How to Use Google Calendar as a To-Do List (Tips & Tricks)
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How to Use Google Calendar as a To-Do List (Tips & Tricks)


(whooshing music) – [Scott] Can Google Calendar be used as an effective to-do list? Absolutely and in today’s video, I’m gonna show you how. Hello, everyone, Scott
Friesen here at Simpletivity, helping you to get more
done and enjoy less stress and in today’s video, I’m gonna show you how to set up Google Calendar to be a very effective to-do list. I’m also gonna show you how to use this on the mobile version of Google Calendar and last but not least, I’m gonna cover the pros and
cons of using Google Calendar as your to-do list but I think what you’re gonna find out is that the pros far outweigh the cons. But first, I’d like to thank
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or see the link below. Let me show you three different ways on how you can set this
up within your calendar. The first on that we’re looking at here is pretty basic and that is
using the All-Day Events area to create new tasks, so I’m just gonna create
a simple sample task here. New task 1 and I’m just gonna hit save. It’s going to appear here
in my All Tasks area. I can see that I wanna do
this tomorrow on Tuesday but I can quickly and easily
drag it and move it to some other day. What I love about this
technique, about using it here on my calendar is I can
see the relationship between this task and all of my tasks alongside my other appointments
and where I need to be. So, for example, maybe I’m
having a heavy day today. I’m not sure if I can get
through all of these tasks and I’m saying to myself,
“I don’t wanna really review “this resume that I have to.” I’d like to move that out
to maybe Thursday or Friday. But then wait a minute,
I’m actually interviewing someone on Wednesday. I can’t push it out that far. Maybe I can put is out til Tuesday. I can see that relationship
and make decisions based on that. So, again, what we wanna
do is, using the all day events area, simply click on that area and you can start adding
a new task right away and whatever it is, it’s
going to appear in that all day task area and
even if you think that you can’t add all the
same details as you would in another to-do list,
well, hold on just a second. By hitting the edit button
in any of these tasks, you can add not just a
location, but of course, use this description area
to add bullet points, to add an attachment. You can even change the color
of this task if you wanna highlight it in some other way. That brings me to the second
method that we can use with managing our tasks
here within the calendar and that is that you can
have a separate calendar just for your tasks. So, here I’ve created one
here called to do list. I’m gonna enable that and
what you can see here is that I’ve added a few other
tasks here ’cause remember, some of our tasks will be
included as a part of our day. Maybe this is something really important, recording this new video
and I need to make sure it happens Thursday morning. But here’s another example
that I have up above. It’s labeled in this green
shade or this green color which I’ve selected. So I can separate out my
tasks from everything else. That’s a second method if
you wanna actually keep it on a separate calendar. Of course, Google calendar
makes this very, very easy for you to do so. All you need to do is
just say Add New Calendar and then you can add as
many calendars as you want. Of course, toggle through those calendars here on the left hand side. Now, the third way that you can implement having a to-do list within
Google Calendar is to make use of the actual task function or tasks app which is built right into Google calendar. So you’ll notice on the right hand side, you have the task functionality
here where you can create tasks. You can check them off
directly from this side menu and in order to see them
here on your calendar, all you need to do is
enable tasks here on the left hand side. So here, you can see I’ve
got about three tasks aligned this week. They align with these
ones that we see here. Now the one thing you
wanna be careful with is that although it makes
sense to be managing your tasks and if I drag this task over
to Thursday, for example, that is gonna be reflected. There you see that it moved
over here on the right as well. However, when we switch
to the mobile version, you’re gonna notice something. These are not going to appear
because on the mobile version, these are not integrated
into Google calendar. You have to manage them
within the Google tasks app. So be weary of that. You may or may not like that
as a part of your workflow. Now one other thing that you
can always add to enhance your to-do list here
within Google calendar is the reminders feature. So I’m gonna enable the reminders feature and here you see I’ve
got a couple that appear. Now, what is the difference
between reminders and tasks and the all day event tasks
which we have created here? Well, reminders will always carry over. So if I don’t complete this
particular reminder on Monday, it is going to carry over to Tuesday. I’m gonna have to address it eventually and check things off. Reminders can be day
specific or time specific, as you see down below here. If you don’t know how
to create a reminder, let me show you how to do so. If I wanna create a reminder here, let’s say nine AM on Wednesday, all I need to do is click on that space and instead of starting to
add the title of this event, I’m gonna first click reminder. You can see just below the title, event is the default selection, but I’m gonna select reminder. So now, I can add in a new reminder here. I can just hit enter
on my screen and there, I’ve got that reminder. Now if I wanna change this
reminder to an all day reminder, I can so so as well. All I need to do is select
it, hit the Edit button, and now I can select the all day option. Here you can see that that
reminder now appears here at the top of my list. Now, one caveat I’m gonna
talk about a little bit later on in the video is
one of the things that you need to watch for. Before I do that, let’s
jump to the mobile version of Google Calendar. Alright, so here we are
within Google Calendar on our mobile device. As you can see, at the top of the screen, I have my all day tasks. Technically they’re all day events, but I’m using them as tasks
at the top of my screen. What I love about this is
that whether it’s early in the morning or if I scroll all the way to the end of the day, those
tasks always remain visibile. They’re always at the forefront. If I scroll over here
to the next day here, you see I have a combination of tasks, appointments, and a couple
of reminders as well. So if you wanna add a new
task within Google calender, we’re gonna hit the plus
button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and
we’re gonna select event because remember, we’re
using all day events. So here, I’m just gonna
call this one Task 2. The only think you need to
keep in mind at this point is that we wanna hit the all day toggle. Unless you want this task to
appear at a specific time, you wanna select all day and hit save. Now that task will appear
at the top of your screen. Now if we wanna add a reminder, again, we’re gonna start with that plus button but this time we’re gonna
select the reminder option. Let me just type in a quick reminder. Let’s call this one Reminder 3. If I wanted it at a specific
time, I can select that here. I can select this to be
at 8:30, for example, or I can hit the all day option and again, it will be all day as well. Now, don’t forget, you may
need to hit the down arrow here to reveal all of your tasks. Now, this will stay sticky,
meaning that the last time you’ve selected it or chosen that option, it’s gonna remain that way. So, here you can see
I have a few reminders that I need to look at
along with all of my tasks. Now this is one of the,
I guess, both pro and con of using reminders. Here you can see that
it will never combine your all day events. We can see them listed out
individually but you will notice here that it has
combined my reminders. I’ve got two here. If I select it, I can now
read and see those two, but you cannot, by default,
expand those reminders. Lastly, I wanna cover
some of the pros and cons of using Google Calendar
as your to-do list. Now I’ve already highlighted the pros of seeing your tasks up above and always having them stay in the forefront
as you go about your day. But one of the things that
you wanna watch out for is that of course, these all day events which we are using as
tasks will not roll over. At the end of today, these
two green tasks will not roll over to Tuesday
like this reminder will. Now, this is a con, but in some ways, psychologically, it is also a pro. What I mean by that is that
it forces you to engage with your calendar and
specifically with your to-do list. Too many of us don’t engage
with our to-do list often enough and then after a day or
two, we end up deferring a large number of tasks
to the never next day. Well in this case, this sort of forces you at the end of your workday or
at the very end of your day to review what is leftover
and have it move over. Drag it over to a more appropriate day where you can accomplish that task. I hope you enjoyed
today’s overview of using Google Calendar as a to-do
list and I would love to hear your experience as well. So be sure to leave me
a comment down below. Thank you so much for watching. Make sure to subscribe right here to the Simpletivity channel, give
this video a thumbs up, and don’t forget to leave
me a comment down below. Remember, being productive
does not need to be difficult. In fact, it’s very simple.

