Six Google Keep Tips to Help Get Your Life Under Control

By Andrew Tarantola on at

With all the stuff going on in your life, it's a wonder you get anything done at all. But with the help of Google's cloud-connected notepad and these time-saving shortcuts, you can get your affairs in order and knock out that entire To-Do list before lunch.

In essence, Google Keep is a network-connected notepad app. You write stuff down, it saves your scribblings to the cloud for safe storage and potential retrieval from a different device. Easy, right? But it's how Keep organises your archives that makes it so helpful.


Set Location-Based Reminders

6 Google Keep Tips To Help Get Your Life Under Control

You can make a the most exhaustive shopping list you want, but it's not going to do you any good if you keep forgetting to stop by the supermarket on your way home from work. Google Keep's Reminder function augments your spotty memory by popping not only chronologically based task reminders, either as specific times or just "tomorrow afternoon" or with location-based reminders. By leveraging your GPS signal and Google Now functionality, Keep can not only remember what you need to buy, but even tell you when you're walking past somewhere you can buy it.


Say What You Mean

6 Google Keep Tips To Help Get Your Life Under Control

The bus is packed tighter than a Tokyo train car. You can barely get your phone out of your pocket amid the scrum of commuters, much less collect the requisite two thumbs to type with. So how are you going to remember your idea for the next great novel now? With your brain? What is this, the Stone Age?

Just use the one hand you have free to tap the microphone icon at the top of the screen and start talking. People will look at you a bit funny because you're, you know, speaking out loud on public transport – but whatever, you've got the next great novel in your hands.

Best of all, even if Keep doesn't transcribe your idea perfectly, it automatically saves and attaches the original audio file so you can go back to your verbal notes later. And if you ever need a local copy of that voice note, you can simply access your Keep account through a desktop browser, select the note you want and right-click the audio link to download it. The same can be done for a note's permalink.


ToDo or Not ToDo, That Is the Question

6 Google Keep Tips To Help Get Your Life Under Control

So you've managed to park the car and make your frazzled way into the shop to hunt down that list of items you need. While you'll have to search the aisles yourself, Keep will at least help track what you've already got in the cart by turning that unformatted note into an active checklist.

Just enter the note you want converted, click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the screen and select "Show Checkboxes." Boom— instant ToDo list. And as a checklist, as soon as you mark the individual item as completed, Keep will archive it within the note thereby decluttering the list of active tasks and helping you stay on schedule.


Collaborate Faster

6 Google Keep Tips To Help Get Your Life Under Control

It's all well and good that your ideas, notes, and thoughts are safely backed up in an external brain somewhere amid Google's service but they'll only do as much good as if they were still locked away in your noggin if they stay there. To allow your ideas to truly come to life, you'll need some means of sharing them with the world—or at least your friends, family, and co-workers. Luckily, Keep can deliver your notes, task lists, and shopping itineraries almost anywhere in the digital world. This includes obvious options like email, Dropbox, and Evernote as well as SMS — even Facebook and Flipboard if you are so motivated.

And speaking of sending stuff where you want it, the popular "note to self" feature – the one where you simply state, "Note to self, [blah, blah, whatever you needed to tell yourself, blah, blah]" – natively only sends this note to your email inbox. That's great, unless you want to save these personal voicemails anywhere else. Luckily you can easily swap the default association from Gmail to Keep by simply opening Keep and starting a new voice note with "Note to self". If this is the first time you've used voice notes, Android will prompt you to choose a default program association — just click Keep. If the dialogue box doesn't pop, you'll have to clear your OS preferences and retry the process.


Work that Widget

Sometimes, the best ideas come in a flash. Problem is, they also tend to leave your head just as quickly. So even if you've got both hands free on your crowded bus, the in the time it takes to navigate through your lock screen and app drawer just to open Keep, that idea could sneak out through your ears. And then where will you be? You'll be riding a bus, like a schmuck, with your phone in your hands and no idea for the great novel in your head.

Don't be that guy on the bus, install the Keep widget on your mobile device's home screen instead. It provides you the same search, input (both voice and touch), camera, and list-making options on the main app's control panel but at least three clicks faster.



Do you have any tips or tricks for Google Keep that you didn't see here? If so, let us know in the discussion below!