18
Jan
35

Google Calendar as a Todo List & Task Management App

My name’s Zee and I’m a task management freak… I’ve tried rememberthemilk, todoist, sandy, basecamp to do’s and a host of others – but although all are superb apps, I always felt there was a more suitable out there.Google calendar as a todo

Recently, i’ve been trying a brand new way of managing my tasks alongside our team tasks – and strangely it is working better than anything I have tried before. Let me explain, if you’re a project management geek like me, I think you’ll find this interesting:

  1. One year ago we established our 5 year business goals & I also established my personal 5 year goals. That process naturally takes a little time, but is critical in forming direction for the company and yourself. We try and make each of these 5 year goals as simple and easily provable as possible (ie. I will weigh 75kg and have a 36″ waist is good. NOT, I will be in good shape.).
    We do this for every aspect of the business, and I personally did it for the four different areas of my life (aside from work) Personal, Relationships, Health & Money.
  2. After these 5 Year goals have been set for each aspect of life and/or business, I then set a 1 year goal for each of the 5 year goals.
  3. Finally, a list of quarterly goals are made for each 1 year goal. Again, these too have to be as specific as possible. These quarterly goals form the names for each one of your calendars on google calendar.
  4. Now, moving onto the actual google calendar stage of this process. Start creating a calendar for each goal you expect to achieve within 3 months – i have 15 goals which I want/expect to achieve within 3 months fyi. Once done…
  5. It’s time to literally think about each 3 month goal and exactly what needs to be done & when. So if you want to learn to become a dancer within 3 months, then add an event for “find a dance class”, “buy dancing shoes” etc… Just make sure you have put that task (event) in the right calendar so you always know which 3 month goal the task relates to. One tip is to also add different colours for each calendar – should make things easier.
  6. Right, so by the end of it you should have a calendar full of your tasks, appointments and all of them focused on achieving goals which you set yourself. The important thing to remember is always think when you’re about to add a task “which 3 month goal is this helping me achieve?” if the answer is none, dump it…if it’s vitally important, then add it to a separate calendar entitled MISC and place it in there. But try you’re very best to not keep tasks which don’t directly correspond to your 3 month goals.

TIPS:

  • To share tasks with your team, either simply share the calendar or just share the individual tasks.
  • Use Quicksilver Add Google Calendar event plugin or Yahoo widget’s Google Calendar widget or Elias’ Quick Add Firefox Extension
  • If you use firefox, add google calendar to open in your sidebar
  • Use your default calendar (the top one which you can’t remove) as your ‘inbox’ calendar. So if you’re in a rush, just quickly add a task (event) to that calendar and put it into the correct calendar later.
  • To ensure i can always come back to things i haven’t done: Every todo(event) i add I always put -todo after whatever it is i should do, eg. “run a mile -todo”. Then everytime i’ve done something i change it from “-todo” to “-done”. Then say a couple of weeks later you want to see what’s left to be done that you haven’t done – just search for ‘-todo’ and voila, you’ve got everything there.

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  1. January 18th, 2008
    2:31 pm
    Track Goal Progress and To-Do’s on Google Calendar [Goals] · TechBlogger said:

    [...] it’s an effective way at least to keep your finish line in your mind as the year progresses. Google Calendar as a Todo List [Creative [...]

  2. January 18th, 2008
    2:33 pm
    gerry said:

    How about a screenshot we can see?

  3. January 18th, 2008
    4:04 pm
    purrl.net |** urls that purr **| said:

    This is one of the web’s most interesting stories on Fri 18th Jan 2008…

    These are the web’s most talked about URLs on Fri 18th Jan 2008. The current winner is …..

  4. January 18th, 2008
    4:38 pm
    Loris said:

    sounds interesting, but what about daily tasks ?

  5. January 18th, 2008
    4:49 pm
    jeff said:

    so, you measure your weight in kg, but your waist in inches?

  6. January 18th, 2008
    5:04 pm
    Zee
    Zee said:

    @Loris, I still am able to manage the tasks by just quickly adding the tasks using quick add. I try my best to organise the next days tasks and actually set a scheduled time for each task. Alternatively, you could use rememberthemilk’s gcal addon – but frankly the goal for me was to ensure that i’m not visiting multiple sites to just get things done. So it’s gcal all the way for me.

