How to Make More Productive To-Do Lists

Two pens next to a keyboard on a professional desk

To-do lists are one of the most important tools for staying focused and organized during the workday. This tool can help you manage all of your tasks and prepare you for the day, or week, ahead of you. But are your to-do lists helping you be as productive as you can be? Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your to-do lists and being as productive as possible.

1. Keeping More Than One To-Do List

The first step in having a more productive to-do list is to actually have more than one (as crazy as that might sound). Having multiple lists can help you organize your tasks more precisely and gives you a better idea of your priorities from day to day. We recommend having a daily list, a weekly list, and a master list. The master list will be where all of your large, overarching tasks and projects live.

2. Use a Trustworthy Pen

Keeping your to-do lists digitally is not as effective as handwriting them. When writing your to-do lists you want to make sure you have a writing instrument that gives you a comfortable writing experience and doesn’t leave you with smudges or smears. Reach for the reliable G-450 Retractable Gel Pen with its weighted brass barrel and rapid dry gel ink. Or if you need more flexibility, try the M-350 Mechanical Pencil, available in three stylish barrel colors. It also features a secure metal clip so it will always by your side.

3. Break it Down

Use your to-do lists to get specific about what task exactly needs to be completed for each project. This is where your daily list comes in handy—it should act as the place where you break down your bigger weekly or even monthly projects into more manageable pieces. Writing down every task, such as specific budget sheets that need to be balanced or business phone calls that need to be returned, will make your time management more efficient and ensure that even the smallest tasks will not slip through the cracks.

4. Organize by Priority

The next step in making your to-do lists more productive is to organize the tasks from highest to lowest priority. This will make it easier for you to see what needs to be completed first and which one is the most important. Organizing tasks this way also prevents you from wasting time on assignments that do not require your immediate attention. It also allows you to just move down your list chronologically instead of scanning for which task should be checked off next.

5. Schedule Times

It can be very easy to get sucked into a project and end up spending way more time than you anticipated. When writing out a task on your to-do list, put an estimate of how much time it should take you to complete. In the long run, this will keep you on track while also making sure you are properly managing your time. These estimations should be a guideline. If a project takes longer than anticipated, it’s okay—just readjust your day and keep on going!

Being productive and managing your time every day can be a struggle, so it is important to use all the tools at your disposal to increase efficiency. To-do lists are your biggest asset and can completely transform how you manage tasks daily. Next time you write out a to-do list, we hope you utilize at least one of these tips.