Sunday, February 16, 2014

Android Users: Build Your To-Do List With Your Voice

Several years ago, I authored a post entitled "Play from Your Strengths." One sentence from that post states "...Peter Drucker talks of making strengths productive, and doing so in a such a way that it makes weaknesses irrelevant."

Smartphones offer many great features. Having to type on a piece of glass with two thumbs doesn't happen to be one of them. All the while, voice recognition is becoming more accurate and more powerful. In many ways, the strength of voice recognition is making the weakness of two-thumbs-on-a-piece-of-glass input irrelevant.

While mobile devices which feature electronic to-do lists have been around for nearly 20 years, input has been cumbersome. Input in a paper memo pad has been far faster and easier. Advances in the area of voice input are tipping the scales.

In this post, iPhone owners who use Toodledo learned how they can use Siri's "remind me" command to enter tasks into Toodledo. Today's post is for Android owners. We examine how to use Google Now, to enter tasks into Toodledo. For those new to Google Now (also known as "Google Search"), this video shows over 40 examples of what it can do:



You will notice a "remind me" command is also available in Google Now, but that's not the valuable one for me. I generally don't want audible notification at a particular time. Instead, what I want is a vehicle to simply get a task onto my to-do list as quickly as possible. For that, I use the command "Note to self."

Create a Toodledo Account and Get the App
Toodledo is a free, web-based to-do list. I have written about it often. If you are new to Toodledo, start by reading this post. That post is the first in a six-part series examining Toodledo. After created your account, download the official Toodledo app from the Google Play Store.

Note to Self
"Note to self" allows me to talk, and Google Now translates my speech into text and gives me an option of where to send my message. The options you have will vary according to the apps installed on your device. Gmail will appear as one of the options. If you have installed Evernote, it will appear as one of the options. If you have downloaded Toodledo, it also appears as an option.

After choosing Toodledo as your "note to self" option, you will be presented with an option to to use it as your choice "just this once" or "always." Choose "always."

The task you entered with the "note to self" option now appears in your Toodledo app. Mine is automatically assigned a start date and due date of today, because I established those options in my settings. When the Toodledo app syncs with the "cloud," and you refresh Toodledo on your computer, the new task appears there also.

What if You Use a Different App?
Many apps sync with Toodledo, but do not offer the same integration with Google Now. For example, I had used an excellent app called The Ultimate To-Do List to sync with Toodledo. If you are using an app which does not allow the option for sending Google Now's "note to self" to your to-do list, read this post. It explains how to use a service called "If This Then That" and your Gmail account to send your voice input to Toodledo.

Organization Made Easy
We do what is easy; that's human nature. If keeping a to-do list is cumbersome, the practice will be short-lived. If entering tasks in a digital system is hard, we are going to wind up writing on Post-It notes and sticking them to our phones.

Imagine thinking of something you need to do, tapping once on your phone, speaking the task, and now being able to forget about it. Your phone has now trapped the task on your to-do list, with a start and due date of today. You don't have to remember the task. You will never have to re-write that task. You will never have to wonder on which envelope, napkin, or Post-It you wrote your commitment. All of your to-dos are in one place. Organization just got easier.


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