It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Google products. I use gmail even though my email appears to come from my domain. I use Picasa for photos, Google Calendar, Google keyword tool, Google analytics, Google docs and Google contacts. I love that almost everything they do, aside from being free, works great.
When I switched to an Android phone, I was stymied by what to do with my tasks and projects. I had been using a Blackberry before that, and while the task function wasn’t overly impressive I was able to make it work. If I wanted to stay with Google and make full use of the seamless sync between my desktop and phone it seemed that Google tasks was my only option. The problem was that Google tasks is such a low-feature system that I had to really do some serious work-arounds to get it to even come close to my needs. A lot of people were complaining about it, and it seemed really out of sync with the high level of quality of their other services. I decided to gamble and set myself up on Google tasks with the hope that soon they would upgrade the functionality and it would be as good as all the other products I use and love.
Almost a year later, I decided to switch again because it was just too hard to stay on top of everything I had to do with the system I was using at the time. There hadn’t been any pending upgrades to the task manager announced, and a year was the longest I was willing to wait. Things that are weak on Google tasks include:
- There’s no way to put a recurring task in, so you can create a task that occurs every Monday, every 3 days, or 5 days after the last time you did it.
- You can create several different lists of tasks, but only one can be viewed at a time, and if you want to view them on your calendar along with your appointments, only the list currently open in the tasks pane shows up. If you don’t think to check all of your task lists, you could be missing things you need to do today.
- There is no way to add a tag or a priority to a task. This are pretty basic functions of most task managers, so it seemed like a big sacrifice to not have these functions.
- There was no home-screen icon on the Android for tasks from Google like there was out-of-the-box for contacts, Gmail and calendar. It seems to me that a task function is an equally important sibling of these 3 and for some reason Google treats tasks differently.
After nearly a year of making due with a task manager that just wasn’t up to the job of managing my life, both personal and business, I finally gave in and decided to look for another option. This process will be the topic of a series of posts for which this post is first. I just love peeking into other people’s time management systems, so if you want a peek into mine, look out for the next post.
What task management system do you use and why? Do you sync it with your smartphone?