Pen writing a list
FEATURED,  GettingThingsDone,  How To Do Everything Better,  Listicle

How To Make A To-Do List

As we’ve discussed, a To-do list is a great way to prioritize, organize and make a start into a better, more organized life.  Its hard to get started, and harder to keep going, but with the right attitude and some easy steps, a to-do list can because the start of a better life. How can you know where you are going, if you don’t know were you are?

This is how to write a to-do list

1.  Make a short List
We previously discussed how the simple act of crossing things off your list can set you up for success.

With that in mind, start a to do list by writing down no more than 3 things.  Make this short list your Primary list: you can keep a second ongoing list with you to keep track of all the things that will eventually make it onto your Primary List.

You Secondary List is your back-burner.

The three most important tasks should go on your Primary List

Best. List. Ever.
Best. List. Ever.

2. Prioritize your Primary List
Organize your list of three items by importance.  Ask yourself questions like: ‘Which task can i accomplish right now’, or ‘Which task will make me feel accomplished for day’.  This task is number one.  After you’ve listen your tasks in order of importance, take your back-burner list and put it away.  Out of Sight, out of mind.  But you’ll need it later

3.  Use Small Paper.
Similar to the smaller-plate/smaller-dinner trick, putting your list on a post it note, or small piece of paper will physically prevent you from creating a longer list.

4.  Write the List as Actions.
Use your verbs.  Writing your tasks as action will keep you specific and prevent you from using non-general words – this can make it easier to not do something.

For example:

If you are moving, you’re list might include ‘Find Movers’.  Whelp, that’s pretty general.  An easy, quick, Action task could be ‘Call Steve and get the number of the movers he hired’.  Or ‘Call Delta Airlines and Book next week’s Flight to Düsseldorf.’  Or ‘Search Google Scholarly Articles with the terms “Trans-humanism’ for Next Week’s Article’

The More specific, the better.

5. Break It Down.
One way to keep yourself on track is to break down every task you put down into sub-tasks.  In our Movers example from above, we can ask ourselves: ‘What is the first step I need to do to Hire movers?”  This step because your most important Task on your To Do List.

Again, keep it specific:  This could be either ‘Pick Up Moving Boxes from Store’, ‘Get work covered for Moving day’, or ‘Use Sharpie to Label all Moving Boxes’

6. One at a Time.
If you have three tasks on your list, don’t even look at the last two.  Don’t worry about whats to come, focus on the task at hand.  Three tasks a day can be too much for some people, and if that’s you, go Old School: write down one task per Post-It Note and do that.

7.  Stay Distraction Free
Before you Begin writing,  silence your phone, unplug the TV, disconnect the Internet if you have to.  Maximize the will power you have at the beginning of the day, and go whole-hog.

Try an Automate your morning necessities, and for example, get breakfast ready the night before, set your Coffee on a timer so its ready.  What ever it takes.

Sticky Note Wall List To Do
Sticky Note Wall List To Do

Whats your favorite Tip for putting your To-Do List together?  Let us know in the comments below!

On Your To Do List today: Join me on for more tips
on Twitter @ItsRichyLee and on Facebook

Richard James Lee is a Canadian-born Writer, Chef and Entrepreneur. He is the Editor in Chief of Ions and Chef of Kayak SmokeHouse in Toronto. His Printed Works include Dark City Streets and White.