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Top 10 Free Task List Templates in Excel & ClickUp to Unlock Efficiency

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

February 13, 2024

If you often struggle to stay on top of work tasks, personal responsibilities, and the never-ending to-do lists life keeps throwing at you, don’t worry—you’re not alone. While excelling at work while maintaining a fulfilling personal life is a major puzzle for many professionals, it can be pieced together if you equip yourself with the right tools.

The humble task list is a simple yet remarkably useful tool to boost productivity and regain control of your personal and professional commitments. It provides a clear roadmap of what and when needs to be accomplished, helping you manage time wisely and prioritize tasks effectively. 📑

To be practical, a task list needs a well-structured format, but making one from scratch can be yet another responsibility.

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of outstanding blueprints available for free. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 10 of the finest task list templates to revolutionize how you manage your daily responsibilities.

What Is a Task List Template?

What makes a good task list template, 1. clickup daily task list template, 2. clickup calendar to do list template, 3. clickup work to do template, 4. clickup task management template, 5. clickup simple to-dos template, 6. clickup simple task management template, 7. clickup activity list template, 8. excel prioritized to do list template by vertex42, 9. excel task list template by teamgantt, 10. excel daily task tracker template.

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A task list template is a pre-designed framework for efficiently listing, prioritizing, organizing, and tracking tasks or activities. It comes in various forms, from simple to complex, and can be used for professional and personal purposes.

These templates typically include essential components such as task names, descriptions, due dates, and status indicators. Some may offer additional attributes like priority levels , task dependencies, and categories to further improve task management and prioritization.

ClickUp 3.0 List view bundle with Gantt and AI

Task list templates provide a systematic approach to managing your daily schedule , coordinating complex projects, or organizing team assignments. They help you track responsibilities and ensure crucial tasks are completed on time, promoting accountability and transparency.

What makes them even more valuable is their flexibility —they can be tailored to fit your specific requirements, whether you’re managing a client project or throwing a birthday party. ⏳

When it comes to task organization, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, you should ensure that your task list template has the following qualities:

  • Clarity : Task names and descriptions should be concise and unambiguous, ensuring that users can quickly understand what needs to be done
  • Organization : The template provides a logical structure for listing tasks, often in a sequential or prioritized manner
  • Flexibility : Users should be able to customize it to suit their specific personal or professional requirements 
  • Due date management : It allows for setting due dates or deadlines, helping users track time-sensitive responsibilities and prioritize work accordingly
  • Status tracking : Good templates include status indicators or checkboxes that allow users to mark tasks as incomplete, in progress, or completed
  • Reminders and notifications : To help users stay on top of upcoming tasks or overdue items

10 Must-Have Free Task List Templates in 2024

In this curated collection, we’ve handpicked the top 10 task and to-do list templates in Excel and ClickUp .

Each is expertly designed to address specific needs and elevate your task management experience. They’re also easy to use, customizable, and completely free. 🆓 

ClickUp Daily Task Template is perfect for managing daily tasks and keeping track of your entire day

The ClickUp Daily Task List Template is your partner in organizing everyday tasks , from the most routine to critical. It empowers you to take charge of your day by setting goals, assigning deadlines, categorizing tasks, setting up reminders, and prioritizing work.

The best part? It’s highly customizable , allowing you to tailor it to your needs and preferences. 

With this template, you have the power to take your task organization to the next level through Custom Fields. You can organize tasks according to particular categories such as type, location, or any other relevant criteria, which makes it simpler to visualize and arrange your workload.

Easily track and maintain streaks with customizable attributes for effective daily task management. ✅

Use the template’s List view for a detailed display of your to-do items, switch to the Kanban view to easily manage task statuses, or pick the Table view if you prefer a spreadsheet-like format. You can also integrate this template with your existing task management tools , ensuring it harmonizes effortlessly with your daily workflow.

