We’re all looking for ways to increase our productivity, manage our time better and just do things a little bit easier right?
Well, Google Keep is one of those lessor known applications that can help us small business owners in quite a few ways.
Check out the 10 tips below – all tested by me, a small business owner! And if you’ve got any tips of your own please leave them in the comments below.
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Accessing Google Keep
You can access Google Keep directly from any web browser simply by going to keep.google.com and logging into your Google account.
You can also download the Android or iOS apps from the appropriate Play Stores.
I’m not going to describe the ins and outs of Google Keep here – I’ve done that in another article! It is pretty user-friendly though and you should be able to pick it up with very little stress.
Tip #1: Create to-do notes from text messages
We all get text messages from people – clients, family members, friends – and many of them contain explict or implicit to-dos (submit a business proposal; pick up bananas from the shop; buy birthday present).
Rather than trying to remember the action; re-writing it into a task list, or even typing a new Google Keep note, simply take a screenshot of the text message and add it as an image to a new Google Keep note.
You can then add it as a reminder (by clicking on the Bell icon) if there’s a particular date and time when you’d like see this note again. You can even set a location reminder so as you pass the supermarket on your way home you get a reminder to pick up bananas!
Thanks to Google Keep’s searching capability, even though this is an image you’ll be able to find it later simply by searching on any words in the screenshot.
For advanced productivity, save the ‘can you’ search as a bookmark (see the tip on bookmarking searches) and you’ll always be able to find those texts quickly and easily!
Tip #2: Keep a list of your business goals
We’ve all got goals for our businesses haven’t we? They could be as simple as upgrading the website or as complex as expanding business operations to another state.
Whatever they are, it’s important to keep them front and centre so they don’t get lost in the day-to-day grind of doing business.
My advice is to list each goal on a separate note and pin them all so they stay at the top of the Google Keep screen in the ‘Pinned section’.
Alternatively if you’ve got a lot of tasks and the Pinned section is getting too crowded, why not colour them based on how you are progressing with them – for example green, yellow, red.
The great thing about colour-coding Google Keep notes is you can then search by those colours in future. And of course, you can always save that search as a bookmark for easy reference later on.
Tip #3: Take photos of important things when travelling
You know how when you check into a hotel, they generally want to know your car registration number? Which is fine when you’re driving your own car but if you have a hire car – argh. There’s a lot of running back and forth between lobby / car or even texting the travelling partner to ask them to check the details.
So, now when I’m travelling and have hired a car, I take a photo of the hire car registration plate and add it to Keep. Then I pin that note to the top of Google Keep for the entire time I’m travelling so it is easy to access.
If I’m travelling overseas I also take photos of my passport, insurance policy details and any other important paperwork just in case.
Tip #4: Record quotes and thoughts whilst at a conference
I tend to use my laptop for this, rather than trying to tap out large amounts of text on a mobile (or even tablet) sized keyboard.
It’s a great way to consolidate quotes from speakers as well as my own thoughts in a format that can be easily shared and searched – as opposed to writing it down in a notebook.
I usually put the conference or event name down as the title of the note and then just type more details in the body of the note. You can have approximately 19,570 characters in a note so there’s plenty of space for writing thoughts and quotes from speakers.
Add labels, text formatting, and colours etc as you wish. And at the end of the conference, select all the Google Keep notes and upload them to Google Docs. Now you’ve got a consolidated reference as well as individual Google Keep notes.
Tip #5: Mark up photos
As mentioned in Tip #4 I’ll often take photos at a conference and mark them up in Google Keep for further reference or for use on return to the office.
That marked up image can also be shared with other people via email, text message or other apps (depending on your phone and the apps that you’ve installed). You can also choose to add other people (like your virtual assistant for example) to the Google Keep note so they can edit the image or photo as well.
You will need either your mobile, tablet or a touch sensitive laptop to mark up photos on Google Keep.
Tip #6: Sync messages between your computer and phone
Got a really long WhatsApp or text message to send and really don’t want to use your phone’s keyboard? Or maybe you’ve got an image on your computer that you’d like on your phone?
