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Using Google Tasks vs. Reminders to Get Things Done

Using Google Tasks vs. Reminders to Get Things Done

Alyssa Towns
September 30, 2022
Updated on:
March 14, 2024

Using Google Tasks vs. Reminders to Get Things Done
Photo by 

Raise your hand if you live by your Google Calendar. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without my Google Calendar, and I use it to manage my work and personal schedules. 

If you’re anything like me, maybe you’re also slightly obsessed with Google Calendar. But are you using the digital tool to its fullest potential? You might think, “Well, I was, but what am I supposed to do without Google Reminders?”

If you are a former Google Reminders user, never fear! Even though Google Reminders are no longer available, did you know you can add Google Tasks to your Google Calendar? If you’re already using the tool for appointments, meetings, and events, why not use it to stay on top of your to-do lists if you don’t use a dedicated task manager

In this post, we’ll teach you:

  • How to make the most of Google Tasks now that Google Reminders have transitioned 
  • What Google Tasks are and how to create them
  • Where to find the new Google Tasks full-screen view (and how to make the most of it) 

You’ll be a Google Calendar power user in no time. Let’s go!

Google Calendar Tasks vs. Reminders

Google switched from Reminders to Google Tasks to help you streamline your to-do list and task management. Here’s a quick rundown to catch you up to speed:

  • Users can view and edit existing reminders using Google Calendar, Google Tasks, or Google Assistant 
  • You can change your reminders to tasks, or you can wait for them to convert automatically (the conversion will occur for all reminders except ones that you deleted or set up in Keep. Keep reminders will remain where they are)
  • Instead of using the Reminders calendar, you will go to the Tasks calendar (or Google Tasks or ask Google Assistant) for your tasks
  • Once you migrate and convert your reminders to tasks, the change is permanent, so ensure you’re ready for the conversion before you dive in

Feature deprecation sometimes feels frustrating, especially when you are a big fan of a feature. The good news is that Google made the transition from Reminders to Google Tasks easy. Let’s walk through how Google Tasks work, how to set them up, and how to make the most of Google Tasks with new aspects that will make you a to-do list wizard. 

What are Google Tasks?

Google Tasks are to-dos you can keep track of across Google Workspace. You can think of tasks as one-time or repeating tasks from your to-do list translated to your Google Calendar. You can schedule your tasks on a specific date at a particular time and set tasks to repeat. You can’t set Google Tasks to remind you to complete tasks at various intervals, but you can get a notification on the due date and time you set for a task.

When creating tasks, you can give them a title, add a description, and add them to a designated task list of choice. You can add details about the specific task or break a large task into a list of smaller subtasks in the description. You can create different task lists if you prefer to group your to-dos in various categories. For example, you might have work, home, and family task lists. 

Tasks live in the right-hand sidebar of Google products, including Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Look for the blue circle with a check mark through it to find your tasks quickly in these Google apps.

It’s important to note that only you can view your Google Tasks in Google Calendar and that they will not appear to any other users, even if they have access to your Google Calendar.

How to create Google Tasks

You can create, view, and modify Google Tasks in Google Calendar from your computer or mobile device, making it easier than ever to manage your to-do list. Here’s how.

Google Tasks on the computer

Step 1: Open your Google Calendar and the Tasks calendar.

With Google Calendar open, on the left, under “My Calendars,” check the box to select the “Tasks” calendar.

google tasks in
Open Google Calendar to see Google Tasks

Step 2: Create the task and add in your details.

Either highlight an empty slot on your Google Calendar where you want to create the task or click the “Create” button in the top left-hand corner and select “Task.”

Now add the title of your task and a description, and set a repeating schedule if necessary. 

Google Task details
Update the details in your new Google Task created

Step 3: Add your task to your task list of choice.

If you have multiple task lists, choose the one you want to add from the drop-down menu. 

If you want to create separate task lists, locate your tasks in the right-hand sidebar. In the top left, click the down arrow next to “My Tasks” and select “Create new list.”

