Productivity

Google Calendar + Tasks Is the Only To-Do List You’ll Ever Need

Shianne Edelmayer Updated 27-01-2020

In early 2018, Google migrated all users to its newest version of Google Calendar. As part of this migration, Google Tasks was integrated more thoroughly with the calendar itself.

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A lot of people already use external to-do apps to keep their tasks synced with Google, but keeping track of multiple apps can get annoying. Instead, why not try out the powerful, in-house combination of a Google Task list with Google Calendar? It could potentially replace any other to-do apps you might use.

In this article, we’ll show you how.

Step 1: Viewing Google Calendar Tasks

If you haven’t customized your task calendar on Google yet, the default view will look very plain. Maybe even a little boring.

Default Google Calendar

However, this boring facade can be extremely deceptive. Enabling Google Tasks in Google Calendar will add a high degree of functionality to the app that you might not otherwise expect.

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Now, we understand why some people might not believe in this functionality. The Google Tasks app used to be one of the worst to-do applications online. To integrate more useful features, you actually had to install browser add-ons like GTasks.

However, the newest version of Google Tasks is much more useful How the New Google Tasks Helps You Manage Your To-Do List Google Tasks has a fresh new look. It is just as easy to organize your to-dos in your Gmail inbox. Read More . To use it alongside Google Calendar, enable the Google Tasks widget by expanding the My calendars section in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop browser.

Check off the checkbox that says Tasks:

Turn on Google Tasks

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Next, go to the right-hand side of your Google Calendar, and click on the Google Tasks icon, seen here in red:

Google Tasks Widget

When you click on it, Google will dock Google Tasks on the right-hand side of Google Calendar. Once Tasks is enabled, you’re ready to add Tasks to the calendar itself.

Add Tasks to Google Calendar

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Step 2: How to Create a Google To-Do List

A lot of power from this Google Calendar combination comes from how you organize your to-do list inside of Google Tasks.

If you haven’t read up on how to combine goal apps with to-do apps Achieve Your Goals by Combining a Goal App and a To-Do App A goal app and a to-do app can give you powerful results when you combine them to meet your big dreams. Read More , we recommend that you take some time to do so now. It’ll help you create and organize your list.

After that is done, gather your list of goals that you want to accomplish, alongside the associated list of tasks needed to complete them. Then, click on the Tasks dropdown menu at the top of the Tasks bar.

There, you will see a selection of previously created lists. You will also see the button Create new list.

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Create Google Calendar Tasks

These lists will be your top-down controls in Google Calendar. You can either click Create new list—which will allow you to create a new task list for high-level goals—or you can click on one of your previously created organizational aides.

The choice for which one you use is up to you.

Inside each list, there will be a spot where you can create a Google to-do task. To create a new task, click + Add a task. Start typing.

Google To Do List

The Importance of Subtasks

Inside each individual task, there will also be the option to create subtasks. Subtasks are added as regular tasks within each of these main tasks.

Once you click on a task, you can list all of the steps you have to take in order to accomplish that goal. With Google Tasks, the process of listing subtasks is easy.

Press the Edit icon beside the main task to open up the Add subtasks option. Click on it, then type each subtask into the box.

Google Tasks Subtask List

Once that’s done, press Enter to insert the text and move onto the next subtask. You can see my own process and what that looks like, here in red:

Add Tasks to Google Calendar

It’s important to give each subtask on your Google Calendar to-do list a realistic due date. Remember, you’ll be loading all your goals into the calendar itself. So taking everything you’re planning into consideration will help you keep those dates manageable.

If you try to add a due date to a subtask, you’ll notice that you can’t add one when you first create it. You need to go back to the main list level and add from there.

Once you’re back on your main list level, click on a task to go back into your subtasks. Add the due date to the subtask by clicking on the Edit details icon next to it:

Edit Google Tasks Subtask

After this, you’ll see the due date option has been added to your subtask page.

When you click on Add date, Google will give you a pop-up calendar where you can choose a specific day to show when this task is due.

Add Due Date to Google Tasks Subtask

More Tips

  • If you use some other to-do app like Todoist or RememberTheMilk, we recommend going through this same process to manually transfer these tasks over.
  • By using the same techniques listed above, Google Tasks and Google Calendar can do everything those apps can do, plus more.