Combine your daily checklist and your daily calendar with the ClickUp Calendar To-Do List Template

If you’re looking to master your work hours, expectations, and goals with precision, the ClickUp Calendar To Do List Template has your back. It’s not just a calendar; it’s a powerful organizational tool offering a holistic view of your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly duties.

Use it as a clear roadmap to plan and prioritize all your tasks based on your role and responsibilities or as your go-to weekly task list template for multiple projects. 🗓️

What makes this template extra convenient and functional are its custom views. Imagine having an entire week ahead filled with meetings. The Meeting Request view gives you a quick overview of all your upcoming appointments, the associated tasks, and their deadlines. This ensures you’re always well-prepared and firmly in control of your commitments.

Now, picture working in a team where tasks are assigned based on roles. The By Role view helps you sort tasks according to who’s responsible for them. It makes task delegation a breeze and promotes accountability by ensuring everyone knows what they need to do and when.

Lastly, there’s the Schedules view . It’s like a visual map of your day or week, laying out tasks chronologically. This helps you plan your time effectively by allocating slots for tasks, meetings, and even short breaks. It’s all about staying on top of things and making the most of your precious time.

You can also track task progress with Custom Statuses like Open and Complete and categorize tasks using Custom Fields such as Category, Resources, Productivity Level, and Role.

Successfully tackle all upcoming obligations with the ClickUp Work To Do Template

With the ClickUp Work To Do Template , you can effortlessly prioritize tasks by importance, effort, or urgency, ensuring you stay focused on what matters most. Organize projects into lists, complete with their related tasks, subtasks, and associated due dates, so you’re always on top of deadlines. Plus, you can visually track your progress through intuitive Kanban boards or Gantt charts. 

This template offers three distinct views tailored to your needs:

  • Weekly Calendar
  • Monthly Calendar

In the Task List view, you’ll find a comprehensive list of activities organized by their completion timeframes, be it daily, weekly, or monthly. You can track additional details on the right side of the template, such as task status, due dates, and priority. Plus, the Task Type field allows you to specify the department responsible, adding a touch of accountability to your task management. 💼

The Calendar views are where the magic happens. Use the simple drag-and-drop editor to schedule or reschedule tasks , creating a visual roadmap for your work.

Easily manage tasks across the team and use custom views like Board view to delegate work more efficiently

The ClickUp Task Management Template is your ultimate solution for staying organized and efficiently tackling tasks, no matter the project’s goals. This template takes the information you enter and automatically groups it by priority, department, or task status. With pre-built Custom Fields , you’ll have a quick snapshot of task ownership and expected completion dates, ensuring transparency and clarity. 🌞

Your team can use the template’s List view to meticulously organize task details, such as ownership and deadlines, akin to an advanced to-do list . Project tasks are sorted into three main Lists —Action Items, Ideas, and Backlog—allowing you to find the information you need effortlessly. 

Meanwhile, the Board view empowers you to plan and prioritize tasks by arranging sticky notes on a Kanban board. The Box view offers insights into work distribution, aiding intelligent task assignment, while the Calendar view simplifies scheduling with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.

ClickUp Simple To-Dos Template facilitates task management and increases productivity

Introducing the ClickUp Simple To-Dos Template , where effectiveness meets simplicity. This template offers a straightforward approach to task management without unnecessary complications or distractions. 🎯

Start with the List view as your master task list, where columns display essential details like assignees, due dates, priority tags, and comments. The status column provides a dropdown menu with customizable categories, such as Blocked, Complete, In Progress, and To Do.

Want an overview of all your tasks? Turn to the All Tasks view.

Need to prioritize? The Prioritized Tasks view has you covered.

Make your tasks more informative by including subtasks, checklists, and attachments. Experiment with various views like Board and Gantt, and refine your task display using filters to find the best fit for your workflow.

View only the next action of a task for a cleaner to-do list template in ClickUp

Tired of struggling to remember your daily tasks and appointments? The ClickUp Simple Task Management Template is designed to simplify not only work-related activities but also everyday responsibilities like cleaning, vacuuming, or going to the gym.

