Google Gab: Getting it done with tasks

From the simplest checklists to a task list with subtasks and sub-subtasks and sub-sub subtasks and, well, you get the idea, Tasks in Google might be about the easiest thing to use to wrangle your “to dos.” This functionality is available from either the free Google suite of tools or G-Suite. And, you may begin from Gmail or Calendar.

TasksFor most of us, most calls to action, errands, projects and tasks get their start in an e-mail. If you click the Gmail button from the Gmail app, you’ll see the Tasks selection. Your task lists will pop up by default in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. Click the Switch list button at the bottom to change lists or create a new one. Then, just start typing your tasks. They will automatically get a check box. Rearrange them by hovering over a task and dragging it to its proper place.

To create a subtask, simply hit the Tab key. You can create several levels of subtask if you like. If your list gets very involved, it might be easier to work with if you pop it out. Look for the little upward right-facing arrow at the top of the task list to do just that. To pop it back into the lower-right corner, look in the lower-right corner of the task list for the Pop-in button.

You can also begin a new task list from the Calendar app. In fact, you’ll notice that the tasks travel between Gmail and Calendar. If you don’t see your tasks click the left-pointing arrow in the upper right section of the calendar. This expands the panel on the right where you’ll see your task lists. This presentation makes it easy to locate dates and assign due dates. These due dates will appear on your calendar in a different color. They don’t affect your available time, but stay there as a reminder that you have something due on that day.

NotesTo assign due dates and add notes, click the left-pointing arrow that appears on a task on which you are hovering. Here you’ll find the due date field and also a place to add notes. Once it’s on your calendar, you can double click it to also edit that data. One thing that might be a bit confusing is that when you double click the item on the calendar, the “notes” field says “description.” It is the same field.

By assigning due dates and allowing them to appear on the calendar, you can see where time management might be a challenge. For example, if you have several tasks due on the same day you’re traveling out of town, it will become apparent that the due date might need to be shifted or someone else might need to do it. If you are your task lists by person, click the Move to list button at the bottom of the task detail dialog to shift it to another person. Though we’re showing it here in Calendar, all task detail features are also available from Gmail.