How to Create a To-Do List: 51+ Proven Ways

Oh, man! It happens all the time. Your friend on social media showing off all the skills that she has, whereas you scrolling through the internet for consecutive three hours desperately seeking validation of your not-so-lazy self.

It does seem a lot of work when it comes to housework, working out, making friendships, work-work, achieving goals, meeting deadlines but it isn’t as it seems so. So, creating an effective list is the first step to achieve a productive life.

Ways on how to create a to-do list  

Pick a medium. Choose a medium for your to-do list. It’s okay if you have touched the pen ten years ago, many effective apps would help you create one. Also, if you want to make your list colorful you can use some colors you can use a whiteboard to write. Do what you feel is applicable for you.

Make multiples. You can create more than one list for different situations. One can be a list that includes all the weekly projects, another one can be a list of the most important or high-impact tasks, and so on.

Keep it simple. The longer the to-do list is the more difficult is to be grounded and motivated. So, it is better to make a list of what you must do at present and then slice it in half.

Meet the most important tasks. If you are off on a to-do rampage then this should be your main motive. Start listing what has to be done at present, do not procrastinate, meet the deadlines and then relax for a bit as you can relax knowing the fact of having done a meaningful, time-sensitive task.

Start easy. Do some exercise if that motivates you, or take a bit of a nature break to give your day a bit of momentum. Start doing something that would help you make your day productive.

Break it down. Break down the task which doesn’t seem sensible and takes time and patience to get it right. It is the best way to reduce the fear, so make goals that seem more manageable and break the task into smaller ones. 

Stay specific. To get your goals done do some specific tasks like finishing them in one sitting, assuming the tasks as physical actions, etc. It also requires lots of time and peoples’ help.

Include it all. For every task add on the extra information for which it has to be done. It acts as a motivation and also drives us to complete the task at a go.

Time it. Only making a list is not enough. You need to give a time estimate to each and every task in the list. It might also help you turn that to-do list into a time schedule with specific times and places. So, this requires time management, if time is up it is up. Do not try to manage the time with other tasks.

Don’t stress. There will be certain tasks that are not done for days, months, and years. Try to figure out the reason behind that delay. Learn the steps that are necessary for completing a task.

Make it public. Try to share your to-do list with someone with whom you feel responsible and accountable. Try to make everyone involved in your plan so that they can rely on you, and you would know where you are going wrong and also they can remind you that you have tasks in your hand, in case you forget.

Start fresh. Make new lists so that the same old ideas don’t stack up. If a certain task is not done, it is really very disappointing. It is useful to make important things done within 24 hours so that you don’t spend much time doing useless work. It is important to keep motivating yourself at every point of your life.

Be flexible. During a crisis, make sure your first step should be, stop and breathe and then continue. Make space for your brain to think, also check your to-do list and concentrate more on the things that have been done, it would give you a positive outlook and a driving force to complete the task.

Be kind to yourself. Being hard on yourself will lead you nowhere. It is good to be self-disciplined, maintaining a balance, success, and health. But it is totally important to relax, enjoy vacations, pleasures, maintain relationships and hobbies. Always make time for yourself after a hectic schedule.

Jot down tasks as quickly as possible. Whenever a new task comes in, try to write it down immediately so that you don’t forget. If your app has a shortcut for a new task to be added, add them up, or if you write it on a piece of paper make sure you stick it in your to-do lists.

Assign Due dates. It is good to assign a due date, as it helps you prioritize your tasks. It is also effective as you have a clear idea of the plan how your day would be going or how your weekend would go. It also helps to manage your time efficiently. 

Revise your to-do lists daily.  First, have a look at your list for the day, and then think whether it is reasonable or not. If you have loads of tasks for a day, then you are preparing yourself for a failure. Plan it, slice the task and then try to complete it within a certain time.

Limit yourself. One might be too ambitious and complete 13 to 14 tasks in a day, but this shouldn’t be the case. One must take the challenge of completing 3 to 4 tasks.  For many, it would sound like nothing, but when you would do then it would seem like you have plenty on your plate. These challenges would make you aware of your limitations.

Put tasks on your list, not goals. There are huge differences in lists and goals. Add tasks on your list, not objectives and goals. Tasks are the basic requirement to reach an objective and then it leads to a certain goal.

Keep goals and objectives separate. Goals and objectives are something that leads to your future. What is your present is by doing the task efficiently then only you can achieve your goals and objectives. Keep your goals and objectives list away from your to-do list. Don’t confuse your goals and objectives with your day-to-day task.

Look at your to-do list often. Often look at your to-do list, it helps you stay motivated and grounded. While waking up in the morning watch the list so that you can be mentally prepared for your day. During weekends look at your list so that you can plan your coming week better. While feeling low, lost, or an urge to need a break look at the small and easy tasks in your list. 

Make your to-do list scannable. The more you look at your to-do list, the better you will plan and reap more information. Do take a long glance at your to-do list, it is always helpful. Sort the tasks with some icons where you need to give a presentation or a phone call.

Eliminate unnecessary tasks. Look through things that you are committed to happily, if you have outgrown that feeling of committing to some task then you should probably leave. Therefore, be clear about your commitments.

Take your time to plan the list. Don’t rush while making a plan list. Sit comfortably and then plan your list slowly and calmly. If you feel disturbed for a while then make a room for yourself and then think. This way you can make a clear path to your brain while making your plans and your list.