The to-do list template includes a basic list format for visualizing personal or professional tasks categorized as To Do or Complete. 

This task management template provides a clear structure for adding your daily tasks , complete with labels for due dates, priorities, and task statuses. It’s your key to structuring your day and staying on top of tasks, no matter their size or significance.

You’ll find a range of views, including List , Board, and Doc , allowing you to approach your tasks in a way that best suits your workflow. Its powerful customization options set this template apart—add fields, prioritize tasks, and easily set up reminders.

Origanize and plan all your activities in one place with the ClickUp Activity List Template

The ClickUp Activity List Template can transform the chaos of your to-dos into a well-organized and efficient system. It’s a versatile template that covers everything from creating to-do lists and checklists to managing project timelines and sprints. With this template, you can organize all your activities in one place, making it easy to prioritize and plan them with precision. 🙌

Use the template’s Custom Fields to: 

  • Specify project name
  • Assign a project manager
  • Track completion progress

What’s even more convenient is that this template structures activities as subtasks , allowing you to provide in-depth details for each one, including dependencies between activities. It’s a comprehensive solution for effective activity management and project planning, simplifying complex tasks and ensuring your projects run smoothly.

Excel Prioritized To Do List Template  by Vertex42

Excel enthusiasts, here’s a handy tool for your task management needs: the Excel Prioritized To Do List Template by Vertex42. This template simplifies the collection, evaluation, and tracking of your day-to-day tasks. It features a printable , hand-fillable design with a dedicated space for your top three priorities. 🖨️

In the first column, list your tasks or projects. Use the subsequent columns to set due dates, update statuses, specify priorities, and add notes. You have the flexibility to prioritize tasks using various methods, like symbols, numbers, or formatting.

Excel Task List Template by TeamGantt

The Excel Task List Template by TeamGantt is your ticket to task management success. This template simplifies scheduling, assignment, and tracking of tasks for various projects, making it a valuable addition to your task list template Excel collection. It offers adaptability, whether you’re handling critical work tasks or personal projects.

The template simplifies task management by allowing you to create a comprehensive to-do list . You can easily add tasks, assign owners, set due dates, and track task status. Its clear status options make progress monitoring a visual breeze, and you can prioritize tasks effortlessly by assigning due dates.

You can track your progress on work assignments, ensuring you never miss a deadline or manage your household projects more efficiently, keeping costs in check and tasks on schedule.

Excel Daily Task Tracker Template

The Excel Daily Task Tracker Template is a versatile tool for efficiently managing multiple tasks. Its user-friendly, visually attractive design incorporates built-in filtering controls , allowing you to sort and filter projects based on their due dates, priority, and status. Whether you prefer a digital or hard copy, this template suits both options.

With complete customization options , you have the freedom to adjust text, images, and other elements to suit your unique requirements. You can tap into a world of creativity with access to a diverse range of photos, graphics, fonts, and dynamic features like animations, transitions, and videos. 🎨

This template offers a straightforward and efficient solution for task tracking, helping you prevent oversights and boosting your productivity.

Task List Templates: Overview

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect from each template:

Checkmate Your Tasks with the Best Task and To Do List Templates

If tasks were your soldiers, task list templates would be the strategies and tactics you apply to take control of them and lead them to victory. So, don’t just try to manage tasks—command them with the right template! 💂

From simple to-do lists to detailed project tracking tools, these 10 templates combine simplicity, flexibility, and effectiveness to match your specific needs. If you need more ready-made frameworks to streamline all kinds of professional and personal activities, we encourage you to check out  ClickUp’s extensive library of templates and supercharge your productivity.

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How to Create a Task Tracker in Excel: Free Template

work task list

Checking tasks off your to-do list feels pretty awesome, right? If only everything in life gave you that instant sense of accomplishment!

A task list earns its keep by helping you schedule, assign, and track all the work that needs to be done for a project. You can also use it to give stakeholders and team members at-a-glance updates on project progress.

