The other day I happened upon the most amazing function in Gmail. Did you know there is a built in To Do list app? and you have the option of tying it in to an email thread? I didn’t have a clue this existed. Apparently one of my husband’s online friends pointed it out to him. All I know is I sat down in front of the PC and noticed this lovely little task box pop up in the bottom corner. My first thought was: I need this! I immediately called hubby into the room to ask him what sort of Chrome extension he had installed, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this feature is built right into Gmail.
I’ve been playing around with it for a few days now, and it’s pretty brilliant. You can sort your tasks by date. You can create a task that is strictly text, or you can link it to an email, or a thread of emails, in your Gmail box. You can create multiple lists; blog tasks on one list and family errands on another for example. You can view tasks you’ve completed. Email your list to someone. Or even print it out.
I think the only feature missing that I would like to see is shared task lists. As an example, I would love to have a list of Family Errands that I could share with my husband’s Gmail account. Yes, you can email a list to someone, which is useful, but it’s just not nearly as helpful as being able to grant someone else the ability to check off, add or edit items.
Regardless, I think I’m in love. This most definitely trumps my current organization system, a hodge podge of paper planner plus notepads files. No more wasting time searching for an email to send info off to someone once a task is completed. Now the email in linked right to the To Do list. Huzzah! My favourite feature though is the way Gmail automatically and constantly saves everything. No more losing a days worth of notes because I forgot to hit save on my notepad file. Yay!
Ok, so you may be wondering… how do I use this marvelous tool? Well let me show you. You can access the Task list one of two ways.
First you need to be logged into Gmail. Then you go up to the top left hand corner, right below the Google logo, where it says Gmail.
That’s a drop down menu, click on it. Up will come a box with three options; Gmail, contacts and tasks. Click on tasks and your in.
Now you can add items to your list by clicking on the big + button. A wee checkbox will appear and if you click just to the right of that you will have a cursor and be able to give your task a name. Click on the wee arrow to the right hand side of your task to edit it. You can add a Due Date, and there’s also a spot for detailed notes. You can organize the items in your list; grab an item along the left hand side and slide it up or down the list, click in the bottom left hand corner to indent select items to create task groupings. Hit the list icon in the bottom right hand corner to rename your list, or tab over to another list.
|Click here to add a new task.|
The other way to start a task list is to open an email and click on “Add to Tasks” under the “More” drop down menu, like so.
|Open any email and click on “Add to Tasks” under the “More” drop down menu.|
When you create a task this way it links the email to the task. Your task will include a clickable link that will take you back to the email. So very handy, right?
Provided you don’t close it, the task bar will hang around in the bottom right hand corner of your Gmail window. Or you can hit the arrow icon to cause the list to “pop-out” into it’s own window. Keep in mind however, if you close Gmail the task list window will also close. To reopen a previously written list just click on the Gmail drop down menu in the top left hand corner and then click on Tasks.
|Click here to make the window pop out.|
Play around with it, it’s pretty intuitive. I think I’ve stumbled on to a truly great tool for bloggers here (or even for household organization). Let me know what you think!