024: How To Use Google Sheets as a Simple Task Manager

Reading time: 1 minutes.


This is a simple way to just get started with managing your tasks and just having them all in one sheet. If you are overwhelmed with the notion of automation and dumping your entire workflow into a task manager, I just want you to start and stop putting it off because you “haven’t chosen one” yet.

Action this week – If you are still struggling to begin because you are using the excuse of not having an app, I want you to either create a task sheet, or use my free version (/task-list) and start your first weekly overview.

Discussed In This Episode:

  • Why you don’t need a full-blown task manager to be productive
  • Why not having a task manager app is not an excuse to not do anything
  • Step-by-step what you’ll put in your Google sheet
  • How to use this task list for delegation

Mentioned in this episode:

Other Helpful links:


Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, equipping women with actionable steps to overcome, overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I'm your host, Miranda Merten. Welcome back to another episode of Coffee Powered Systems Happy Friday. Go grab your favorite drink and come chat with me today. I'm talking about Google Sheets and task managers because isn't that our favorite subject?


I'm always asked about task management and project management apps and tools. And today I'm going to tell you how to use Google Sheets as a simple task manager.


Yes, you can use Google Sheets as a task manager.


I learned this quick hack from Nick Snapp and I thought it was such a cool concept. It's great for people that just want to get started and don't need a full blown system with all the tags and assignments and teamwork.


It's also good for people who are overwhelmed with just even the thought of a task manager or a big task management system like Asana or click up. But you still know that you need someplace to jot things down. You can't just keep it all in your head. That's who this episode is for today. And I'm going to break it down for you to show you how easy it is to get started, because that's what I want you to do, get started.


It's a simple way to just get started with managing your tasks and just having them all in one sheet.


Google Sheets is really cool for this to you because you can easily move the cells by dragging and dropping them in a certain order or just sorting the cells by date or call them.


And if you find that you keep putting off using your task manager, whether you already have one or you don't, I just want you to stop putting it off and using the excuse that you just don't have one yet because you don't need one.


Of course I love them. And you guys know I'm always testing and playing around with them and playing with the new ones. And I have one and I use it and my clients use them. So I love them. I love the automation. That's just how my brain works, though. But if you need something more simple, you know, you need a little bit more than just a pen and paper. You know, you don't really want to go full blown Asana this is going to be for you.


So let's walk through what you'll need to put in your Google spreadsheet. You can open one up right now. Just go to sheets, dot Google dot com. That should pull up your personal Google Drive if you already have one. Most people do already have a Google Drive that they can use. It's tied to your Gmail. So if you have a Gmail email account, then you have Google Drive add ons like sheets and docs. So go ahead and pull that up or follow along or take some notes.


And I also created one of these for you already and I'll leave the link down in the show notes for you. You can find it at Miranda Merten dot com forward slash task list and it's a free download.


You'll get it immediately after you put in your email and just make a copy and it opens right up into your personal drive and you can just get started filling everything in.


But I'm going to walk through the steps of creating it right now and what columns you want to put in there. Of course, you can add or change the columns to whatever suits you, but this is going to be a good way to get started and just get going.


So first of all, you're going to need seven columns and I'll go through those right now with you in the first column.


You're going to have the start date and the start date is different from a due date. I love having start dates versus a due date. Your start date is when you think you want to start, because by the time you put a due date in there, if you're not looking ahead, if you're not doing a weekly review, that's how things get pushed out or procrastinated or the ball gets dropped. So put the start date on there. If you want to start something on Thursday, maybe it's due next Thursday, the start date is going to trigger that in your mind that you need to get started on it or you need to put it in your calendar for when you actually will do the work.


The second column is going to be the due date. In some cases, that might be the same as the start date. So smaller tasks or recurring tasks. Think about if you're doing something simple, like pay your bills. If you do that on the 15th of every month, then your start date and due date might be the same day.


You know, you probably don't need a few days window to pay your bills.


The third column is going to be the name of the task. Simple enough, just put the pick a name, put the name of the task in there, for example, get final edits to the publisher.


OK, so that could be a task. You know exactly what it is and who it's for. Now, one thing I want to point out about naming your task. You want to make an action item and you want to make it descriptive as well. You don't want to put mom on your task because what is mom? When you jotted It down, you probably knew exactly what that meant, but if you're looking at it a few days later, you might look at it and say, well, what's mom mean?