67 Comments

  • Everyday Awesome TV

    For years I have used an app called "Calengoo" on all of my mobile devices. It integrates my Google calendars AND Google tasks all in one app. I have a widget on my phone home screen that shows me my calendar and tasks everyday…. This app can also link to your Evernote account, which will add in notes to your calendar.

  • Peter

    I use Google Calendar combined with G. Tasks as my personal to-list and daily agenda, because I use timeboxing for almost every activity of my day. And it's great! I've tried to use Todoist, which is also a very good app, but it's not for me, so now I use it just at work, where I find it really useful.

  • Ian Box

    I read recently that Google is going to remove "tasks." Apparently, it will still be accessible (for a time) through Google calendar on a computer, but not on a mobile device. Has anyone here heard this news?

  • Thomas Kilcoyne

    Thanks, Scott. You did a great job as usual. I don't use to-do lists as regularly as I should but I like the idea of using Google Calendar. I've tried Google Keep and Todoist but didn't stick with them. I've used Google Tasks several times and like it. I've used Keep for reminders. The use of Google Calendar is probably very efficient. I'll give it a try and see if I can stick with it.

  • Steve Schoenly

    Thanks Scott. I have worked for years trying to maintain a standard task list, and recently I've started thinking that a calendar actually makes much better sense. You lay out a really compelling case supporting exactly that, so I think I'll make the switch. Thanks for the great video!

  • Jim Samuel

    The fact that Google Calendar does not automatically forward all-day events to the next day is what makes it work for me. At the end of the day, I like to see what, if anything, I did not accomplish that day. Automatic forwarding makes it possible for me not to notice that I may have missed something.

