Tips for Making Better To-Do Lists

April 18, 2022

This article is from Indeed. View their article at the bottom.

Making better to-do lists can help you commit to completing tasks and increasing workplace productivity. In this article, we explain the importance of managing a to-do list and better ways of managing your to-do list.

Related: 5 Key Tips for Improving Your Time Management Skills

Why is it important to effectively manage a to-do list?

Managing a to-do list can make it easier to complete time-sensitive tasks. Below are some key benefits of managing your to-do list:

  • A to-do list helps you remember. You can make it easier to remember everything you need to by keeping a detailed to-do list.
  • You can set priorities. After listing all your tasks, you can easily see what your priorities should be.
  • Your to-do list can help you coordinate similar tasks. For example, if you have to collect a document from your manager and deliver it to someone else, these tasks can be grouped together.
  • You can track your work progress. At the end of your day, you can look at your list and know exactly how much work you completed.
  • It helps relieve anxiety. Anxiety and stress can make it easier to forget priorities, which makes it especially important to stay organized and reduce as much stress as possible.

12 better ways of managing a to-do list

Everyone has their own work style, but many people benefit from organizing their tasks into a to-do list. Here are 12 effective ways to manage your to-do list.

1. Divide your to-do list into sections

To actually manage your to-do list, it helps to be mindful of how achievable the tasks you include are. Dividing the list into sections can help you focus your effort and identify what is possible in the timeframe of your day. Consider dividing your to-do list into three sections. First, write the events, calls and meetings you attend that day. In the second section, include things you hope will accomplish during meetings, and on the third list, include things that need to be done but don’t get a slot in your work calendar.

2. Use the “SUG” method

Having a clear idea of what your biggest priorities in the workplace are can help you keep your to-do list from becoming too long. The “SUG” method helps you create a manageable to-do list. Before composing your list, consider:

  • Seriousness: Take time to determine important tasks you need to complete in a day.
  • Urgency: Think about how long a task could take to complete.
  • Growth: Understand the effects that could occur if you wait too long to complete a task

3. Create different to-do lists for tasks, projects and goals

You can create the best list of things you have to do daily by separating your tasks, goals and projects. Writing a list of tasks may help to break down extensive projects, and you can delegate some tasks to others if it’s an informed decision.

A goal list is also important, as it enables you to test whether the things you are handling day-to-day are in line with the tasks you want to complete on time.

4. Share your to-do list publicly

External accountability works well for many people in their workplaces. If you perform best when your accomplishments are more public, it may help to create a to-do list that you can share with others. This method can be especially helpful to entrepreneurs, freelancers and others who work under no supervision.

Sending weekly updates to your friends or coworkers could help you improve your productivity at work. In addition, you may find it easier to achieve your goals if you can publicly manage a to-do list of your priorities.

5. Design your day

Instead of focusing on how you can manage time, take time to design your day. Build a structure that works for you and makes your focus and needs clear during a given time. This can even help you set appropriate boundaries in the workplace. If your schedule is clear to others, then they have an easier time understanding how and when to help you.

For example, organizing your tasks into quadrants may work well for you. Include your daily tasks in a to-do list and divide them into representative tasks, business operations, development projects and transactional tasks. When you’re making your list, identify the tasks that energize you and place them strategically to boost your productivity.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Make a list of completed items

In addition to creating a list of what you need to accomplish, consider also listing what you have already completed. Making a list of what you’re done with can help you track measurable progress and move on to the next step. It can also boost your self-esteem over time by allowing you to see how productive you are at work.

7. Include things you love to do

When making a to-do list, consider adding some things you find exciting. If your to-do list is full of tedious tasks, be sure to include one or two things you genuinely enjoy doing that you can handle easily and fit into your workday.

8. Limit the tasks you plan to complete in a day

When you first start improving your to-do list, focus on completing three to five important tasks daily and delivering quality results. You can also adjust your to-do list to have only the tasks you plan to complete in that day. This can help keep you from stressing over too many tasks that may be difficult to handle once you get to know your maximum limit.

The more you complete your tasks for that day, the better you can understand how to manage your to-do list. This can also help you develop a more positive outlook that improves your workplace productivity.

Related: Time Management Training: Tips and Best Practices

9. Revise your list every day

When you start your day at work, assess whether you know what is on your to-do list by revising it. If you realize you have many tasks that day you may not complete, focus on your biggest priorities. Also, prepare yourself on how you can handle all the tasks on your list that day.

10. Create a list of weekly projects

There are many things on your list that you might want to complete by the end of the week. This is why it’s helpful to make a list of priorities to complete weekly. A master list can help you narrow down each task so that you are not losing focus by always having to consider your bigger, long-term goals. For example, you might accomplish tasks such as gaining business loans, contacting a client or starting a new account at work within a week’s time.

11. Keep time

Measuring time is a strategy to use when managing your to-do list. Try to determine the amount of time you may need to complete a task. For example, you may need to achieve the same results in a shorter period on some days if you want to accomplish all tasks on your to-do list for a certain week.

Keeping track of time can also help you know the tasks you can complete in a week. If you know roughly how long you need to accomplish a certain type of task, you can make it easier to organize your time to ensure you’re able to complete that task.

“12 Tips for Making Better to-Do Lists.” Indeed Career Guide, 9 Dec. 2021,

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