How to Write an Effective To-Do List + Free To-Do List Template

To-do lists havе been around for a long time and have proven to be one of the most efficient ways to increase one’s productivity. In fact, if you start asking around, you will find out that the vast majority of people are using them on a daily basis or at least from time to time as a way of managing workload and flow. 

The key to writing a to-do list, however, is knowing how to do it properly. Some people use them much more efficiency than others and that’s because they know how to write a to-do list the right way. 

This is what we will talk about in the following article – how to write a to-do list in a way that will absolutely ensure that your efficiency will increase. 


What are the Benefits of Making a To-Do List?


Before we get down to business and explain how to write a to-do list effectively, let’s explore the benefits of doing so. 


Writing a to-do list will:


  • Make us worry about the things we have helft uncompleted and thus do them.
  • Lighten our minds.
  • Bring comfort in all that we have to accomplish or have already accomplished.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Help us meet deadlines.
  • Provide us with an overview of the workload and the project.
  • Provide us with a structure we can follow. 


Ultimately, the human brain enjoys tidiness, organization and for things to be crossed off a list. This means that naturally, our brain starts stressing over things that must be done. Writing a to-do list makes us worried, anxious and ready to go back and finish the task. Seeing something left on a long-list of duties creates a sense of incompleteness which tricks us into thinking we’re not done yet. Therefore, if you choose to procrastinate or watch cat videos on YouTube instead of working on the task, you will feel uneasy, unaccomplished and won’t enjoy it as much as you think. You will quickly go back to your list and start doing the task in order to remove that gut feeling.


a to do list


How to Write a To-Do List Effectively:


Let’s go back to our initial topic of conversation, which is how to write a to-do list the right way. Below are four tips which will help you master the art of crafting the perfect to-do list:


  • Write Down Everything

You have a couple of action items to complete? There are several tasks you should submit by the end of the week? Write a to-do list consisting of those tasks, So far, so good. The key is, however, to write down as many details as possible, while composing your to-do list. Write everything down! Every little detail is important and every little detail will help you understand and do things quickly. 

Not just that but wiring down your daily responsibilities, along with all the small-tasks that go with them will help you understand if you have too much on your plate. If your daily to-do list is unreasonable, you can ask a colleague to assist you or talk to your manager to delegate tasks. 

If you’re a beginner at writing to-do lists, you can start by a simple exercise – write down everything you do in your day. From waking up and going for a coffee, to completing a task or spending one hour watching YouTube videos – write it all down. This way, at the end of the day, you will have a clear picture of what you accomplished, what wasted too much of your time and what can be improved. This simple exercise is great for people who lack time management techniques or want to improve their work productivity


  • Time Management is Your Best Friend

The key to writing an effective to-do list is to estimate the time required to complete a task or a project. By combining a task with an estimated time it would take you to complete, your day will be automatically ten times more productive. Ask yourself what is the maximum amount of time you need to finish it. A general rule is to put more than not enough. By doing so, you will feel less rushed by time and definitely not late on your schedule. If you overestimate your abilities, you might experience high levels of employee burnout which is certainly not good for your professional life. 


  • Utilize a Tool

Technology is deeply rooted into our everyday professional (and personal, of course) lives. At work, you are probably using at least a couple of different tools to help you do your job and complete your tasks. Well, technology can also help you with writing a to-do list. Not just that but note-taking apps, task management tools, meeting management tools and time-management tools, your to-do lists will come with a nice set of possibilities that allow you to set reminders, receive notifications or alerts if, for instance, a deadline is approaching. 

So, next time when you’re composing a to-do list for your day, why not use Google Keep? You  can customize it, add pictures, links, files – whatever you need to complete that to-do list in time.


  • The Right Order is as Important as the List Itself

This tip on how to write a to-do list is associated with how you plan your daily schedule. When you get your assignments and you know what you’re supposed to do today, you have to consider a few important things before transferring everything on your to-do list. Are you a morning person? Are you more focused in the afternoon or in the morning? Is it wise to allocate the most important task for when you’re back from your lunch break? Usually, people like to “eat the frog” which means starting with the most challenging or creative task before moving on to the shorter and more automatic tasks. If you’re that type of person too, start your to-do list with the most difficult and important task you have. 

Knowing your productivity levels at each time during the working day will help you compose a highly effective to-do list. This is a very useful suggestion for managers or team leaders who are about to add a team meeting to their to-do list. Investigate when is the best time to have a meeting according to findings on employees’ productivity levels and send an invitation only when absolutely sure about the time. For example, a Monday morning meeting scheduled for one hour might not be the best thing you want to see on your to-do list.


a to-do list


What to Remember if You Want to Write a To-Do List Effectively?

Let’s try to summarize some of the most essential elements of composing an effective to-do list.


  • Note main tasks and responsibilities, along with detailed explanations or sub-tasks that involve the completion of the main task.
  • Split long tasks into smaller. 
  • Allocate time to each specific task. 
  • Start your to-do list with the most difficult or urgent tasks
  • Be as specific as you can while writing down your tasks.
  • Utilize a software that will send you alerts and reminders about tasks.
  • Consider your most productive times of the day when allocating time to tasks on your to-do list.


Final Words

Writing a to-do list is easy. Writing an effective to-do list, however, requires something extra. The above-mentioned guide on how to write an effective to do list will help you become a master of your day. Following these tips will also help you visualize your day, make changes if needed and improve your work productivity. 

Of course, to-do lists evolve over time and are flexible. You can always add or delete items from your to-do list to help you picture the progress of your day. 

Scratching a completed task from your list has got to be one of the most satisfying things in life. You have worked so hard and you can take a moment to give yourself a high five! Good luck with your to-do lists and tasks! 


To-Do List Template


____________’s Daily To-Do List




Hi, everyone! I'm a passionate content writer with keen interest in social media, technology, innovation and business solutions. I am part of the team of Momibt - a revolutionary meeting management software designed to help businesses boost the productivity and efficiency of their meetings! Cheers!

🔥 FREE Meeting Optimization Tool! 🔥
This is default text for notification bar