Another important thing to consider as you’re adding deadlines is that you should use an actual start date for when you want to begin working on the main tasks. Most apps will place your task in the priority to-do list based upon when they’re due.

The neat thing about Google Tasks integration, however, is that it will lay this information out in clean, chronological order on your calendar.

Step 3: How to Use Google Task Inside of Google Calendar

When you enable Tasks in your navigation menu, it will add every task’s due date to your Google Tasks calendar. If there is no specific time during the day when this task is due, you’ll see your task listed at the top of each day that you have a deadline:

Default Google Calendar

This visual display is really helpful for spotting days during the week when you’re overloaded. To avoid this, we recommend that you take a look at your upcoming tasks at the beginning of each week. Try shifting things around when necessary to level out your workload.

You can do this by clicking on any of the task items in your calendar, then clicking on the Edit icon to change the due date.

Edit Google Tasks in Google Calendar

After you change the due date, Google Calendar automatically moves that task to a new spot in the calendar. A lot of apps lack this ability to seamlessly shift tasks around on the fly, and this is the second benefit to using Google Calendar with Google Tasks.

Without it, it can be difficult to visualize your workload.

Another quick way you can change the due date for a task is by clicking and dragging it to another spot on the calendar:

Move Google Tasks on Google Calendar

Step 4: Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself With the Google Tasks App

To get into the habit of using Google Calendar, every morning you should take a look at it. Double-check your deadlines, and block off additional time during the day when you plan to work on your Google tasks.

By planning your day in the mornings, you give yourself more flexibility for your whole schedule. This way if something unexpected happens and you need to shift around the tasks later, you don’t need to rework your entire schedule to do so.

Whichever frequency you choose—either by checking your calendar daily, or weekly—this regular review follows the important 80/20 rule of time management Use the 80/20 Time Management Rule to Prioritize Your Tasks How do you maximize your time? If you already prioritize, delegate, and still struggle to get everything done, you should try the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto Principle. Read More .

Lastly, it’s important to state that with a lot of apps, your daily to-do list is laid out in a text-based format. A list might be deceptive in how you’re structuring your workload.

With Google Calendar’s visual approach, however, you’ll quickly see whether or not you actually have enough hours in the day to accomplish what you want.

Time Management Google Tasks

More Tips

  • Include the final due date in the task note. This is so you know how far you can push the tasks out if you don’t get them done right away.
  • Consider using task batching when you schedule out each day.
  • Try to keep a healthy balance between tasks for short term goals and long term goals.
  • For Google Tasks recurring in a similar fashion to an early-morning workout, make a repeating task that will automatically refresh for specific days of the week.
  • Google Calendar tasks for Android and iOS can be adjusted on your phone, so long as you have the Google Calendar app installed.

Use Google Tasks and Google Calendar for Time Management Tips

Using Google Tasks with Google Calendar keeps the most important goals in front of you every day. If you aren’t satisfied with this combination, however, no problem. You may have other productivity apps to choose from, although we recommend that you at give Google Tasks a chance.

Having a great scheduling strategy is only the first step, however. There is so much more that goes into making sure you’re focused on the most important things.

If you’re looking for more great ideas to stay productive, check out our productivity life hacks from Reddit that really work The 7 Best Productivity Life Hacks From Reddit That Work Buried in the ocean of Reddit conversations are real-world life hacks. Let's filter some of them to improve our productivity. Read More .

Related topics: Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Productivity Tricks, Task Management, Time Management, To-Do List.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Mike
    February 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Not that the Google needs my help, but I set lots of repeating tasks , mostly bills, with GTasks. WTH are you kids talking about? Also, Win-key + Print Screen & Paint is your friend for all things you would want to print, if you're into that sort of thing. For a large subset of the population, myself included, simplicity is appreciated. GTasks is that for sure. I don't need a 47-step to-do list for tomorrow before lunch. I'd rather gouge out my eye with a dirty spoon. Thanks Mr Google! Nice iteration of a very helpful app!

  2. Dr. Frank Buck
    February 1, 2020 at 11:23 am

    The deal-breaker with Google Tasks for me has always been the lack of repeating tasks. It floors me that such an essential function that has been in other software since the early 1990s (and possibly before) still isn't there.

