Increase your credibility at work by never forgetting any task or follow-up action items.
If you want to succeed professionally, you need to have a good productivity system. Depending on your profession, you might need a comprehensive one, or a simple one might suffice.
When I was strictly a software engineer, I didn’t need a comprehensive one. My weeks used to be planned beforehand, so I just put all my tasks on ClickUp, and I was good to go.
However, since I transitioned to an Engineering Manager role, my workflow totally changed. Countless things come up every day that I either need to get done, talk to people about, or follow up on later.
The number of meetings I have is almost 10x the amount I had as a software engineer. That required me to have a system that tracks all my meeting notes and aggregates all action items.
Similarly, the transition to the job also meant a huge influx of emails that require my attention. Again, I needed a good system to turn emails into tasks.
Let me walk you through how I settled into a system that has been working really well for the past couple of weeks.
⁉️ What is Google Workspace?
My company uses the Google suite or Google Workspace. It essentially consists of these apps:
- Google Calendar
- Google Docs
- Google Drive
- Google Sheets
Most of my work as an engineering manager stays in one of these apps.
I have found an integrated task management system that works across all Google apps and helps consolidate all the work that needs to be done.
📆 Google Calendar Event Meeting Notes
I am working remotely, permanently.
That means more meetings than in person and also greater accountability. I had to find a way to make sure every meeting has associated meeting notes and every action item ends up in my task management system.
Here’s what I do to make sure every meeting has meeting notes and proper action items to follow up on:
- Add a Google doc to every meeting I create
- If I am not the creator, ask the creator of the meeting to attach a doc
Now, I know that every meeting on my calendar has a dedicated document to take meeting notes.
Next, how do I store all these documents? More importantly, how do I keep track of action items across all these different documents?
🗂️ Meeting Notes Folder in Google Drive
The first thing I do once the meeting note is created is move the file to a dedicated “Meeting Notes” folder in Google Drive. It’s really easy to do this using the shortcut beside the Google Doc document name.
It’s really easy to search on Google Drive when I know that all my meeting notes always stay in the same folder.
✅ Create Tasks From Action Items
As you can see in the screenshot above, every meeting note has a section for action items.
If your meeting does not have action items, most probably the meeting wasn’t necessary.
Now, of course, you could just keep action items and move on with your day. The problem with that is you will have 20 tabs open as you go to different meetings throughout the day. So, all your action items will be scattered all over.
We don’t want that. We want all our tasks in one place.
Thanks to Google Tasks, you can easily turn action items into tasks.
To the left of your action item checkbox, there’s a button you can click that will turn the action item into a Google task.
You can do this for all the action items from different documents. All of them will end up in the same Google Task section. You can look at all your tasks from most Google apps — just look at the right-hand bar and search for the Google Tasks icon.
✔ Create Tasks From Any Google App
All your Google apps will give you quick access to all your tasks through the right-hand sidebar.
You can quickly create a task during any of these flows:
- While you are reviewing Google Slides
- While you are reviewing some documents on Google Docs
- While you are looking at a spreadsheet using Google Sheets
Across all Google apps, you can start creating tasks, and Google will automatically pull together all of these in your task view. From there, you can either knock tasks out or move all of them to some external task management system.
📧 Turn Emails into Google Tasks
If you were paying attention, you must have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about Gmail.
Similar to other Google apps, you can see all your tasks on Gmail using the right-hand sidebar.
As you are browsing through emails, you can quickly jot down any follow-up task you have.
Alternatively, you can use the “Add Task” quick action on the top toolbar of every email on Gmail. Using this, you can quickly create a task and Google will automatically link the email to the task.
With this system in place, you can quickly browse through all your emails at once, and quickly create an action item using the top action bar for future processing.
🤖 An Integrated Productivity System
There you go, folks!
With this system, you can consolidate tasks from all across the Google ecosystem — Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Gmail.
Once all your tasks are in one place, you can easily process them and cross them off.
Most importantly, this way you can be sure that you are not missing anything.
By delegating the “remembering” part of task management to this system, you can only worry about the execution.
I hope you found this a valuable read and have some takeaways that you can go ahead and implement in your wonderful lives.
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