10 Simple Ways to Make Better To-Do Lists
PC Magazine|May 2021
How effective is your to-do list? Does it help you plan your day and nudge you to prioritize the right tasks? Or is it a never-ending inventory of tasks you feel guilty for not having done yet, and now you’re not going to do any of them? A good to-do list should serve you. You should not be at its mercy.
JILL DUFFY

A practical to-do list sets you off in the right direction each day and helps you focus on the tasks that are most important to you. With the right strategies, a to-do list can help you achieve larger goals, too. Here’s what you need to know to make your to-do list work for you.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT APP (OR PAPER)

The first step in making a better to-do list is deciding where to keep it. You could certainly create one in a to-do list app, but there’s nothing wrong with paper, if it works for you! A simple spreadsheet or word processing document is fine, too.

Apps for keeping to-do lists have several advantages over paper, however, and it’s good to at least know what they are:

• Apps have built-in reminders.

• It’s easier to edit a digital list than one written in ink.

• You can’t lose a digital list that’s saved to the cloud.

• Apps let you quickly change the view of your tasks to sort them by priority, by due date, or alphabetically.

• Digital to-do lists can be collaborative, meaning you can assign tasks to other people and get notified when they complete them.

• Some to-do list apps include features that might motivate you, such as a beautiful design or a gamification element.

There are many to-do list apps to choose from. You could lose an entire day exploring all the options. I’ve tested dozens of them, and the ones I recommend most are Todoist, Asana, and Things.

A few other options are great in certain circumstances: Google Tasks for its Google Workspace integration, Microsoft To Do if you use Office or Windows 10, Habitica if you like gamification, OmniFocus for those who add a lot of detail to their tasks, and Trello for the visually-driven person.

Recommendations are helpful, but ultimately, choose an app or notebook that speaks to you. You will likely look at your to-do lists quite often, after all.

2. MAKE MORE THAN ONE LIST

All great to-do apps let you make multiple lists. Start out with a few that are easy and obvious: work, personal, and household. Having more than one list helps you focus. When you’re at work, you don’t want to be distracted by your personal list. When you’re at home, you don’t want to be burdened thinking about your work responsibilities.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PC MAGAZINEView All

Tips to Help You Master Google Meet

Video-calling apps have seen plenty of use since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as so many of us are spending more time at home.

7 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (2021): Portable, Powerful, and Slick

The Razer Blade 15, a perennial favorite among gaming laptops for its premium metal chassis and slick, slim design, has reached new heights this year.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

SILICON, USA: THE COMPANIES THAT BUILD TECHNOLOGY IN AMERICA

Samsung

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

SILICON, USA: TECHNOLOGY MADE IN AMERICA

Ever tried to buy a computer made entirely of US parts and assembled here? You can’t. But here are 46 companies making high-quality tech products in the United States.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL R101AE: True Hands-Free Robot Vacuum

The point of using a robot vacuum is to cut down on your housework, but most of these devices need to be emptied and cleaned often, adding at least one more chore to your list.

10+ mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

Razer Orochi V2 Wireless Gaming Mouse: Game on the Go

Pocket mice are typically associated with productivity, given their portable, lightweight designs that let you work in an airport, coffee shop, or office.

4 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

How to Check Your Hard Drive's Health

Your hard drive hasn’t been acting the same lately. It’s starting to make clicking or screeching noises, it can’t seem to find your files, and it’s moving really slowly.

5 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

iStorage DiskAshur M2: A Wealth of Security Features

The DiskAshur M2 from iStorage excels at the primary mission of any security-focused SSD: making sure that no unauthorized person can ever get their hands on your data.

6 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

MSI Cubi 5 10M: Peppy, Quiet Mini PC

Call it a tale of two mini PCs. In many ways, the MSI Cubi 5 10M is the opposite of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i we tested just before it.

8 mins read
PC Magazine
June 2021

WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL HUMANS FACTORY

Medical trials are risky business. Human subjects eager to help researchers find cures or treatments for life-threatening ailments put their trust in medical professionals. But what if these trials could be conducted without human testers?

10 mins read
PC Magazine
May 2021
RELATED STORIES

Route It Right

Muscle Car Exhaust Selection and Install Tips

9 mins read
Hot Rod
July 2021

In the Stars

Whether talking or blogging, now’s the time for Geminis’ message to be heard.

4 mins read
CBS Watch! Magazine
May/June 2021

Corsair K65 RGB Mini Keyboard

A tiny 60-percent keyboard that makes a big noise

3 mins read
Maximum PC
June 2021

REPORT: MICROSOFT INVESTIGATED GATES BEFORE HE LEFT BOARD

Board members at Microsoft Corp. made a decision in 2020 that it wasn’t appropriate for its co-founder Bill Gates to continue sitting on its board as they investigated the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #499

CURSE CORRECTION

CURSE OF THE DEAD GODS is a sharp and atmospheric roguelike dungeon crawler.

4 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
June 2021

A Match Made In Skyrim

Bethesda officially joins Microsoft

2 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
June 2021

Why did Apple's original Hom fail? Let's count the reasons

Apple’s first smart speaker just met a surprising end, but it was one we could see coming

5 mins read
Macworld
June 2021

EVICTION NOTICE! WHEN YOU'RE FORCED TO TEACH OUTSIDE: THE FAQ

BETTER BUSINESS

7 mins read
Black Belt
June/July 2021

4 great ways to make working from home easier

We’re all about simplifying life, right down to the basic day-to-day tasks–and these products will up your work-from-home game.

1 min read
Star
May 10, 2021

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES

Hunched over your paper, you try to concentrate. This is the worst kind of assignment.

3 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
May/June 2021