Tech Trumps Friday focus: Google Keep - post-it style note taking and reminders

For the second part of my new Friday focus on the Tech Trumps I'm going to talk about Google Keep. This note taking app is something I use personally as well as professionally, and in my opinion gives the best combination of power and simplicity of all the various note taking apps.

What is Google Keep?

Google Keep is a note taking and reminder service from Google that is available on the web as well as through apps for all major smartphones. It's basic premise is a series of self-organising digital post-it notes, which you can either write as bulleted lists or as paragraphs. You can also add an image per note, or a hand drawing if you prefer.

Individual notes can be coloured coded to help your organise topics, and you can share them with other people as collaborators if you like, which update in real time. Bulleted lists can also be checked off one by one, helping you to keep on top of tasks.

You can add reminders to individual notes using Google's normal reminder service, which means that you can set up a reminder either for a set time and date, or using a location. You can also pin favourite or important notes, so they stay at the top of your screen and don't get lost.

How can you use it in education?

Google Keep is pretty strong on collaboration and investigating, but I find its best use is in planning - scoring 9 out of 10. As a teacher you're undoubtedly juggling many different classes, as well as perhaps other duties or clubs and perhaps some personal development goals as well. You can create separate Google Keep notes for each of your ongoing challenges, and use the checklist approach to make sure you're up to date with your tasks for each, marking them off as you go. The checklist approach is very powerful, and is something that is highly recommended by productivity experts. If you've not read it I'd recommend The Checklist Manifesto as a good overview of why you should be using this approach - think of it as a shopping list for getting life sorted.

Another method, and my personal favourite for using Google Keep, is to create a different note for each day with all the tasks that you have to do for that day listed on it. Prepare these at least one day in advance, often the previous evening, and then on the day in question just have to go through the days checklist doing each task in turn, and that way nothing is ever forgotten or overlooked. Once the day is done, archive your note for that day and move on to the next one. Any tasks not completed you can simply copy to the next day. Top tip - don't try to do too much! Keeping the list to between 5 and 10 items is plenty; the key to effective productivity is to do less things, but do them better.

Do you have any ideas for using Google Keep that you'd like to share? Please feel free to add them in the comments!

Would you like your own set of Tech Trumps?

You can download your own PDF version of the Tech Trumps for offline use if you wish. This PDF includes all the interactive links of the online version, but you can still browse them without an internet connection.

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