    @Jeff – yup, i’m definitely confused. I’m half iraqi, half british – i was born confused. :)

  7. January 19th, 2008
    12:45 am
    Lifestyles Blog » Blog Archive » Track Goal Progress and To-Do’s on Google Calendar [Goals] said:

    [...] it’s an effective way at least to keep your finish line in your mind as the year progresses. Google Calendar as a Todo List [Creative [...]

  8. January 19th, 2008
    1:53 am
    Creative Thoughts " Blog Archive " Google Calendar as a Todo List &… said:

    [...] Creative Thoughts " Blog Archive " Google Calendar as a Todo List &… [...]

  9. January 19th, 2008
    2:10 am
    Luc said:

    I very like the way you structure goals. What I don’t like with your structering.
    - it takes a lot of time to prepare (it’s not that vital)
    - there will be task where you need to collaborate with others, (e.g. I want to plan a electro party with friends)
    - what if goals change? And they will!

    I’m also a project management freak. At the moment I work on a small tool called “Activities” (www.netnode.ch/myactivities) which is a lightweight collaboration tool for small teams but also an activity planer for youself. Maybe this is an interesting tool for you can check out. Please remind that it’s still in beta. At the moment I ask for feedback.
    Lukas

  10. January 19th, 2008
    3:03 am
    Hack Your Day - A productivity blog | Manage goals with Google Calendar said:

    [...] in it, it forces you to think in goals and to work to achieve them. Take a look at the original Google Calendar organization article, where all this is written down in much more detail. I think I’m going to give it a [...]

  11. January 19th, 2008
    4:21 am
    Mrs S | A pocketful of pixiedust said:

    Interesting idea – I too have dabbled with Sandy and RTM for GTD concepts… but I just recently went back to a tabbed book with a section for my next action and waiting for lists – it’s just easier to see everything on paper.
    But I like this idea for goals… I have just written up my work-related goals and can see how this would help ensure the work that I do from day to day actually moves me towards achieving them.
    I’m off to try it out :0)

  12. January 19th, 2008
    11:01 am
    Track Goal Progress and To-Do’s on Google Calendar [Goals] | FLUX AGGREGATOR only FREE said:

    [...] it’s an effective way at least to keep your finish line in your mind as the year progresses. Google Calendar as a Todo List [Creative [...]

  13. January 19th, 2008
    6:15 pm
    SD said:

    Article was great. Since people asked about daily tasks – just add another calendar called “daily” and add that stuff on that calendar. Simple – but I just thought of this after reading the article.

  14. January 19th, 2008
    6:25 pm
    SD said:

    Question: what is the right column on your google calendar. I don’t have that in mine and can’t figure out what it is (checked settings etc.). Can you please elaborate since the pic doesn’t have enough resolution to figure it out. THANKS>

  15. January 19th, 2008
    7:26 pm
    Zee
    Zee said:

    @SD – Oh, i see how you may think it’s a column but i just grabbed part of the calendar and that is just part of the next day.

  16. January 20th, 2008
    12:17 pm
    argotnaut said:

    My problem with using a calendar for tasks is that they tend to slip by me into the past and I never see them again. Yeah, I know you’re supposed to review, blah, blah, blah, but it doesn’t always happen.

    I need something that keeps overdue things in a little basket so that I can root through them when I’m ready to get caught up.

  17. January 20th, 2008
    4:20 pm
    Zee
    Zee said:

    @argotnaut – funny you should mention that. Just started using a hack to solve that prob. Every todo(event) i add I always put -todo after whatever it is i should do, eg. “run a mile -todo”. Then everytime i’ve done something i change it from “-todo” to “-done”. Then say a couple of weeks later you want to see whats left to be done, just search for ‘-todo’ and voila, you’ve got everything there.

  18. January 20th, 2008
    9:50 pm
    Basecamp » Creative Thoughts > Blog Archive > Google Calendar as a Todo List &… said:

    [...] Jeffrey Zeldman Presents wrote an interesting post today on Creative Thoughts > Blog Archive > Google Calendar as a Todo List &…Here’s a quick excerptMy name’s Zee and I’m a task management freak… I’ve tried rememberthemilk, todoist, sandy, basecamp to do’s and a host of others – but [...]

