5 ways to create effective to-do lists

about.me has teamed up with moo.com – an ecommerce print company that combines great design with tech to help businesses of all sizes look their best. Get more done and be more productive with MOO’s tips and tricks for creating effective to-do lists – sometimes you just can’t beat a good old-fashioned pen and paper.

1. Get academic with the Ivy Lee method

Time management expert James Clear calls the Ivy Lee Method “the daily routine experts recommend for peak productivity.” We call it the $400,000 technique. Why? Ivy Lee, the man who founded the method, taught it to Charles Schwab and his executives in 1918— and told them to pay whatever it was worth. Three months later, Lee had a check for $25,000. That’s the equivalent of $400,000 now!

You’re gonna want to learn this. And it’s dead simple. Here’s what you do:

– Write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow.

– Rank those items in order of importance.

– Work on your first item until it’s finished. Then, move onto the next.

– When the day is done, transfer unfinished items to a new list of tasks for tomorrow.

– Repeat.

James Clear has a theory about why this method works: it’s simple, forces you to prioritize tasks, and makes it easy for you to single task. Boom. To-do list conquered.

2. Believe the hype with Bullet Journalling

This is one of the newer methods out there – and one of the most Instagram-worthy too. Millions of people across the world swear that this is the most flexible and efficient system for getting things done – and they can’t all be wrong, right?

Consisting of a basic framework, this method uses four core modules to collect and organize tasks and notes. The four modules are The Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log. You build your lists around your priorities, and have a simple way to demarcate different kinds of notes. As well as the modular framework, bullet journalling provides you with a range of signifiers that allow you to mark, divide and change tasks up as you wish. Get your highlighters out!

3. Go rogue with the notecard to-do list

If you love crafts—or just pretty colors—this is the method for you. Simply grab a pen and start writing to-dos on different colored notecards. The blog Small Stuff Counts suggests that you give each notecard one task.

Next, shuffle them up to determine the order in which they’ll be completed. That way, you can’t avoid the stuff that you hate— hitting inbox zero might end up on top! Alternatively, you can sort your to-dos by priority, or arrange them into smaller stacks to vanquish on different days of the week.

When you accomplish something on your list, crumple up that notecard and toss it in the trash. Bonus points if it has one of those little basketball hoops. See? You can trick yourself into making task-doing a game!


4. Track progress with the Kanban method

This method organizes tasks according to their level of progress: to-do, doing, and done. To get started, find a place where you can stick your thoughts.

You can get as crazy or simple with this as you want. Into color coding? Go for it. Hate list-making enough already? Stick with this.

As Andrew Kunesh notes on the Zapier website, “Kanban is great for teams and those who like to see the big picture at a glance. When using the method, you’ll have all of your tasks, due dates, and task progress in front of you, so there’s nothing keeping you from diving right into your work.”

5. The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, states that around eighty percent of results come from only twenty percent of the effort. Or, to put it another way, most of the progress towards your goals comes from a few accomplishments.

Based on that principle, the Harvard Business Review recommends that you only focus on one of your six priorities for the day. Then, do that task alone for ninety minutes. If you find yourself drawn to a particularly cute cat video, write down the task again — essentially slapping yourself on the wrist with a reminder to get it done.

Looking for a new notebook to help you get organized? Try MOO’s new Hardcover Notebook. With lay-flat binding and 160 pages of Munken Kristall paper, it’s smart and beautiful.

Want more like this? Head over to the MOO blog for inspirational ideas and business tips.

6 responses to 5 ways to create effective to-do lists

  1. Radislav Nahaba

    Why do people complicate things? Lol Simple take a piece of paper and write all tasks for tomorrow in order of priorities. Then DO IT!:)

    P.S. Good luck and do not procrastinate.

  2. The decision-making competences PRACTICAL APPROACH: Now many people write about my intention from a long-established method called. bűvköréből decision-making competence: The concrete, the so-called. “5M” method, which is in English and has been proven effective method used in the Japanese case! What is it? Namely, that anyone living in the field before any decision is what kind of emergency situation, then this is a proven method to recommend apply. In detail: ask yourself the question – and no one is around you – why? If you are serious about this then you throw paper because thus you will be able to identify with the real problems with! When Replied yourself the first question, go on with your answer is that you put the question again as yourself, why? And so it goes on the 5 -th level, and you get the real thing, a real email reply! And once freed from the pressure of it! If you do not believe me, you do a practical test, believe me it’s worth, I’m sure just be with yourself – at least for once – honest!
    The real problem after identification the next step would be to (be) that these alternatives formulate where you can compare the possible alternatives in light of the well-known “SWOT” analysis (GY = Weaknesses, E = Strengths,, L = Opportunities, V = Threats) .vagyis not to say we will examine what can not, and why. how not to be, but just the opposite … so what can be, and why. how can! Now that the major difference between man and man respectively. between towns and villages … without delving further !.

  3. Great tips! Bullet works for me at work! At home I prioritize by a method close enough with Ivy Lee method.

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