To-do Lists

Get started with making a to-do list by using this free lesson as your handy guide.

To-do lists

A person writing a to-do list

Deciding how to organize your activities is a personal task. What works for some people may not work for you. Try some of these basic strategies for creating to-do lists.

☑ Choose a tool

Choose a medium for your list that is comfortable and convenient. If you prefer handwriting, write it on scrap paper, index cards, or sticky notes, then put the list in a place in a convenient place where you can easily see and modify it. Alternately, write it in a document on a computer. If you like having a schedule, incorporate it into a calendar program. There are many different smartphone apps for organizing to-do lists, including the examples below.

☑ Create the list

List each task you need to accomplish as a single item on your list. If a task is complex or will take a long time, break it down into smaller components. If your list gets too big, make multiple lists divided by category, like a grocery list, a packing list, a list of cleaning chores, or a list of books to read. Cross off items as you complete them.

☑ Get more organized

If you think greater structure will help you accomplish your tasks, organize the list somehow, whether it's by priority, efficiency, or some other criteria. Create a schedule or itinerary based on your list. If you have trouble concentrating on one task because you're busy thinking about future tasks, make a list of things you want to do later but don't need to do today, then put away the list and focus on today's tasks.