Friday, June 6, 2014

Keeping Track of Tasks with Google Apps

Most teachers have a to do list a mile long.  In my case, I used to have about 30 sticky notes scattered all across my desk with all the little things I need to remember to deal with.  Then when I got home and actually had 5 minutes to do something, that list did me no good scattered all over my desk at school.  Google has a cool feature that helped me with this very problem.  Tasks!

Accessing the "Tasks" Window

When you have your Gmail inbox in front of you, you will see the word "Mail" in red just under the colored Google logo in the top left corner of your browser window.  You'll notice that there is a small red triangle next to it pointing downward.  This indicates that there is a drop down of some sort.  If you click on the word "Mail", a menu will show.  It will give you three options - Mail, Contacts, and Tasks.

When you click on "Tasks", a little Tasks window will pop up in the bottom right hand corner of your browser window.

Adding a Task

You can click on the yellow bar next to the small square to type in your first task.  Once you finish typing, just hit enter to save the task.  It will automatically pop up a new little square so you can add the next task when you are ready.

Checking Off a Task

Once you complete a task, you can simply check the box to show that it is completed.  

Adding Another List

One cool feature is that you can have more than one list.  By default it will say "<Insert your name>'s List".  You can rename this list, and even create other lists, by clicking on the little button in the bottom right that looks like three bullet points.  

When you click on the "New list" option it will pop up a small window asking you to name your list.  I named mine Veteran's Day to show one reason why you may want a separate list.  Our school does a big Veteran's Day celebration for the community every year and there are many things to do to prepare.  I can use a separate task list to manage the tasks associated with this event.  

Once you hit ok after naming your list, the new list is opened.  To switch back and forth between lists, click the little button with the three bullets again and it will allow you to choose which list you would like to see.  

Clear Completed Tasks

If you click the "Actions" menu at the bottom of the window, you can do a number of things, one of which is to clear away the completed tasks.  

Adding Details to a Task

Something else you can do from this menu is edit the details of your task.  If you choose "Edit details" from the menu you will be able to add a due date, add notes, or even move this task to a different list.  You can get to the same add details screen by mousing over the task and clicking on the little black arrow that shows up on the right side of the task.

When you add a due date, the little date will appear under the task title on your list.

Changing the Order of Tasks

To change the order of a task, you could use the actions menu, but the easiest way is to mouse over the task and click on the little dotted area that appears at the left side of the task.  You will get a gripping glove icon when you mouse over that area.  Just click and drag that task into the position you want it to be in.  Note:  Due dates do not seem to affect the order of your tasks.  

Deleting a Task

To delete a task, you can simply check it off and then clear completed tasks, or you can select the task and click on the little trash can icon at the bottom of the window.  

Managing the Tasks Window

You can minimize the window within the gmail screen by clicking on the minus sign in the upper right corner of the Tasks window.  You can also pop the tasks window out so it becomes its own window instead of living inside your gmail window.  You can do this by clicking on the little arrow icon next to the minus sign.  You can also close the window by clicking on the X.  

If you do pop the window out, you can pop it back in by choosing the "Pop-in" option at the bottom right corner of your new tasks window.

I hope the task list will come in handy for you.  It sure has made a big difference for me.  

To read my post about using tasks to make daily reminder lists - click here.  

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