3 To-Do List Tips to Help You Optimize Your Time and Productivity

to-do list tips
To-do list tips help.

If you feel challenged by your to-do list, these 3 to-do list tips will help you move toward mastery.

It’s a fact that sometimes those lists become so challenging that we want to avoid them. So, these to-do list tips will help you with that.

I have a friend who jots ideas and tasks on scraps of paper and sticky notes, putting them in her date book as the day goes on.  She captures a lot of material that way.

But, as you can probably imagine, by the end of some days her date book looks like it’s filled with confetti. And sometimes the notes fall out or get covered by other notes. So, yes, it’s a challenge to keep up with it all.

That’s why I encourage any and everyone to take time — even just five minutes — at the beginning and end of the day, to plan, prioritize/consolidate, and review your list (or lists).

3 To-Do List Tips

Each piece of this process is important, so let’s focus on each separately with these 3 to-do list tips:

1. Your to-do list is your map.

Finding time to plan is like scanning the landscape from up in the air. You need to get the lay of the land, note any barriers, and decide on your route. Really, what you’re determining is how you’re going to travel through your day.  

This is the most important part of your process. If you leave it out, you’ll embark on your journey without a compass. And chances are, you’ll get lost.

When you’re navigating your day, it’s really important to know where you’re starting, where you want to end up, and the major intersections and turning points along the way.

Having a plan doesn’t mean that there won’t be a need to make changes as the day unfolds. It simply gives you a map. Ideally your map will include alternate routes for any unforeseen contingencies.  You don’t need to go into a lot of detail about those routes, but it’s important (and reassuring) to know that they’re there.

And don’t forget the “Times 2 Rule” when you plan. No matter what the task, it’s good to assume that it will take at least twice as long as you predict.  (And what a gift to yourself, if you end up with a little extra time at the end of the day.)

2. Prioritize your list.

Making time to prioritize and consolidate your tasks is another very helpful time management skill to develop. Again, you needn’t spend a lot of time on this. As you look at your plan for the day or your to-do list, highlight the three tasks that you absolutely want to accomplish on this day.

Also, if you’ve got any tasks that can easily be combined, be sure to connect them. This might include things like errands that involve stops close to one another or putting all of your computer-related tasks in the same time slot. This creates efficiencies that you’ll appreciate as your day unfolds.

And if you maintain your to-do list or daily plan on a computer you can easily rearrange your tasks as you consolidate and create your priorities.  Having a clean list makes things a little easier and less stressful for you.

3. Review then let go.

Last but not least, setting aside some time to review at the end of the day is very important.

This gives you an opportunity to tweak your to-do list for tomorrow, adjust your priorities, reflect on any lessons learned, and let go of it all as you head to bed.

Letting go is a powerful and self-caring gift that this process allows you to give yourself.  As your head hits the pillow, you can release any worries that you might be carrying, knowing that they are on your list and will be addressed in the morning.  Your sleep will be more restful, and you’ll have more energy as your new day begins.

So, are you ready to start really DOING what’s on your to-do list? Consider giving these 3 to-do list tips a try. What will be your first step to get started?

More help…

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“Your Secret Power: How to Honor Your Time and Claim Your Space with Boundaries” gently steers you to a more profound understanding of where and how your boundary-setting efforts get short-circuited. Not only that, but it helps you establish the boundaries you need to unlock the door to your freedom. Boundary-setting is a skill that’s learnable, doable and definitely within your reach. And the strategies, tips and exercises in “Your Secret Power” help you discover how to:

  • Set and maintain boundaries to enhance your productivity and, yes, make more money;
  • Recharge your energy so you have the time and freedom to do what you value and what you’d like to do in your life; and
  • Learn how to say no, which opens the door to your next big Yes.

Ready to start using boundaries to maximize your time and energy? Click the link below to learn more about this transformative time tool and the bonuses that come with it:


Let’s explore time together…


  1. Dear Paula, thank you for sharing this. I have recently started using my Google calendar as my to-do list for the week. It not only halps me prioritize but also organize my tasks for the week; it is like the basket of time of which you often speak. Of course, I often end up shifting and/or adding time for tasks, but that is the nice thing about the online calendar–it offers flexibility and an opportunity for reflection at the end of the week.
    And choosing the day view instead of the week or month view helps keep me focused on the task at hand!
    All best to you and the community!

    • Hi David, Good to hear from you!

      As always, I appreciate how you continue to hone your time skills and how you generously share your lessons with us.

      Flexibility and reflection stand you in good stead for most anything. And I like your idea of choosing to look at just one day, to sharpen your focus.

      All my best to you, and stay safe and well!


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