  • Kevin Brender

    since one of the earlier video's, I started using google calendar as a partial to-do list. I only apart from the appointments use reminders. I love it it will shift to the next to, which first of makes sure you don't forget to do something second if your to-do list gets too big and you haven't done it and checked it off you kinda get a self-review that you need to start and get your …. together and do something productive. Next, to this, I have a trello to do list more in the cleaning sense.
    I love your videos.

  • R Figueira

    I pretty much use it just like that. I usea the reminders a lot. and.. don't use the g task, just because it doesn't sync. (which is a shame)

  • Tom S

    I use aCalender+ (paid version) as it allows me to see my tasks from Asana projects as well as enter tasks from the rest of my life and see it all on one screen. Also can enter events and tasks from main screen. Just hit spacebar and it's a task. Don't hit spacebar and it's an event. Start an event or task with a name and it autofills with contact info. Tasks carry over if not completed. Took a long time and many app trials to find this combo and it's been working very well for last year+ running 2 businesses, several rentals and my own harried existence. These apps along with Keep as a file cabinet for everything from receipts to recipes works smoothly for me. I find myself working more from my phone than laptop as it's just more convenient.

    "If it's not in my phone it doesn't exist"

  • vgaacalj

    For tasks, I use Google Keep and then add reminders that show up in my Calendar (and in my mobile calendar). Google Keep allows me more flexibility with a complicated task, including links to other documents, websites or being able to check off multi-steps to complete the task.

  • Michal RV

    I've tried using Google calendar as a todo list but it has so many downsides 🙁 the native tasks you can't schedule for a specific time, set duration or view in the GCalendar app. Using events for todo lists it's nice but there is no way to mark those tasks as done. Some people came up with a workaround like changing their colours once done but that takes a bit of time. Finally, reminders can be marked as done, viewed in the app and scheduled for any time (but no duration).

    There is another app called tick tick that addresses these issues and has a built-in calendar but it only allows for creating tasks, no events at all. You can sync it with GCal and have events from GCal show up in TickTick calendar but that's so buggy and you have to juggle between two apps.

    I wish there was a app like TickTick, with the UI from GCal and the ability to create Tasks and Events in the calendar. 🙁

  • Kira Breer

    Been doing this for a while now. Since I saw you mention it in an older video, so thanks Scott, it works great for me. When I finish a task I make it green to get that nice "checking something off the to do list" feeling ✔

  • Farnhamification

    I really appreciate your excellent advice, but for people like me who often work in China, Google apps just aren’t an option. Yes, we can use VPNs, but it’s better not to rely on them. Could you please look into Google calendar/mail/keep alternatives? I use Microsoft for most things now (desktop and android phone) and Calendars 5 on my iPad.

  • Stienie Shelver

    Thanks so much for this, the biggest con for me is that I am not able to mark a task as done… I miss the satisfaction of that. In one of your previous videos you describe how to change the time at which your calendar displayed start (ie only from 07h00 to 20h00 visible), but I cannot seem to find it again?

  • Yohanan Diamond

    I started using Todoist's integration with Google Calendar and it is really great, since I can plan my projects / lists there and schedule them whenever I want. Also, I can even create tasks from Google Calendar, just selecting the Todoist calendar.
    The main con of this is that you can't check off these tasks or see if they were completed.

  • Mike Bacon

    Simpletivity You Tube Post

    I’ve tried to manage my Projects and Actions from my calendar a few times, but always go back to an app, either Trello or Todoist or Asana (I’m fickle) What doesn’t work for me is when I want to immediately look at all the things I need to get done in a particular category, like my client projects, or administrative tasks, or expenses. If I suddenly had some free time pop up and wanted to be able to quickly pick something to do with that time, there was no way to do that in calendar, or it took a long time. I found I still needed a “master list” from which to choose and plan my day/week. The happy medium for me has been to keep EVERYTHING in Todoist and then during my weekly review, I assign days and/or times for projects and tasks – and with the Google Calendar integration, I can see all those things in my calendar alongside my appointments. TIP: That can get crowded in calendar view, so it’s important to have a bold colour for actual appointments when you need to be somewhere or do something at a very particular time (the difference between “meet client Bob at 3pm at the coffee shop” vs “work on blog post” .

    With this method, I have the ability to either look at all the projects and tasks demanding my time in Todoist and sort them by category or context, OR I can look at my calendar for appointments OR.. the best part…. I can look at them together at the same time. Tasks or projects in TD with a due date but no time appear as all-day tasks which I can then assign to a particular time when the day arrives and I can look at all the other commitments I have that day.

    This combo gives me piece of mind that I won’t forget a task in my calendar that I forgot to drag forward if it didn’t get done. With this method, if I don’t complete a task on the day/time I assigned it, the worst case is I’ll see it as incomplete in Todoist during my weekly review, but more likely I’ll see it at the end of the day or on the top of my list tomorrow as “Overdue.”

