Getting things done with Google Tasks

Someone recently asked me how I manage my to-do list, so I thought I’d write up the software that I use. Fundamentally I use Google Tasks as the backend, but with extensions and apps that improve on the basic functionality in Google Tasks.


I use a couple different extensions for Chrome:
Better Google Tasks is a great Chrome extension. Just click a button in Chrome and you have instant access to all your todo items. I like the extension so much that I donated some money to the author, Chris Wiegman. You can get the Better Google Tasks extension from the Chrome Store.

– I also noticed that on the New Tab page of Chrome, seeing thumbnails of my most visited sites (Techmeme, Hacker News, Nuzzel, Google News, etc.) every time I opened a new tab inevitably led me to click over to those sites. The result? I was wasting more time surfing than I wanted. The solution is a great Chrome extension called New Tab to Tasks. It changes Chrome’s new tab page to be your todo list. That way, I get a nice little signal every time I open a tab: “Hey, remember that you’re supposed to be working on stuff, not goofing off.” Thanks to Scott Graham for writing this Chrome extension.

Oh, and one last Chrome recommendation: if you don’t want *any* distractions on Chrome’s new tab page, consider installing Empty New Tab Page, which makes the Chrome new tab page completely blank.


For Android, I use an app called Tasks. It costs $0.99, but there’s also a free version that starts showing ads after 10 days. I like the Tasks app for Android because it syncs with Google Tasks, has nice widgets, you can easily move tasks up and down, and you can indent tasks underneath each other. I only keep a few todo lists (Home, Work, Grocery, etc.), and to switch between lists you just swipe left or right. Tasks works great for me, but if you have tons of different todo lists then swiping between those lists might get old.

I can already imagine someone asking “Okay, but what about Google Keep?” I’m not opposed to Google Keep, but at this point I’ve found various third-party solutions that interoperate with Google Tasks and work well for me on Chrome and Android. Plus I already have my data in Google Tasks, so for the time being I like these solutions for Google Tasks.

30 Responses to Getting things done with Google Tasks (Leave a comment)

  1. I loved Google Tasks but not any more. I recently switched to (still looking for a better one) as I’m pretty sure that Google Tasks is on your Spring cleaning list. Why? Because you’re not updating that application, there’s no mobile app for that service, and you haven’t updated its favicon. Chrome’s bookmarks bar changed (now favicons has to be transparent) many months back and Google Tasks’ favicon didn’t change to reflect it.

  2. Interesting. But these solution are not new. There was also old software solutions for “to do list”. I remember for example the old notebooks with pencil. I still use pencil..

  3. When will Google be incorporating these Apps into the product making them obsolete?

  4. Whoa! That is cool. New tab opens tasks and I am now using Google Tasks.

  5. Hey Matt, I’m glad to hear Googlers still use Google Tasks! If you allow me to promote my creation, I have just released Welldone – – A Google Tasks client for Android (4.1+). Tasks app is very good, but I felt some things could be improved or added (e.g.: rich notification, dragging in both directions at once, drawer) so… I made my own.

  6. Incredible StartPage is also a good page that lets you easily navigate your bookmarks, apps and optionally closed tabs, frequent sites from the New Tab Page.

  7. This is a good news for modern busy people lives in big city like Jakarta..

  8. Great Post Matt. I love Google Tasks! For iOS users, GoTasks is the best app I have found, and they recently updated too! I use it every day.

  9. My concern is that a lack of official support in Android for Google Tasks – or any enhancements to Google Tasks over a number of years – might signpost an imminent closure of this useful feature. So, I’m delighted to see a senior Googler talk about Google Tasks like this. Make sure it doesn’t go away, please, Matt. (And if Google were clever, they’d incorporate it in the Android Gmail app – I’d very much like to be able to have a “make this a task” button there as well)

  10. The Tasks App for Android is not developed from Google, right ?
    I hope Google release the Tasks App, anyway, Google is the best

  11. Much as I love Google’s systems, I’ve never had a good feeling about Tasks. For some reason it just doesn’t work the way I do. I’m also concerned about the lack of official support in Tasks. If Google can kill two long-term things that I love (iGoogle and Reader), I don’t feel that tasks is safe.

    I’ve found a product called Wunderlist which works very well for me. It’s web based but will also work as a chrome app. There are iOS and Android versions of it too. It’s free except for the collaboration functions.

  12. Great! Here is how Google Task synchs with Thunderbird: google task/Thunderbird plugin

  13. I currently use Asana for task management, I really liked the idea of when you open a new tab to take you to your tasks to keep on track. There is another extension which I found which allows you to change the new tab to any url, so I am using that instead. Great tip.

  14. Right now, i prefer using Evernote app for reminder and to do list than google task.

  15. Google Tasks over a number of years – might signpost an imminent closure of this useful feature. But these solution are not new. There was also old software solutions for “to do list”.

  16. No Gantt chart? Not sure about this one Matt.

  17. I have just started to use google keep work well as all task/todo are synced between my android phone and desktop.
    seem to work well for me anyway, And it’s free!!

  18. Shouldn´t this be integrated in google calendar instead?

  19. Hi Matt,

    I have a Google related business question for you. I would post it here, but don’t wish for everyone to see it. If and when you get a moment, can you please e-mail me? Thanks and talk soon. 🙂

  20. I didn’t even know Google Tasks existed!

  21. I wish Chrome had a text search feature. If I could figure out how to do that in Chrome I might not ever use Internet Explorer again.

  22. Hi Matt..thank you very much..Google Task is the best.

  23. I tried Google Tasks and like but it keeps crashing my Chrome so I’m thinking of taking it off.

  24. Hi Matt,
    Has Better Google Tasks extension been moved, the link doesn’t seem to work at the moment.

    Great info, I haven’t thought of using google for tasks. Have just been using Reminders on a mac.

  25. Very nice Matt, i my self ran the 5k marathon last year, my wish list is do it again in 2014, as from the big guys i really would like the webmaster tools to load more smoother or faster if you manage a lots of sites and built in analytic section. So go go and looking forward for your Boston run!

  26. Any chances of an Android app that can sync reminders to Google Tasks?

  27. I still don’t understand how Google keeps GTasks as something so “old fashioned”.
    It works, but…, rather bad.
    Google should really improve this, include in Android, and push it to a new level (or the level we had with Thunderbird and Outlook in Desktop, but in mobile).