Move the important tasks to the beginning. Make sure to keep the most important tasks at the beginning of your day. So that you can ensure those tasks quickly and efficiently.

Track the recurring tasks. If you don’t know for a certain task, how much time it would take to do that work, then you can do a bit of time tracking. This helps you to plan your day better, and if you have some free time you can execute the time tracking.

Batch similar tasks. Look at your list carefully and tactfully, as if there are certain similar tasks that need to be completed then you can do it together. So, your to-do list can be easily achievable.

Define the tasks in more detail. Never try to do an entire or a heavy task in a single day. Take your time and try to break your task into smaller parts so that you can achieve it before your due date.

Do some prep work in advance. Make sure you prepare yourself for some tasks a bit early. When you have a hectic schedule then you must do some prep work so that you can be on time when it comes to deadlines.

Do some prep work in advance. Make sure you prepare yourself for some tasks a bit early. When you have a hectic schedule then you must do some prep work so that you can be on time when it comes to deadlines.

Automate the maintenance. Try to take some advantage of the technology as if you use pen and paper then it would take years to finish off. Also, use some tools so that it can maintain your task list. 

Know your task type and schedule. Make a list such that it reflects well in your day-to-day plan. Do not overstuff your list with too many tasks then you would end up doing only a few of them. Also, if some of the tasks are blocking the other tasks then it needs an execution.

Maintain a balance. A to-do list contains important as well unimportant tasks. Take care of the unimportant tasks as well because they too need to be taken care of. We often focus on the important tasks but sometimes it is necessary to go through the unimportant ones in life.

Be flexible. When you are ready with a plan and suddenly it doesn’t seem to work out well as planned. For that you need to have an alternate plan, not deviating from your goal. Only the execution should be in a different way.

Make time for transitions. Transition time should also be included in your list so that it doesn’t become too relaxing that you forget the rest of your task and try to procrastinate. You do need transition time in your day, but it should be specific and limited to some time.

Keep your assignments a bit low for a day.  It is really difficult to give an exact number to the tasks done in a day. So, have a look at your capabilities and plan your list according to your situation. But at an estimate having done 5 to 10 tasks is enough for a day.

Create a Done list. A done list is always liberating and motivating. It is the only list that would keep things going and also helps you to challenge more difficult tasks. The thought of having a done list is satisfying. It helps you to go through your strength and keeps you grounded and focused.

Make your list easy to spot. Make a list and keep it in a certain place where you can spot it easily. You don’t need to have your to-do list in front of you all the time, this would only bring about unnecessary stress. You can also set it on one side of the screen so that you can have easy access to it.

Add gaming elements to it. To make your to-do list more attractive, add some gaming elements and try to be a bit creative. Also, look for some marathon tasks in your to-do list so that you can earn batches after completing the tasks. 

Give yourself deadlines. People run behind how productive you have been in a day. So, when you are assigned and are supposed to complete it within a week then you can do the task either by working steadily throughout the week or if you are a procrastinator you would definitely try to complete it within that one night.

What if you are assigned that same task within an hour you would definitely try to jot down the important points and cut off the unnecessary things. So, try to give yourself a deadline that would make you free from stress and anxiety.

Add tasks when they are fresh. Always try to write it down after getting or hearing it out from someone. It is a wise thing to do as it makes you free from the thoughts and helps you to focus on the task at hand and also it saves you to recall from the points that you should have written for the task. It also helps you to freshly start your next day’s work.

Be comfortable while revising your to-do list.  Make changes to your list when needed, and act accordingly. There will be a possibility of thinking that you would reach all the expectations, but that’s not the scenario. It would definitely take time and for that, you need to give yourself an opportunity to change the list. 

Don’t ramp up the difficulty until you are ready.  Some tasks might be easy on the surface, but it requires a lot of mental stress and motivation. Our brain cannot function when the process is not in a certain way. So, genuinely go with baby steps and keep things simple, later you would realize where you have come.

Measure your time. It is very important to measure your time while doing a task, as its time is wealth. You are being paid for how much time you are working. It is not necessary to assign time for each task, but you should have a track of an average time spent over a week.

Visualize the bigger picture and work on the priorities accordingly. You need to have better clarity of what your goals are. A to-do list cannot be made on certain tasks that you have for a week. It is totally dependent on a goal that you would like to pursue and accordingly the tasks come in.

Structure to your to-do list. Make a difference between the important and unnecessary tasks. Prioritize the important tasks first and get them done so that you would feel relaxed.  Try to complete the priorities as early as possible and do not move to other tasks until it is done. 

Reward yourself. A failure in your plan would make you feel like not getting up. Still, you need to crush yourself from all the negativity and keep on going and try to look forward and more efficiently in dealing with the frustration and also with the plan.

Calendarize your to-do list. This is a to-do list hack. Allocate the tasks to your calendar and schedule them according to your plan. It is satisfying to know how much time is needed to give to do a certain task. Putting the task on a calendar enables no interruptions.

Need of a system. Develop your system and manage your time in order to be successful. If your target is always on the top of your to-do list then your boss would definitely like to search for anyone else who would work farther down the list every day.

To-do lists are often essential if you are going to crash an overload. When it is not used effectively then you would be tagged as an unreliable and unfocused person. You are better off when you use them effectively, as you’ll be organized and more reliable.

There are also more advantages that would lead to less stress and also you won’t forget anything unimportant as it would already be there in your to-do list. You’ll be more focused on your time and energy. High-value activities would be a priority, which would lead you to be more productive and valuable for your team.

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