    I think I just wrote the script for my first YouTube video….. 🙂

  • Mike Bacon

    I’ve tried to manage my Projects and Actions from my calendar a few times, but always go back to an app, either Trello or Todoist or Asana (I’m fickle) What doesn’t work for me is when I want to immediately look at all the things I need to get done in a particular category, like my client projects, or administrative tasks, or expenses. If I suddenly had some free time pop up and wanted to be able to quickly pick something to do with that time, there was no way to do that in calendar, or it took a long time. I found I still needed a “master list” from which to choose and plan my day/week. The happy medium for me has been to keep EVERYTHING in Todoist and then during my weekly review, I assign days and/or times for projects and tasks – and with the Google Calendar integration, I can see all those things in my calendar alongside my appointments. TIP: That can get crowded in calendar view, so it’s important to have a bold colour for actual appointments when you need to be somewhere or do something at a very particular time (the difference between “meet client Bob at 3pm at the coffee shop” vs “work on blog post” .

    With this method, I have the ability to either look at all the projects and tasks demanding my time in Todoist and sort them by category or context, OR I can look at my calendar for appointments OR.. the best part…. I can look at them together at the same time. Tasks or projects in TD with a due date but no time appear as all-day tasks which I can then assign to a particular time when the day arrives and I can look at all the other commitments I have that day.

    This combo gives me peace of mind that I won’t forget a task in my calendar that I forgot to drag forward if it didn’t get done. With this method, if I don’t complete a task on the day/time I assigned it, the worst case is I’ll see it as incomplete in Todoist during my weekly review, but more likely I’ll see it at the end of the day or on the top of my list tomorrow as “Overdue.”

    I think I just wrote the script for my first YouTube video….. 🙂

  • Lori Houston

    I liked the suggestion of creating a separate calendar for the tasks as well as using all day events and moving them around if they don't get completed on the original day.

  • craiginzana

    This is similar to what I do with the ToDoist integration. I like the checked off (or not checked off) function of ToDoist and it's a little more intuitive to add tasks on mobile , but a lot of the moving around and looking at my day happens through Google Calendar. I really like having tasks all laid out on the actual calendar so I can see if I'm trying to get a reasonable amount of tasks done.

  • Christine C

    I've just discovered your videos. I'm getting a lot of great tips on managing my calendar and lists from you. I especially like an older one about the 2-do-list and I plan to use that going forward along with these tips. Thanks.

  • John Deir

    Google Calendar is a procrastinators dream as you can keep pushing reminders/task easily ahead and with the sharing feature you do not have to explain/notify others. I wrote a funny account of a woman overfilling her calendar then changing things as she gets distracted shopping and putting others off. Think about it, the joy of making lists to do and then just putting them off to another day without feeling guilty as these tasks and appointments are still there todo. (Also why paper planners are still more effective)… just a little humor side to the digital world.

  • Markus David

    Wow!! thats a good video. I have on question. Can I change the name of the reminder or taks. I would like to delete it but a renaming would be enough for me. thanks for your answer

  • Tom Ferguson

    Great demo! The only thing I'd like to see added is color coordinating reminders, all day events, other calendars, etc. Great job though, this really gave me some ideas! Thanks!

  • martin mclaughlin

    As a driver i want a basic to do list that i can use the ' OK Google' feature that can intergrate with a calender…so basically i can say i want to go to Subway this Tuesday and it saves…no time…no reminder…just a basic to do list.

    Is there such a thing??

  • Kamal Hans

    Just came across this much needed video re Google calendar.
    Qn: How to trigger a sound alarm for a reminder?

  • Leon Leon

    I use Google calendar for my business. It is convenience in many different ways. Setting appointments with my customers, google calendar send a notification by email, every hour in advance for each event. Plus, location (address) link direct to Google Map for GPS.
    Google calendar is a good tool.

  • Tony Pearl

    Fantastic video, full of great tips. I use Google calendar every day & love it so much.
    But thanks to what you shared here, I'll be expanding that even further now. I usually use Notepad for my task list, but that doesn't carry over to my mobile device.
    Thanks!

  • Andy Web

    Hi! I've just programmed my own TO-DO LIST APP in Javascript here : https://www.kip.cool
    It's totally free, no need to subscribe. To-do list, 30 Day Calendar & Goal List. Try it on Smartphone!
    Do you want to make a video about it? You can contact me. It would be great! 😁👍

  • Maztek Trends

    the mobile calendar app should have collapsed format for the hours that don't have anything in it to make the screen more compact

  • Trance Tallentine

    Alarms and reminders are not loud enough or are not highlighted – needs to rock the phone and pester me till i get them done.

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