Google Task List
Create lists to organize your Google Tasks

Step 4: Start crushing your to-dos! 

Press the “Save” button after adding your task to your list of choice, and you’re all set! Now, you can start tackling your to-do list. Don’t forget to mark your task complete in the bottom right-hand corner once you finish it. All completed tasks stay on your Google Calendar but will appear crossed out.

Google Tasks on mobile devices 

Step 1: Open the Google Calendar app on your Android device or iPhone. 

Tap the “+ sign and select “Task.”

Create and view Google Tasks
Access your Google Tasks from mobile too

Step 2: Create the task and add in your details.

Add the title of your task and a description, and set a repeating schedule if necessary. 

update Google Task from phone
Update your Google Task details from your phone

Step 3: Add your task to your task list of choice.

If you have multiple task lists, choose the one you want to add from the drop-down menu. You can also add a new list if you’d like.

Step 4: Start crushing your to-dos! 

Press the “Save” button after adding your task to your list of choice, and you’re all set!

Google Tasks features to know about

You might already be familiar with Google Tasks (and if you’re not, we recommend starting here), but there are some exciting new features you should know about. 

First up, Google provides a full-screen desktop view where you can view all of your tasks and task lists in a single view in your Calendar. This view enables users to manage tasks across multiple projects and lists without having to track them down individually. You can access this view in the top right-hand corner of your Google Calendar. Look for the task checkmark icon and click it to enter this view. 

Image source: Google Workspace Updates official feed

If you’re looking for help organizing your to-do lists, you can also “star” your tasks, automatically moving them to a “Starred” list. This feature is beneficial for planning your day or week. I recommend using this feature to “star” your to-dos for the next few days so you can focus on your highest-priority items. Think of it as your to-do list for the week, whereas your full-page view is more of a running list of tasks with both near and extended due dates. You can sort your starred tasks by due date or time starred.

When to use Google Tasks 

Use Google Tasks to capture the items from your to-do list and include descriptions. The description box is there for you to outline your tasks. For example, I could add this blog post as a task and, in the description, include key details such as terms to include and what headers I want to add. You should use tasks for larger to-dos, for which you may wish to include further information and descriptions. 

You might have used Reminders for simple reminders that didn’t require additional details beyond a few words in the title. While Google Tasks might not always be the best fit for those smaller items, you can ask Google Assistant to help you. If you ask Google Assistant to set a reminder on your phone or tablet, it can save the reminder as a task in Google Tasks, and you will receive a notification when it’s time for you to complete it. 

You can easily manage and edit Google Tasks on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile device. 

And if you’re an Apple guru, consider receiving Google Calendar notifications on your Apple Watch to receive your notifications there.

Schedule your tasks with Clockwise + Asana

Adding Google Tasks is a time blocking method, and there’s an easier way. Google Calendar provides great options for scheduling and managing your time, but you can elevate your scheduling even further with Clockwise. 

The Clockwise + Asana integration can add tasks as time blocks in your Google Calendar. You can take advantage of our flexible time blocking so we can reschedule your tasks for you as needed rather than manually updating your Google Tasks.

Smooth Google Calendar days ahead

Make Google Calendar your go-to app for all your planning and to-do list needs. Use Google Tasks for your larger to-dos and simple nudges to complete a quick action. Or try the Clockwise + Asana integration for your time-blocking needs. Go forth and work your Google Calendar like a pro, and sign up for Clockwise today.

About the author

Alyssa Towns

Alyssa Towns has written productivity and time management content for Clockwise for several years. Early in her career, she dove into time management strategies to effectively manage her workday calendar and 10+ C-Suite officers' calendars across various organizations. She uses her training in change management to write time management, the future of work, and career content that helps people change their behaviors and habits. In addition, she writes about artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology for G2's Learn Hub. When she isn't writing, Alyssa enjoys trying new restaurants with her husband, playing with her Bengal cats, adventuring outdoors, or reading a book from her TBR list.

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