1) Name of Task, 2) Additional Details, 3) Date and 4) sub-task.

Create a Task from an Email


In Gmail, you can make an Email a Task instantly.

·     With Gmail and the Task app open in the right panel, highlight an email from your list and drag it to the Task window.
·     A box will open to drop it into to create a new Task.
·     The Email subject line will be the Task name. The whole email does not populate in the Task, but a link back to the email. Add a date/time or additional details if needed.

Display/Sorting Tasks

Your Tasks will be sorted based on the Order Type that you have selected. For each List, you can select one of two sorting options:

1.  By Date -- This will sort your Tasks by date -- with the earliest scheduled at the top. If a date is not assigned, it will fall to the bottom of the list.
2.  My Order -- If you want flexibility to drag and drop tasks in the order you prefer, My order adds the newest Task addition to the top of the list. But you can rearrange the Tasks however you wish.

One trick to clearly identify the Task priority -- no matter which sorting order you pick, is to add a "1" a "2" or "3", etc… at the beginning of each Task name so that you can see the importance quickly. In the image below, each task name has a priority number.


Complete Tasks


Once you have completed the task and want to "check it off" your list, move your mouse over the left side of the task name until the circle turns into a check mark and click.

·     The task will fall to the bottom panel under "Completed."
·     TIP: To return the Task to the active list, you can mouse over the completed task and "un-check" the box.
·     To empty the Completed Tasks list, at the top of any List, click the More icon (3 vertical dots next to Add a task) and choose to Delete all completed tasks.

View Tasks in Your Calendar


To view Tasks on your Calendar that have an assigned dates or date and time, be sure the Tasks box is checked in the left pane of your screen under My Calendars.

NOTE: If you don't have this box checked, Tasks with dates and times won't be displayed.


Communications: Talking
Did you forget his or her name?

I don't know about you, but remembering someone's name when I first meet them is challenging. So I have to choose to either not call them by it or ask for it again.

There's a way to have them repeat it that will actually make them feel good ... instead of thinking they aren't important enough for me to have paid attention and remembered the first time.

When you ask their name again, mention what a beautiful (or distinguished, pretty, gorgeous, handsome-sounding) name it is. Here are some examples...

"Will you tell me your name again?" (They say it).

You reply, without making it a big deal...
·     "That's distinguished."
·     "That's pretty."
·     "That's handsome."

You get the idea.

TIP: Sometimes you can even start with it, like "What was your pretty name again?"


#010 – Look at the Janitor Differently (Chapter 2)

In theory, we all believe that everyone in an organization plays a worthwhile role or we wouldn’t have hired them.

In practice, however, there is a hierarchy. The higher you are in the chain of command the more important you are perceived to be. You make more money. You have more responsibility. Your ideas get taken more seriously.

You know more, right? Or do you?

What does the janitor know that you don't? Or the secretary? Or the aide? It stands to reason that each person has unique knowledge that could be invaluable to the organization if it were tapped into.

How well do you reach out to learn what others know?

Try to do more of it. You may be surprised at the ideas and insight you'll receive.


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