"G" is for Google...and Georgia.
GTasks has come to the rescue as my favorite to-do list manager so I thought I'd share why I like it and how I use it. The practical uses for school counselors are MANY so if you are in the market for a refresh on how you keep track of your tasks, read on.
Google has both quietly crept and brazenly inserted its way into our daily vernacular. So much so that Google, which started out as a proper name, has become a noun (i.e. "The Google") and a verb (i.e. "Let me Google it."). In January I embarked on a little personal quest to switch to as many Google or Google-friendly apps as I could. So many schools are Google schools these days that I thought my switch would help me stay in-the-know while still getting my own work done.
Prior to GTasks I had been using the Reminders app included in my Apple operating system. It did the trick for most basic to-do list management but with my Google switch I set about looking for something with a few more features. I knew I wanted: 1) a desktop version of a to-do app that would sync with mobile versions, 2) an app that would integrate with Google Calendar, and 3) the ability to use the app for to-do lists AND project management (e.g. pick up dry cleaning, organize parents' 50th anniversary party AND write groundbreaking article for high impact journal).
GTasks has met all three of my requirements. The syncing across devices, the desktop and integration with Google Calendar all make my to-dos and project tasks much more visible on a daily basis. GTasks even has a Apple Watch app so I get alerted there too. Perhaps my favorite feature however, is the ability to create "subtasks." Since revamping my research game, I have about six or seven writing or research projects going at any one time and GTasks has been a huge help in breaking each one down to smaller tasks.
Like other similar apps you can color code tasks and set alerts. GTasks also has a "notes" area for each task which is helpful for additional information. You can also filter all of your tasks by list name or when they are due (e.g. today, tomorrow), and you can set up GTasks to sync with other calendars so that your events and appointments also appear as tasks. Overall, I find it to be a much more sophisticated and feature-rich tool than some of the basic reminder or to-do apps out there.
Given the number of projects and events most school counselors have going on in their day-to-day work, I can see GTasks as a flexible and helpful tool, especially if you are already using Google products in your school. I'd recommend it for grad students too! Try it and let me know what you think. I'm sure it has other benefits that I have yet to discover.
In closing out this post, I wanted to let readers know that I've taken a new faculty position at Georgia State University and will be relocating to Atlanta this summer. Given this incredible new opportunity to focus more on research, I hope to add substantively to the literature on school counselors' use of technology. You can expect that I'll continue to publish to SCOPE but may roll out some fresh, innovative ideas for its content and format in the new school year. Stay tuned!
I have received no compensation for reviewing this tool. Just sharing for the sake of all the hard-working school counselors I know out there trying to get stuff done at a busy time of year.