Just type your message up in Google Keep using your computer keyboard. It will sync automatically to your phone.
Then use the Send feature to send the message through text / WhatsApp etc. Or if it’s just something you want on your phone, keep it as a Note for yourself. To sync images between my computer and phone, I actually use Google Photos but if that’s not possible for you, just add the image to a Google Keep note on your computer and it will sync automatically to your phone for later use.
Tip #7: Record ideas on the fly
This is probably my biggest use of Google Keep. Because it is so simple and easy to use, I never have to worry about trying to remember any random thoughts. I simply dictate or type my idea, add a label if I wish and my thought is instantly saved and synced across my devices.
To dictate an idea click on the microphone icon and start talking. Google Keep will create an audio recording as well as transcribing the words into text in the Google Keep note.
Got your hands full? Just say “Ok Google take a note” (if you’ve got an Android phone or access to a Google Home or Mini) and you can create a Google Keep note straight away.
To hear your (non-archived) notes simply say “Ok Google what are my notes?” and Google will read back all your note details.
Tip #8: Record tasks you’ve asked other people to do
In the title, I put the day I assigned the task, the name of the person and a brief reminder of what they’re doing. The body might have additional notes about the task or project. For me this is usually things I’ve asked my virtual assistant to do, but you might do this for anyone working with you on a project or task.
Then I add a reminder to the note and archive it. On the reminder date, the note will pop up from archives into the main part of Google Keep and I’ll get a notification on my phone, reminding me that this is a task I need to follow up on.
Tip #9: Use Google Keep as a reference library
Often when I’m working I’ll come across web articles that I either want to read at a later stage or know I’ll want to refer to later on.
Rather than keeping multiple tabs open in my web browser I use the Google Keep Chrome Extension to save these articles into Google Keep for access at a later time.
If I’m on my phone when I find the article, then I share it to Google Keep using the Share feature in the Chrome Browser menu options.
(By the way, I snapped this following image on my phone, added it to Google Keep and then took a screenshot from my computer – winning!)
Tip #10: Bookmarking part of a webpage
Following on from Tip #9: Use Google Keep as a reference library, sometimes you don’t want a link to the full webpage, but you do want to save a portion of it.
- Make sure you have the Google Keep Chrome extension installed.
- Select the content on the webpage that you want to keep.
- Right-click and then select Save selection to Keep. If you’re saving an image, then select Save image to Keep.
4. A new Google Keep note will appear with the highlighted information as well as a link to the webpage. You can now add a title, more notes, and a label. To add colours and reminders you’ll need to go to https://keep.google.com
Don’t worry if you mainly use Google Keep via the mobile app. You can still highlight and share web articles that you access on your phone.
Simply use either the Share feature in the Chrome Browser menu (as per Tip #9) or highlight the text you want to keep, click on Share and select the Google Keep option.
Not a Way to Use Google Keep, but a great tip: Save Google Keep searches in your browser
One of the weaknesses of Google Keep is its inability to actually save searches – for example, every time you want to find all notes that have images AND the word ‘client’ you need to do that search from scratch.
However, through the magic of bookmarks you can set up different searches and then save them as browser bookmarks for future use.
- Open https://keep.google.com
- Set up your search parameter(s).
- Click on the favourites icon in your browser window to save this URL as a bookmark / favourite.
- Title the bookmark whatever you want and place it on the bookmarks bar or in a folder. Now, whenever you want to access that particular note all you have to do is click on the bookmark!
You can also set up your browser so that particular bookmark (or bookmarks) opens in separate Tabs whenever you open your browser – a great way to bring up to-dos or notes that relate to a particular project, as soon as you open your browser.
And if you use Chrome as your laptop and mobile browser you can access these saved searches on your mobile too.
Want more personalised help?
I hope this article was of assistance to you, but if you want more personalised help then why not get in touch?
I specialise in helping small business owners just like you work better with Google Workspace so you can save time and money by streamlining your business processes; increasing your productivity; and improving client and employee comunications.