How to Write an Effective To-Do ListI remember trying out my first hour-by-hour schedule to help me get things done when I was 10. Wasn’t really my thing. I’ve since retired the hourly schedule, but I still rely on a daily to-do list.

I went through the same motions every night in university. I wrote out, by hand, my to-do list for the next day, ranked by priority. Beside each task I wrote down the number of hours each task should take.

This was and still is a habit and finding a system that works has been a struggle for me. I’ve tested out a variety of methods, bought a number of books on the subject, and experimented: color-coded writing, Post-it note reminders in the bathroom, apps, Day-Timers — you name it, I’ve tried it. So I went on an adventure to figure out the most effective way not only to write my daily to-do list but to get more things done.

3 Comments to
How to Write an Effective To-Do List

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  1. I am a notorious To Do List writer! I even use pretty gel pens and make fancy bullets for each to do thinking it will be motivational, and sometimes I’ll put check boxes for when I complete of each task. Yet, it’s just another pretty piece of paper to look at in my Franklin Covey organizer when I open it to check my calendar or write a quick note.

    I must admit that I’m already a bit of a procrastinator (with a perfectionist complex…I will be someone awesome someday. Hahaha) and by the end of the day, I tend to beat myself up for not getting all these things done but I realize that those empty completion check boxes are definitely an affect to my self-disappointment for procrastinating.

    So I relate to the act of making that to do list is just an instant gratification. I will most definitely try out this other ‘method’ of making my lists and see how it can help me get more things done.

    • I have been using lists more lately and have found if I put a fun thing on my list I am more likely to get the other things done.

      I like to write down 3 things I would like to do, one thing that I really should focus on and one thing that is fun. That way I don’t feel like I am cheating myself out of the good things in life haha ;)

      After that I number them, no matter what order I wrote them down in. That helps too. That way I can jot down all the things without getting stuck on writing them in order. So I do like this:

      To Do List for Thursday:
      mop bathrooms
      research job openings
      go to gym
      play video games
      do laundry

      then I go back and prioritize so it ends up looking like this:
      3. mop bathrooms
      1. research job openings
      2. go to gym
      4. do laundry
      5. play video games

      I usually prioritize by what I feel must be done. I sometimes like to put a projected amount of time next to these so that I allow enough time for me to complete the tasks. I also put things in order based on whether or not I can do two things at one, like play video games AND do laundry.

      Adding a time limit helps me set boundaries with myself so that I don’t get stuck looking for jobs and leave out the more fun things to do. So then the list would be like this:
      3. mop bathrooms – 30 mins
      1. research job openings – 1 hour
      2. go to gym – 45 mins
      4. do laundry – between games
      5. play video games – 1 hour

      That’s just how I have been doing it lately. I feel pretty good when I go to bed at night and wake up with less anxiety, which had been a problem recently.

      Also, it’s good to have an item that could float to the next day if there is a reason you could not get it done…

  2. To Do List Agile Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.productivity.taskdo&hl=en What functionality would you like to have? If you are interested in include any type of functionality that you think it will be useful for your users, just suggest and we´re glad to work on it.

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