With our free Excel task checklist template, you can keep up with all the to-dos you need to knock out—whether you’re focused on an important work assignment or just want to finish up a few projects around the house. We’ve done all the hard work so you can have all the fun marking things done.

Ready to get started? We’ll show you just how easy it is to take your task list from to-do to ta-da! Here’s what we'll cover:

How to create a task tracker in Excel

How to customize your task list template, how to create an online task tracker in teamgantt.

Let’s start with a simple tutorial on how to keep track of tasks at work using Excel.

1. Download our free Excel task tracker template

At TeamGantt, we know how important it is to ensure projects get done on time and on budget. That's why we created this Excel task list template to make tracking project progress a breeze.

Make this task tracker template your own by adding to-do list items and tasks, assigning task owners, and tracking task status, budgets, and costs.

Download your free Excel task tracker template

2. Add to-do list items and tasks

First, find the T ask Name column on your worksheet, and enter a descriptive name for each task you want to track for a particular day of the week.

3. Indicate the status of each task

This sample to-do list template features four different status options—with icons as easy visual cues—so you can see where each task is at a glance: Not Started , In Progress , Complete , and On Hold .

To assign a status to a task, click on the status dropdown menu in that task’s row, and choose the status that applies to the task you’re working on.

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4. Set task due dates

Set clear expectations for your team by entering the deadline for each task in the Due Date column.

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5. Assign task owners

Start by specifying which team or department will carry out the work using the Task Type column. Then pair each task with its rightful owner by entering the team member’s name into the Assigned to column.

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6. Include task budgets and costs

Use the Hours Budgeted column to let team members know how much time has been budgeted for each task.  

‍Once a task is complete, log the time spent on it in the Actual Hours column.

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Tracking daily and monthly tasks in Excel

We’ve designed this task tracker template to track your weekly to-do list. But you can create additional task lists for monitoring daily and monthly to-dos.

Click Insert > Sheet > Blank Sheet to add a new worksheet. Then give each row and column a header label, and use the formatting tools to design your own daily or monthly task tracker.

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Once you’ve got the basics squared away, feel free to customize your Excel task list template to ensure it fits your project needs. You can add a title, switch up the colors, add or delete new rows and columns, or even dress your to-do list up with your company logo.

Adding titles

We’ve titled this checklist template “Weekly Task List.” As exciting as that moniker may be, we bet you’ll want to give your to-do checklist your own snazzy (and specific) name.

1. To add or edit the title of your project task list template, double-click your cursor into cell A-2.

2. Enter a new title for your task list. Feel free to include the project name and date range in your title so there’s no doubt what this task tracker covers.

work task list

3. Format the header text using the same formatting tools you’d use to format any other text in the worksheet.

Changing colors

Want to apply your own brand colors to your task list? Or make it easy to tell Tom’s tasks from Bill’s? No problem!

1. Click to highlight the cell, row, or column you want to change.

2. Go to Format > Cells , and select the Fill tab.

3. Click on the Background Color dropdown, and choose the new color you want to apply to the cell, row or column you’ve highlighted.

work task list

Adding rows/columns

We’ve outlined a few basic to-do list categories to get you started. But there may be other details you need to track along the way. For example, you might want to add a priority column. Or maybe your Monday has a lot more to-dos than the other days of the week.

1. To insert a new row, click Insert > Rows . A new row will be added above the one you currently have selected, using the same formulas and formatting of the row above.

work task list

2. To insert a new column, go to Insert > Columns . A new column will be added to the left of the one you currently have selected, using the same formulas and formatting of the column to the left.

work task list

Removing rows/columns

We may have included details you simply don’t need to track. That’s okay! Deleting extra info won’t hurt our feelings a bit.

1. To delete an existing row, click on the row you want to remove. Go to Edit > Delete , and choose Entire Row .

work task list

2. To delete an existing column, click on the column you want to remove. Go to Edit > Delete , and choose Entire Column .

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Adding a company logo

Want to give your project task list template some more flair? Add your company logo to the worksheet.

