Lists / Google Keep

A Quick Overview Of Google Keep

Mark Tasks By Colour For Sections (And Avoid Red)


One of Google Keep’s core features is the ability to add a colour to each note or list. It takes just a couple of taps to choose from eight colours: white, red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue and grey.

Productivity expert Mike Vardy recommends colour-coding your tasks for easy reference. It’s best to keep it simple. For example, Vardy uses just four colours for four sections: personal, professional, “none of the above” and “finished”. In her article on fantastic Todoist filters to boost your productivity, our own Angela Alcorn recommends a similar approach of colour-coding your tasks.

Colour psychologist Angela Wright has spoken extensively about how colour affects your behaviour. Use her advice, but you should also avoid adding tasks in red. According to scientists, the colour red can keep you from performing at your best.

If you are using colours in your Google Keep notes and lists, you should definitely look at the Category Tabs extension for Chrome. With that, you can assign a category name to any colour, which shows up as a neat listing at the top of your Google Keep app. You can also hide any unused colours (like red, if you’re following what the study above says). This only affects the web app, of course, it won’t have any effect on how Keep looks in the Android app. But hey, it’s still one of the best apps to manage to-do lists on Android.


Add Tags To Your Notes For Easy Searches

Suggested Tags:

  • @home
  • @work
  • $15-minutes
  • $30-minutes
  • $1-hour
  • #Ideas
  • #Personal Projects
  • ADL (Anti-Distraction List; See below)
  • #30-second-note (See at bottom)

Lists You Need To Create Right Now

1. Most Important Tasks (MIT) List

Each day, after reviewing your GTD Planner, add the 3 Most Important Tasks that you absolutely must finish in the day to this list.

2. Unviersal Packing List

Get started by copy and pasting the following into a Google Keep Note. Enable ‘tickboxes’. Modify according to your needs. Archive the note.

  • Undergarments (pairs)
  • Ticket
  • IDs
  • T-Shirts
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Slippers & Shoes
  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • Kindle and charger / wire
  • Shaving Kit
  • Wallet
  • Switch off everything
  • Towel


3. Shared Shopping/Grocery List

Families can use shared Keep notes for running grocery shopping.

Google Keep Shopping List

Here are three ideas:

You can also set a location reminder for a place and it will automatically pop the list up as a notification as you walk into the store. Of course, this might not work at every place in the world and location reminders can be a serious battery drain!


4. Focus with an Anti-Distraction List

Establish a rule to offload any random thought or question to Google Keep that attacks your mind while working. Form a “Fire-Forget-Delete” mini-habit to shoot off your random musings.

“When is the TV show tomorrow?”

“How much should I budget for the trip?”

“What was the name of the manager in XYZ Inc.?”

Instead of searching for the answers right away, you can come back to them when you take a break. The Voice Notes feature on Google Keep is particularly effective for catching these offhand musings. It also automatically transcribes the audio to text.


Catch All the Wisdom with Book Notes

Amazon Kindle has its book highlights. You can easily export them to any digital notebook. But what about the physical books you read? Use Google Keep and its powerful Transcribe feature.

Click on the Camera icon in Google Keep. Take a photo or import an image from your photo gallery. You can crop the part you want to grab the text from in your camera app or the photo gallery. In the new note, click on the overflow menu (three vertical dots) and choose Transcribe Text. Google’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software goes to work and the text from the image appears in the note. Click Done. Your note should now contain the entire text from the book image.

Transcribe Text

Label your notes, or color code them. For specific quotations, I also set reminders in an attempt to remember all the stuff I read through the day.

Grabbing contact details from business cards is also a common use of Google Keep’s OCR.


The Life-Changing 30-Second Note

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.
Source: Robyn Scott on Medium

  • Label these notes with #30-second-note
  • Each night review these notes and file them away appropriately in your work journal / study journal / personal journal

On Your Phone

  1. Add Widget View: @work
  2. Add Widget View: @home
  3. Add Widget View: @anywhere
  4. Add Widget View: #calls
  5. Add WIdget View: #computer
  6. Add Widget View: #errands
  7. Add Widget View: ADL

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