Android iPhone and iPad Productivity

Reminders Make Google Calendar an Incredible To-Do List

Mihir Patkar 10-12-2015

Your calendar is meant for scheduling, your to-do app is meant for listing tasks 8 Best Apps for Managing To-Do Lists on Android Don't try to juggle dozens of tasks in your head. These awesome Android task management apps help you efficiently keep track of your to-do list. Read More , right? But given how interdependent these two activities are, that segregation just doesn’t make sense. Google is now integrating Google Calendar and to-do lists by introducing Reminders.


Reminders will start as a feature on the mobile app for Google Calendar, available for Android and iPhone, but will soon be available on the web version too. Either way, Google Calendar can be synced across every platform How to Sync Google Calendar with Every Other Platform Google Calendar is arguably the easiest, most intuitive and most versatile way to organize your day. The only problem users commonly encounter is syncing it with their devices. Read More , so this shouldn’t be a big worry.

What Are Reminders?

While they’re called Reminders, this new feature presents a list of all your pending tasks. But they’re tasks on steroids!

Here’s how it works. When you tap the plus icon to create a new calendar event in the mobile app, you’ll now see another option for “Reminder”. Tap that to create a new reminder.

Packing a Productivity Punch

Google Calendar brings together several productivity methods through the introduction of Reminders. Foremost is a technique called backward scheduling, advocated by author Cal Newport of Study Hacks.

The idea is that you need to schedule your tasks into your calendar. When you have a long to-do list, you don’t know how or where those tasks will fit into your daily plan. And so they remain unattended with the usual “I’ll get to it later” attitude.



By assigning a fixed time to a task, you are more likely to follow up and start on it then, Newport says. He isn’t the only one. Several productivity writers like Art Meisel also recommend thinking about “when” a task needs to be done and scheduling it in your calendar.

Google Calendar’s new feature is putting this productivity method into action by encouraging you to schedule your tasks rather than endlessly adding them to a list. When you’re creating a new reminder, Calendar will prompt you to add a date and time so that it can alert you when the clock strikes.

Perhaps more importantly, by keeping your to-do list and your calendar in the same visual space, you are more likely to start scheduling those tasks, or even knock off the small tasks when you notice a window in time. When you see that your next task is scheduled for at least 5 minutes later, you can take care of one of the small items that you see in your recurring reminders, like paying off your credit card bill.


Why Use Calendar Over To-Do Apps


Yes, Google Keep handles your tasks already 4 Google Keep Tips And Tricks For Better Notes, Lists And To-Dos Read More , so why should you use Calendar for this purpose? The big reason, in my opinion, is that Calendar is making it easy to add tasks from anywhere, while giving you one place to plan your day and actions.

Add From Anywhere: A big reason many of us don’t end up using a to-do list app regularly is because of the friction involved—the number of steps it takes to add a task is so high, that we just don’t add a task. Since Calendar Reminders can be added from most Google apps and voice commands, that friction is reduced.

Keep Reviewing: One of the principles of David Allen’s GTD productivity method is to constantly review your list of tasks and re-prioritize them. By putting your scheduled tasks and unscheduled tasks in one place, it is easier for you to review and reassess what you should do next.


Be Flexible: When it comes to accomplishing those tasks, Calendar can work similar to how Trello can be a vision board for goals How to Create a Vision Board and Meet Your Big Goals You can call them as big rocks or big, hairy, audacious goals. Some call it a bucket list. Emptying that bucket calls for action. This is where a visual tool like Trello proves useful. Read More . By giving you a visual glance of everything you need to accomplish today, along with the unscheduled tasks that you need to take care of at some point, Calendar becomes a single interface to get an overview of your full day.

Is Google Calendar the To-Do App for You?


Productivity methods are subjective. What works for me might not work for you, so it’s impossible to answer whether Google Calendar is the perfect fit for you to get things done. But Reminders does go a long way in making it great for people who…

  1. prefer to work based on a schedule or based on deadlines,
  2. aren’t great at time management and hence end up missing out on small tasks often, and
  3. forget about pending tasks from previous days when they start a new day.

As with any productivity app or method, give this a shot. Remember the 3-strike rule of to-do systems The 3-Strike System: How To Prioritize Your To-Do List Are you not getting through your to-do list? The problem might not be your productivity, it might just be your priorities. Let's learn how to prioritise the to-do list, and get things done. Read More , and change if it doesn’t work for you.


I’d guess Google Calendar with Reminders will get a much better system once it’s also available on the web version of Calendar, so you are using it across every gadget.

Is Reminders What Google Calendar Needed?

Will Reminders make you switch to Google Calendar? Are you already using GCal and love this new feature? Is this simply not enough and you’re going to stick with your current calendar and to-do apps? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out the revamped Google Tasks 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 , too.

