Why Everyone Should Have a To-Do List

Many believe that having a to-do list will tie them down, maybe even prevent them from working productively. It’s simply the opposite, having a to-do list will give you more control over your day. Here’s why:


Being able to visualise your tasks can skyrocket your productivity. It’s common knowledge that our brains process information way faster when the information is in the form of a graph, list, or otherwise. Just using your head to remember tasks, sometimes isn’t enough. Writing your tasks down can help you to see what you have to get done and motivate you to take action.


One of the key benefits of to-do lists is the fact that you can sort out your work. Being able to prioritise what needs to be done is a literal game-changer. When you sort out your tasks in order of most important to least important you inevitably become far more motivated to complete the more important tasks.

However, prioritising tasks comes with a warning. Although you may find you are far more productive, be wary of becoming obsessed with completing everything on your list. If you find yourself with leftover tasks at the end of the day you can become discouraged that you couldn’t get around to everything. To avoid this, I use something called a “daily highlight.” A concept I borrowed from one of my favourite YouTubers, Ali Abdaal. Your “daily highlight” is the task that you need to get done for that day no matter what. Using this method will help you to be satisfied at the end of the day even if you didn’t get everything done.


When you write tasks down you give your brain “permission to forget.” It works in a similar way to taking notes or highlighting information. On a subconscious level, you realise that you always can return to your notes so your brain no longer needs to concentrate on remembering specific pieces of information. As a result, this significantly improves your clarity of mind and declutters your brain.

Best Ways To Start Writing To-Do Lists

Granted, there are a lot of ways to create your very own to-do lists but here are my top three, each unique in its own way.

  1. Stuff. Stuff is a great app for all you Android users out there. It’s a little, minimalistic widget that sits right on your home screen, it’s completely free and offers decent customization. You can create different sections for multiple to-do lists and each completed task disappears at the end of each day.
  2. Notion. Notion is a revolutionary note-taking app that has many features. It’s available on Android, IOS, Windows, and Mac. Notion has loads of free templates to use, it’s completely ad-free, and best of all it costs nothing for one person. If you’ve never at least tried Notion check out the download link at the end of this article.
  3. Physical. Keeping a physical to-do list is the oldest and one of the most effective ways of keeping track of your work. Not only is it extremely fulfilling to construct a to-do list yourself but it is often far more convenient for some in comparison to an app.

I often use all three of these options to keep track of my tasks but some may work better for you than others depending on your situation. For example, if you are out and about all day and have an Android phone you may find that Stuff is the best pick. If you are sitting at your computer for the majority of your time then Notion could be the most convenient for you. If your time is spent both at your desk and out and about then a physical to-do list could be the best option.

How To Write A To-Do List

Now that you know some ways in which a to-do list can help you to be more productive and a few methods of keeping one, let’s consider how to construct an effective to-do list. (Keep in mind this is just a guide, you can format your to-do list however you want).

  1. Prioritise your tasks. Decide which tasks are the most important, write these at the top.
  2. Decide on a “daily highlight”. Pick one or two tasks that you know you need to tick off your list and run with these as your “daily highlight”.
  3. Jot down the rest. Finish your to-do list by writing down the rest of the tasks you need to do for the day.
  4. Get creative. Decorate your to-do list however you like, you don’t have to do this but it’s a good idea to make it exciting to return to each time.
  5. Just get started. After you’ve completed these steps you are ready to go, all you need to do is start ticking off those tasks!

Bottom Line

Instead of trying to remember all the things you need to get done within the day, try using a to-do list. Not only does it provide a way of prioritising and keeping track of your work but can create a clearer mind which can lead to a significant boost in productivity.

As always, thanks for taking the time for reading or listening to this post. Please consider subscribing and don’t forget to share Focus Weekly with your friends and family.

If you want to check out Notion click here.

2 thoughts on “Why Everyone Should Have a To-Do List

  1. Anita-Corey Tuimauga August 26, 2021 — 1:01 pm

    This was so helpful! Perfect tips on how to be organized especially when Covid throws a spanner in the works and you are trying to figure out a way to juggle home life, parenting and work! Thank you Austin.

    Liked by 1 person

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