    It's a very rudimentary task list. The major plus I see is that it does sit side-by-side with Google Calendar.

    Google Tasks may be OK for people who don't have much on their list. Otherwise, there are much better options. I use Remember The Milk. The free version is great. Todoist is excellent, as is Any.Do. Check out Amazing Marvin. For Mac, Things3. So amny really good options.

  3. Bob Mark
    January 31, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Todoist has almost all the functionality described here. It has the added advantage of context sensitive dates and priorities. That is, you don't have to create the task, then go back in to set the due date and priority. As you're typing you merely type the due date (including references like tom for tomorrow, etc.), the priority (p1, p2 etc), recurrence, etc.

  4. Anthea Lowe
    January 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Calendars 5 does a much better job of task and calendar integration in my view - but yes you do have to pay (a small amount) for it. It allows you to easily set up repeat tasks and print sections of your diary/tasks as needed.

  5. Jeff Wright
    April 9, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    A jaw dropping omission by the developers of the new Google Tasks. You can't print it.

  6. Bert Long
    April 5, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I would agree with your original statement until Google abandoned many of the previously-supported views for Google Tasks. Using it as a sidebar for Calendar and Email only is a horrible presumption, and many folks will be looking at other todo list applications or at least UIs

    Have been using Google Tasks for about a decade, and now shopping around.

  7. James
    March 12, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    "For recurring tasks (like workouts), instead of completing the task, reschedule them" isn't really a recurring task, it's a rescheduled task. I really wanted the option to recur tasks independent of an app or Chrome extension so I wrote a Google script. Tasks will recur regardless of what you use to manage your task lists (phone, computer, etc.). It will take about 5 minutes of setup, but it has been working great for me. You have the following recurrence options:

    - every XX days/weeks/months/years after completion
    - weekly on a specific day (e.g., Tuesday)
    - monthly on a specific date (e.g., 28th)
    - annually on a specific date (August 28th)

    One thing I don't have (which I haven't found a need for), is recurrence on a specific day of the week in a given week of the month (e.g., 3rd Tuesday of the month). I suppose if there is enough demand, I might add it.

    You can get it on Github. Please follow the setup and syntax instructions explicitly.

    https://github.com/fleapower/GReT-Google-Recurring-Tasks

    • Bob Mark
      January 31, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      Todoist handles recurring tasks very well without the need for a script. It also has almost all of the integration features mentioned.

    • Bob Mark
      January 31, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Todoist handles recurring tasks very well without the need for a script. It also has almost all of the integration features mentioned.

  8. Scott
    October 11, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Two reasons that I won't use Google Tasks:

    1. No integration with IFTTT

    2. Google's abysmal record of discontinuing services (which can happen with any unpaid service, I realize)

  9. john
    October 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I have been struggling with integrated tasks/todos/calendar for years. Only problem with what you have is the google calendar ios/android app does not show tasks. It does show google reminders though.

    Google Reminder
    Pros: google cal app, google cal webapp, google assistant, notification at set time, incomplete reminders carry over to next day (my workflow is to look at the list every couple days and reschedule them)
    Cons: no api so no alexa support, no description field on reminders (just title which is horrible for a list or URL)

    Google Tasks
    Pros: google cal webapp, google assistant, description and subtasks
    Cons: no google cal app, no reminders at certain time, incomplete tasks stay on the set day
    api? alexa support?

    Thank you for the post, always searching for a better solution.

    • Ricardo Borges
      October 15, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      John, your resume is perfect!

    • Michael Jones
      January 11, 2019 at 9:21 pm

      Actually, you can install the Google Calendar app on android/ios, and can also enable the Tasks view within the Calendar

      • Aprianto Nursetiawan
        February 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm

        There's the problem, you can't enable Tasks view on the mobile app. It's only available in the web version. Google and its inconsistency.

      • Anna
        February 26, 2020 at 9:28 pm

        Absolutely agree! Google Tasks doe NOT integrate with Google Calendar. Maybe it's because they are trying to pick up a few bucks on their paid version of GQueues which seems to be the ONLY product whereby tasks WILL appear on Google Calendar if you want to pay $25 per year. It isn't the money. It's the functionality. I don't need all the other mumbo jumbo that comes with GQueues, I just need tasks and calendar and I need it for FREE. Completely rediculous!