In August, I posted the first of this “Tried and True Technologies” series. That post focused on how you can use mail merging in Word to make life a little easier. This time around, I figured we should just go for a big one: Google.
Google has a ton of apps—not just Mail, Docs, and Sheets either. They have a full repertoire of tools, called the “G Suite.” From this suite, there are two tools that I love and find incredibly easy to use. In this post, I’ll cover the first tool: Google Keep.
I’ll be the first to admit that, although I am thoroughly embedded in technology, I still love my paper solutions—whether that’s taking notes in a book, writing down thoughts on sticky notes, or even covering my office whiteboard with reminders. However, I’m discovering that the more I collaborate with others and work outside of my office walls, the more limitations there are to my beloved paper. If I forget my notebook, I have no point of reference. If I lose a sticky note, I have nearly no way of remembering what it was. If I’m not in the office, I can’t see my whiteboard’s to-do list. My growing forgetfulness has caused me to seek out digital solutions.
I love my sticky notes, so I started using the Sticky Notes app that comes with my computer (available on PCs running Windows 8+ and Macs). However, I found it frustrating that once I’m done with a note, it’s gone forever. I had no way of “looking back through the recycling bin” after I had completed the task.
One of my friends introduced me to Google Keep after she got the new Google Pixel 2. The app comes with the phone and is like a virtual board to keep notes. The app makes it easy to track projects, collaborate with others, and set reminders. Below are some of my favorite features:
Collaborators. In the same way you can invite friends to join a Google Doc or share a file in Google Drive, you can share a note. Your collaborators can edit the note for everyone, or they can make changes that just they see (such as labels, colors, reminders, and archiving).
Color Coding. Ask any of my coworkers and they’ll tell you without missing a beat: I love color-coding everything. I find the visual differentiation of notes really helps me better understand my current workload. I like to be able to see at a glance how many tasks I have split by priority, deadline, or even department. Google Keep lets you quickly and easily change the color of a note (from a palette of 12).
Labels. You can also add tags or labels to your notes. I like to use the labels to mark priority (High, Normal, Low). In the app, you can filter your view to show you things based on labels. So in my case, if I click “High Priority” it will just show me the notes I’ve marked as High Priority.
Archive. There are two ways to get rid of a note once you’re done: delete and archive. Similar to their mail client, delete sends it to the trash (which only saves notes for 7 days before deleting them permanently) and archive sends it to a sort of limbo. Notes in archive don’t show up as active, but are also not deleted permanently from your account. These notes can also be restored to your board as active with the click of a button.
If you are looking for a new solution to track notes or tasks that can be accessed across multiple devices, can be shared with others, and is easy to use, it’s definitely worth checking out Google Keep.