Image Credits:Reminder string by Andrei Simonenko via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Productivity, Task 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. Debra
    January 2, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Reminders are great! I just create them as I think of them and they appear on my calendar everyday in a single box I can expand. Then as I plan my day, I just give them a date and time and those pop up on my calendar and as notifications. Really helps keep me on task. I do wish I could sort or categorize them, however.

  2. Greg
    November 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Perhaps this has already been answered but I want to have a todo list that when I perform the task it goes to the calendar event showing the exact time that I perform the task.

  3. Gerry Blenke
    December 23, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I like some of Google calendar and some of Day by day Pro. The task of DYD Pro does not show up in Calendar as a reminder. Is there a way of doing that?

  4. MM
    January 14, 2017 at 9:28 am

    It seems to be quite a primitive feature- no categorisation, prioritisation or commentary on progress. I hope Google extends this as I agree it's more useful to have tasks and calendar entries in the same place.

  5. John-Pierre Cornelissen
    January 4, 2017 at 10:55 am

    The problem I have with teh web version of Keep is that it only shows you the upcoming reminders. It doesn't show the overdue reminders. Then the Android app, does show the overdue reminders, but it shows them at the top of the notes list, but not in the reminders list where you expect them.

    S let's say I have a note with a reminder at 10:00 am and I look in keep at 10:05 am
    - The Keep website doesn't show the overdue reminder in the reminders list nor in the notes list
    - The Keep App doesn't show the overdue reminder in the reminders list but it does show it in the notes list

    You can search for the note, but that takes an action from me, while I need that list to be reminded.

    It's weird that the Agenda and in Inbox do show overdue reminders, while Keep itself doesn't.

  6. Kurt Schmidt
    November 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    My gripe about ToDo lists, be it Tasks, Reminders, or whatever, is that Google and everyone else forgets "KISS;" there are dozens of apps out there, but none to integrate easy entry, easy review, and reliable alerts that would not be missed! I cannot see the Google Reminders in my Android Calendar because I have not found anything to replace Calendar v4.40.16 - except that I added
    Event Reminder by MIL Development ( because native alarms would not "alarm." Tasks and ToDo's are very useful for Time/Task management, but so far it continues to be a stepchild of time management apps.

  7. Ron M
    November 24, 2016 at 3:32 am

    Wow reminders has gone a long way to making google suite a useable crm option.
    Instead of adding follow up tasks in my main calender or seperate calender I can create a reminder which goes in my inbox where I know I will work on it! It also goes to reminders on your Calendar and automatically moves forward. Plus links and other things have animation in reminders! Reminders and the new Contact preview look Great! Hopefully the bugs in Contacts preview and import and export will be set up so we can drop the old uglier contacts. Not sure inbox can be alone as gmail has more functionality and apps so looks like both will be in play for a long time. Thanks Google for reminders! So useful in many ways

  8. Trev
    October 18, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Anyone know why Reminders doesn't have a field for notes? I find it useful to be able to add explanatory notes or lists to my tasks and not being able to do that puts me off. As an alternative I use Calengoo, which even has the option to show tasks, with or without those notes, in its agenda view.

  9. 3axis
    September 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Reminders are a great idea, particularly that they keep moving until done but there needs to be sync between calendar/inbox/keep so that you can see a list of them if you want to. They come into calendar from keep for example but don't go the other way. This is a large hole inf functionality as far as I am concerned.

  10. Michael
    June 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I want to like Reminders but having tried all the competition nearly I cant' ignore the glaring omissions. This app is the perfect example of Google's execution on most things. To only be able to view reminders from the Inbox app or Calendar and not the Notification bar or the lock screen defeats the purpose. Even better I should be able to add reminders from those same locations. This is really just a Tuesday in the world of Google but still. Integration between Google mail and Calendar should be much better. Snoozing an email is effective for people that use their inbox to trigger what they're doing maybe but to be much more effective, you should be able to simply link a reminder to a specific email that shows up in your calendar. If the dev team was really on it you'd be able to link an email with an already existing appointment or create an appointment from said email.

    • Sean
      October 23, 2017 at 8:42 am

      That's been my exact perspective as well, as I heavily rely upon searching for relative emails for reference of scheduled/scheduling events. Why has this never come to fruition? Heck, even the ability to generate a link to each specific email would provide so much functionality for productivity.

  11. Don
    May 28, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I spend a lot of time in my calendar, so I like having appointments and tasks (todos) in the calendar. I used to use a separate todo app (ToDoist) that interacted with Google Calendar (or other 3rd party calendars that synched with Google), but I was finding that uncompleted tasks would not carry forward. The new Google Reminders seem to fix that. I don't quite get the difference between Google Tasks and Google Reminders - it appears reminders have superseded tasks - you can't have both. A lot of other calendar apps seem to synch only with tasks, and not with reminders.