So when you put tasks down and create a task, you want to make them action oriented and also detail oriented. It doesn't need to be super long. But instead of putting mom, you would put call mom for her birthday. All right.


So the fourth column is going to be the category. And when I say category, this is the bucket that it falls in because things in our personal life and our business life all fall into some kind of different category. It can be administrative tasks or client work or children and pets, whatever those categories are for you, that makes sense. That's where you're going to add those. And it's just good to have a run down. You can also group by category when you sort your list so you can kind of see how many tasks you have in that particular category.


The next column is going to be a description. You can do a quick description of it. This is actually good. If you're going to use this task for a delegation, if you're just using it for yourself, you might not need a super robust description or you might not need a description at all. But if you are using this task to help work with your assistant or delegate it to someone, a description could be helpful for them. The next column, column F is going to be the status and for the status on the template that I have for you.


I have five different items on the list. The first one is not started then in progress, response needed on hold and done. And when you click those, they are color coordinated so they switch to different colors depending on which status you have chosen. That gives you a quick overview. If there's a lot of yellow and red zone there, which would be response needed or on hold, you know that maybe you need to go back and take a look at those and see what the holdup is and what the issues are.


If you take my template, you can change those, you can change the colors, you can change the wording. And I will show you on the second and third tabs exactly how to do that if you're not familiar with data validation and conditional formatting. So that's all I used for those. I use data validation for the dropdown lists and I use conditional formatting to have the colors change depending on which one you choose.


And the last one is going to be notes or questions. And again, that one is for if you use this as a delegation list, super helpful for your assistant or for you to pop back in there and see if they have any extra questions or if you have notes on it, then you can pop those notes in there for them to make it super easy, clarifying questions, clarifying statements so that it eliminates a lot of the back and forth.


And the good thing about Google Sheets is that you can also tag or assign a comment to people now. So if you click the sell and add a comment, you can actually tag someone by their email or if they're already on the sheet, you can tag their name and let them know that they were mentioned in the comment. And you have a question or a note for them. So on my sheet, what I did is I did tab one and I created the list for you with everything, the seven columns that I just did.


What you can do actually is duplicate the tabs and you can either maybe have one just long tab if you'd like, or you can duplicate the tabs and make one for each quarter on quarter one quarter two or one for each month or one for each year. So depending on how you work or how many tasks you typically do, then you can organize them that way. Also, you want to do a weekly overview so that when you sit down for the week, you can bring them everything that you need to get done for the week and then organize, add the dates, add the statuses and prioritize as well.


You want to put the ones that you have priority for towards the top. And then when you do a daily review or a nightly review for the next day, then you can go ahead and prioritize those even more and sort them out even more and add dates. So I would suggest maybe on your weekly overview, doing a brain dump and dropping all your tasks in there and maybe doing a light prioritization and then on your daily review or your daily preview, then you can go ahead and add your start dates, due dates, and prioritize them based on the upcoming week or over the next few days.


What do you really need to get done? Lastly, make sure you bookmark the spreadsheet for easy access in your bookmarks bar. That way you don't have to fumble through your Google drive every time you're trying to find your task list, and especially if you have an assistant or someone that you're delegating these to also have them bookmark it so they can easily pull it up when needed. So that is a super easy. Way to go ahead and get started using Google Sheets as your task manager so you don't have to worry about getting into one of these other big bulky programs and adding tags and buckets and assignees and dates and automations.


If it's just too much for you, then I say keep it simple and keep it moving. Your action this week, if you are still struggling with beginning because you are using the excuse of not having an app and not having a task manager or you don't understand it. I want you to either create your own simple task sheet and Google sheets or go to Miranda Merten dot com / task list and download my free version and start your first weekly overview.


You can do five to 10 tasks to start with that, you know, you have to do this week. And that can be anything from your home life to your business to client work. It might be just the thing you need just to get started and get going and just to start getting organized.


So give it a shot.


All right. That's all I have for today.


Join me next time. Thanks for listening to Coffee Powered Systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode. Down in the show, notes are on the website at Miranda Merten Dot com. If you enjoyed this episode and would love to continue mastering your work flows and processes, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and join me here next time.

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How to Use Google Sheets as a simple task manager

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