1. Right-click on the TeamGantt logo/header image in row 1, and select Change Picture .

work task list

2. Choose the image file you want to add to the worksheet, and click the Insert button.

Printing the to-do list template

By the time you finish customizing your to-do list template, it’ll be so pretty you just might want to print it out and pin it to the wall—and we don’t blame you.

1. First, let’s set the print area. Simply click and drag your cursor to highlight all the cells you want to print out. Then go to File > Print Area > Set Print Area.

work task list

2. If you want to adjust the scale of the checklist to fit on a single page, click on the Page Layout tab. Then go to Margins > Custom Margins and select the Page tab.

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3. Once you’ve set the print area and adjusted the scale of your checklist, you’re ready to send your task list to the printer. Click File > Print.

work task list

Additional resources

  • Project management template library : Use these simple templates in any industry to plan and manage projects, identify and mitigate risk, and communicate effectively at every project step.
  • ‍ Gantt chart Excel template : Save time organizing your project plan with our premade Excel gantt chart template! Simply plug in your tasks and dates, and you'll have a presentation-quality Excel gantt chart.

Want to take the tedium out of task lists? Give TeamGantt’s online gantt chart software a try , and create a customized task tracker in minutes.

With TeamGantt, it’s easy to collaborate on work and streamline workflows. Here are just a few of the handy features you—and your team—will have at your fingertips:

  • Drag-and-drop simplicity
  • Reusable project plan templates
  • Project dependencies
  • File storage
  • Time tracking
  • Resource management
  • Planned vs. actual timelines

And because TeamGantt is all online, everyone on the team can update tasks in real-time. No more juggling a million different spreadsheets or scrambling to capture last-minute updates before a big meeting!

Sign up for your free account and get started. (No strings attached, we promise!) Once you’re in, here’s a sneak peek at just how easy it is to create and manage task lists in TeamGantt.

Setting up your task list project

Before you can set up tasks, you’ll need to answer a few quick onboarding questions and then create a new project.

work task list

1. Start by entering a descriptive name for your project on the project setup page. We called our example project “Weekly Task List.”

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2. Then, choose a new Start Date , if you want your list to begin on a day other than today.

work task list

3. Next, decide whether you want to start from scratch with a blank project or choose a template from our handy library of pre-built options . To make things super easy for you, we created a Weekly Task List template .

Simply click on the Preview templates icon, expand the Admin & Personal category, and select Weekly Task List to preview the template. If you’d like to use it, select Use Template in the bottom right corner of the window.

work task list

4. If not, feel free to choose a different template option or click anywhere outside of the preview window to return to the Create a new project page.

5. Next, select which days of the week you want to assign and track work for this project. The default is Monday through Friday, but you can choose any configuration of days that make sense for your work schedule.

work task list

6. Finally, select Create new project to save your changes and get to work.

Adding and editing task lists

Now that you have a project, it’s time to set up your task list! We chose the Weekly Task List template for our example, which gives us a labeled task group for each day of the week.

work task list

1. Simply click on each task group field, if you want to rename it.

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2. If you need to add more task groups, click +Group of Tasks , and enter the name of your new task group in the blank field that appears below.

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3. To add a new task, click +Task and enter a name in the blank that appears below. Then, use the drag-and-drop features to adjust the timelines for each task .

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4. To delete a task, hover over it and select the trashcan icon that appears to the right of the task name.

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Assigning team members

To invite other users to your project, select the People tab in the top navigation bar of your project. Then, select Invite People to add new users by name and email address.

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Once a user has been added to your project, designate them to a task by clicking assign in the Assigned column and selecting the checkbox next to their name.

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Here’s an in-depth tutorial on how to invite users and assign them to tasks .

Creating dependencies

Dependencies enable you to control the order of tasks in your project. If one task has to wait for another to get done before it can begin, the dependency will account for that. For example, a designer may not be able to design a landing page until the content’s been written.