    Bottom line is that for now I've stopped using other calendars and todo lists, and I'm doing everything in Google Calendar with reminders.

  12. Brad
    May 7, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I find Google Calendar inadequate for reminders/to-do list. I use to keep all my to-do list items in Google calendar as daily events because the pop-up notices were persistent. Google changed this so that the notifications from Google Calendar disappear when the event expires... so if I hadn't completed an item on that day, I forget to do it. Reminders in Calendar seem to act the same way. At least with Google Keep, reminders are persistent until I dismiss/delete them. Google Keep also ads the reminders to my Google calendar. It would be nice if Google calendar reminders were added to Google Keep... it is an oddity that they made Google Keep to do something Calendar already did, and then integrated Keep reminders back into Calendar, but didn't make Calendar share back with Keep. Either way, I don't like having to use Keep as a separate app to get reminders working the way I like, but I live with it to avoid forgetting important to do items.

  13. Amanda
    April 28, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I'm not a fan. I think it's great they have everything in one spot, but you should be ABLE to view them separately. And you should be able to set the default view to month. I often write todo or idea lists. These are not"DO RIGHT NOW" lists, or "DO BY THIS DATE" lists. I cannot do this on droid. iPhone had a great calander where you could see daily, monthly or weekly. But there was also a main view where you could see the calandar and a small window on the right with a shopping list (I had it set up that way) and my To do list, and a Questions for the doctor or memo box, all in one view. It was awesome. And siri could input for me too.
    Come on google! make it better!

    • Tasha
      June 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      I like that 'sublist' idea as well!
      I appreciate being able to make a main list called groceries and then a sub list from it with each item I need to be picked up. I like to create this list in my calendar through the week with no particular due date just something that I know I have to do throughout that week and add as I go. Reminders does not allow me to do this. I also typically keep a list called running tasks or ongoing errands and as things pop into my head that I need to do I add to this; they may not have a due date of a particular day per say that it needs to get done but just items through the week. Reminders is great if I need something done by a certain day and time however I don't have the flexibility in Google Calendar for a general task list or on going to do list to just add to. It's a bit frustrating.

  14. Junaid
    April 23, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I cannot seem to view the Google reminders in another android app. e.g. Business Calendar pro. so it means the Gcal is just being used as a viewer in this case and not integrated ?

  15. Paul Hutchings
    April 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you Michael, that's exactly what I needed to know. Thought I'd lost all my tasks!

  16. Michael Richardson
    April 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    It seems that if you click on the Reminders entry on the left of your web calendar, you can "switch to tasks" (and back). Why Reminders aren't built on top of tasks, I have no idea. Stupid Google silos that never talk to each other is my bet.

  17. sdf
    April 11, 2016 at 11:56 am

    What'd that take like 10 years for google to get this done?

  18. Debbie
    April 8, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Bugger... I was using Gtasks - i LIKE it separate from my calendar since I have a few different gtask lists. Now my tasks I HAD are gone from my google desktop calendar, AND the reminder that i tried (wish I hadn't) isn't in my gtasks either...
    Come on google - you didn't need to mess with what I already had going!

  19. Bob Wilson
    April 8, 2016 at 2:16 am

    I really do want my reminders in Keep showing up in my calendar. Causes too much clutter in my Calendar. I am very disappointed that there seems to be no option to cut that feature off.

    • David Hazelton
      April 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I agree. How do you turn the damn thing off?

    • John-Pierre Cornelissen
      January 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

      I just switched to Keep, but found that it doesn't show overdue reminders everywhere but in the calendar. If you don't want to see them in your calendar, how do yo get a list of overdue reminders in Keep?

  20. Issac
    April 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Am I doing it wrong? I was using my google calendar and everything was going fine, my reminders were showing up and it was good. Then my reminders disappeared and now I have "Tasks" and the reminders are no where to be seen on my desktop! I can see them on my phone fine just not on my desktop.

    Anyone know how to fix this?

    • hollina
      April 10, 2016 at 6:35 am

      Perhaps the drop-down menu to the right of "Tasks" will offer a "Switch to Reminders" option?

  21. Keith
    April 6, 2016 at 4:19 am

    I need the reminders to be editable on the desktop as well, input from a mobile is too time consuming. I want to get away from the current tasks offered on GCal, but this is the only method that shows with calendar events with to-do's on both desktop and mobile (CalenGoo application).

  22. pgee
    March 3, 2016 at 7:03 am

    when will the reminder feature be added to web? hopefully before HashTagToDo shuts down or I will be very lost...