  19. January 20th, 2008
    11:40 pm
    Blog Oh Joe said:

    The problem is that google don’t offer an offline calendar for the iphone or ipod touch. And thats where I need my daily tasks. ;)

  20. January 21st, 2008
    2:19 am
    maheshexp said:

    It’s very much true.Even I had a same kind of article when I felt that Google Calendar can be used as GTD, TO-DO and MicroJournal.

    http://maheshexp.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/google-calendar-a-gtd-todo-and-micro-journal/

  21. January 21st, 2008
    3:41 am
    m104 said:

    Great idea, I love gcal and I am using different calendars for different areas of my life (work, fitness, kids) but I guess naming the cals after your goals helps more on focusing… (I’ll change the names right away :) ) I have one question though: there are tasks (that can be postponed) and there are appointments (that can’t be postponed). I would like to be able to distinguish them at a glance. Do you have a suggestion on that?

  22. January 21st, 2008
    4:01 pm
    Zee
    Zee said:

    @m104 – what i do is always add a “todo” either before or after the task..that genuinely helps.

  23. January 23rd, 2008
    9:32 am
    よりよく生きる « 君のてのひらから said:

    [...] Creative Thoughts » Blog Archive » Google Calendar as a Todo List & Task Management App http://blog.wedocreative.com/2008/01/google/google-calendar-as-a-todo-list-task-management-app/ [...]

  24. February 5th, 2008
    9:35 am
    sfranchi said:

    Hi Zee, you said “Oh, i see how you may think it’s a column but i just grabbed part of the calendar and that is just part of the next day.”, but I cant’ figure out how you did that, could you elaborate it please?

    Thanks.

  25. January 24th, 2009
    11:57 am
    Top 10 Tools for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions - Softsaurus.org said:

    [...] for reminding you of the year-long (or life-long) race you’re running. Blogger Zee created a functional goal-tracking calendar, setting up five-year, one-year, three-month, and other goals in separate, color-coded calendars. [...]

  26. January 24th, 2009
    1:30 pm
    Suzi said:

    Hi – google asks for a specific date for events. Do you put it to be done on a particular day, or do you make it an event covering a longer period of time?

  27. January 26th, 2009
    1:13 am
    Zee
    Zee said:

    Hi Suzi, i would put it in for a specific date, if it is however something not due by a specific date then yeah just put it as an event covering many dates…ending presumably the latest you could imagine completing the task

  28. January 26th, 2009
    1:37 pm
    joshnunn said:

    @maheshexp SaiSuke is a calendar program for the iPhone that syncs with Google Calandar. It’s not bad. I’m sure there are others.

  29. January 29th, 2009
    3:45 am
    Gute Vorsätze - und wie man sie hält! | blog-O-rama said:

    [...] We Do Blog – Google Calendar as a Todo List & Task Management App [...]

  30. January 29th, 2009
    12:22 pm
    harry said:

    Thanks, that’s a great post!

    There is another nice web app specifically designed for
    tracking goals and todo list, and time tracking, etc, it is called GoalsOnTrack.com. It’s free at http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com.

  31. February 20th, 2009
    7:45 am
    Make Money @ CrapCo » Blog Archive » 7 Great Ways To Track Your Progress Towards Your Goals said:

    [...] didn’t know that it could be used as a comprehensive goal management app until I came across this great article. So you can use your Google Calendar to track your progress [...]

  32. March 16th, 2009
    7:53 am
    7 Great Ways To Track Your Progress Towards Your Goals | myBlog said:

    [...] didn’t know that it could be used as a comprehensive goal management app until I came across this great article. So you can use your Google Calendar to track your progress [...]

  33. May 17th, 2009
    1:09 pm
    Frankpn said:

    Thanks, a very impressive post!
    I will rename my calendar with the name of my quaterly goals right away.
    It would be great, if Google calender would integrate a Gantt feature to simply grafically reschedule tasks and subdependant tasks.Is there any add-on for that?
    Sincerely
    Frankpn

  34. July 23rd, 2009
    5:01 pm
    Словарь Юриста said:

    списки кандидатов, выдвигаемые партиями политическими и избирательными объединениями (блоками) для выборах в представительные органы, проводимые по пропорциональной избирательной системе.

  35. August 3rd, 2009
    11:15 pm
    Team Squirt Gianna said:

    hmm… strange.

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