    • tonyrulez
      March 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Actually, if you add a reminder to a Keep note, it will show up in the Calendar mobile app, so basically you can see it on the web too. Unfortunately it doesn't wokr the other way around: if you add a reminder in the Calendar app, it won't show up in Keep. Hope they will fix it, or add the feature to the Calendar web view.

      • Sam Gibson
        March 10, 2016 at 8:31 am
        • Scott Ledyard
          March 30, 2016 at 2:21 pm

          Oh, thanks for pointing that out, Sam Gibson. I looked at "Inbox" when it first came out, but did not embrace it. Maybe I should look at it again...

  23. Anonymous
    March 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I found some funky behaviour on repeated reminders on iPhone. My existing repeating reminders (probably created using Google Now on Android) show up in my Google Calendar on iPhone, but do not alert. If I remove and re-add them on iPhone, they start to work. One-time reminders have worked fine.

    But agree with the consensus here - the reminder functionality online is much needed.

  24. Barbara
    February 12, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Absolutely love this feature. Just very anxious fir Web availability so I can stop hopping from phone to computer. I was able to eliminate a third party calendar and that was a very helpful thing. Please hurry wig the web transfer!

  25. Varun
    January 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

    @Sean Dent!

    Wow, you have summed it up. I have been trying out a few apps; Todoist doesn't sync well with calendar so no view of timelines. DontForgetTheMilk, similar... both apps sync once a day, for whatever calendar support they have.

    Google Cal is very helpful but "Reminders" cannot be seen on Desktop and "Tasks" aren't visible on Phone! What the hell. It's either a weird bout between Android team vs online products team or the mangers aren't' having enough meetings.

    Google has the potential to create consistent, and considered task/calendar system that can kill Todoist, Wonderlist and DFTM.

  26. Frieda Vizel
    January 17, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I can't see the reminders in my google calendar from my computer and I can't see my web calendar tasks from my Android phone. Why in the world would there be two unsynced programs? Couldn't they just introduce Tasks to apps? This is ridiculous!

    • Sam Beckwith
      February 15, 2016 at 10:17 am


    • Greg Gagnaux
      March 2, 2016 at 12:13 am

      Agreed. It's kind of aggravating!

    • Science Geek Mom
      June 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Here is a link where you can see the tasks on your desktop.

  27. Dorian
    January 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I am not a fan of this new reminder feature. I know I could just ignore it, but when I want to put something on my calendar, I now have the added step of having to chose 'event' instead of as before just being able to hit the 'plus' sign. Is there anyway to disable the reminder feature?

    Also, is there anyway to make images stop popping up in my events? When I put a movie event or workout reminder, I get a picture of popcorn and weights respectively, which makes the size of the event much larger than other events, making me less able to see the other events I have for that day because of the disproportionate size.

    I would love any help. I have been trying to fix this for quite some time!

  28. Carolyn
    January 11, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    not sure i'm doing it correctly. i cannot find a way to give a "reminder" (on my phone) the same information that i put into the google calendar on my desktop.

    On my desktop computer the Google calendar lets you put in notes for "tasks."
    But "reminders"on my phone's Google Calendar Android app does not let me put in notes such as my instructions I give myself for a task.

    I'm just trying to get the same information to show on both my desktop computer's calendar and my phone calendar.

    • Jon
      January 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

      You are doing it correctly. It's just that the desktop version is still in development.

    • Trevor Newsome
      October 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Hi. Try Calengoo instead. It allows for unlimited notes and priorities for tasks. They show up in the calendar (I use agenda view most) with or without your notes & instructions etc.

  29. Anonymous
    January 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Since I'm happy with Wunderlist (free version), I thought I would use Keep for meal planning only. It will be very helpful, since it is my goal this year to create meal plans and better shopping lists. I think it will be a Keeper!

  30. Sean Dent
    December 24, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Google has been hopeless in the area of tasks. They do have a task list, that's horribly designed. Then they came up with reminders and put them in Inbox and Now and even Keep, but not Calendar. Now they are implementing it in Calendar, but not across platforms. SOmetimes I think there's a guy at Google who has occasional bouts of insomnia. EVery now and then, when he can't sleep, he starts working on a new idea, then crashes about 5AM before he finishes. And then he never touches it again. Some of their products seem to have no roadmap, just spurts of inspiration.

  31. Nadia
    December 12, 2015 at 12:41 am

    could be interesting, will give it a try. I am currently using another app for to-do-list

  32. Roberto Manguel
    December 11, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I never got the hang of storing to-do-s in different apps than my Calendar, so I always ended creating events for new tasks, most of the time with a due date and time.

    So I really think this is a great addition, at least, for the way I work. :-)

  33. munkypint
    December 11, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I noticed mine was already populated with content. Where did this content come from? Can't seem to find the origin, not from the tasks within google calendar or google now

  34. Nealz
    December 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I love it, so much!!!