1. To add a dependency, click on the gray dot to the right of the first task in the gantt chart.

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2. Then drag the dependency line to connect it to the dependent task below.

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Changing task colors

To change the color of a task, hover over the task, and choose a new color by clicking on the colored square that appears to the right of the task.

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Ready to discover just how easy and fast task tracking can be?

This is just a preview of all the fun you can have with task lists on TeamGantt—but there’s so much more to see!

Sign up for your free TeamGantt account today to learn all about the project management possibilities you could have at your fingertips.

work task list

Free Microsoft Word Task List Templates, Planners, and Checklists

By Kate Eby | August 30, 2023

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Task lists, planners, and checklists help enable efficiency and productivity. Use these editable Microsoft Word task list templates, planners, and checklists to prioritize, manage, and track essential daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a daily task list template , a weekly task planner , a printable daily task planner template , and a project task list with Gantt chart template . There are also fillable Microsoft Word templates for a prioritized task checklist and a task tracker .

Weekly Task List Template for Microsoft Word

Weekly Task List Template Microsoft Word

Download the Weekly Task List Template for Microsoft Word

List, categorize, and describe weekly tasks with this fillable task list template. Use the status legend to view any updates for essential tasks. This weekly task list template also features a Notes column for adding comments, along with seven days of due dates for each task. 

To document, prioritize, and manage tasks in a variety of ways, check out this collection of free task list and checklist templates .

Weekly Task Planner Template for Microsoft Word

Weekly Task Planner Template Microsoft Word

Download the Weekly Task Planner Template for Microsoft Word

Use this task planner template to organize and detail tasks for each day of the week. This template's Tasks column allows you to prioritize and compare weekly tasks to daily listings so that you can stay on track. The editable planner layout provides an overview of tasks, reminders, and notes that is easy to follow.

Manage project tasks and update team members, personnel, and other stakeholders with this resource of free project task list templates for project management .

Daily Task List Template for Microsoft Word

Daily Task List Template Microsoft Word

Download the Daily Task List Template for Microsoft Word

Schedule daily tasks throughout the week with this editable template. Use the hourly rows to list tasks for specific hours or break them down across multiple hourly intervals. This daily task list template's seven-day layout maximizes scheduling flexibility.

Use this personal task list template for task prioritization, management, and visualization solutions.

Printable Daily Task Planner Template for Microsoft Word

Printable Daily Task Planner Template Microsoft Word

Download the Printable Daily Task Planner Template for Microsoft Word

This fillable daily task planner template is easy to use and designed for printing. Organize and prioritize tasks for each day. Add the date for the day of its use and breakout to-dos, top priorities, people to contact, places to go, and activities you can move to another day. Customize this template by changing the section labels to suit your needs.

To plan and manage priorities in a spreadsheet, check out this collection of free to-do list templates in Excel .

Project Task List with Gantt Chart Template for Microsoft Word

Project Task List with Gantt Chart Template Microsoft Word

Download the Project Task List with Gantt Chart Template for Microsoft Word

Use this fillable project task list with Gantt chart template to list and detail task assignments using their start and end dates and quickly see how long each will take to complete. The Gantt chart provides a visual overview of project tasks to enable your team to see their status and update project sponsors. Add details about the project, such as the project manager, deliverables, scope, and the person responsible for each task. Use this template to document status updates for all project tasks and the overall project status.

Prioritized Task Checklist Template for Microsoft Word

Prioritized Task Checklist Template Microsoft Word

Download the Prioritized Task Checklist Template for Microsoft Word

Use this prioritized checklist template to categorize tasks as high, medium, and low priority. This fillable template features a check box, due date, and status update for each task so you can easily manage and track them. List more tasks in the Additional Tasks section or customize it with a new label that better suits your needs.  

Track project tasks, their priorities, statuses, and more with this collection of free project checklist templates .

Microsoft Word Task Tracker Template 

Task Tracker Template Microsoft Word

Download the Task Tracker Template for Microsoft Word

Use this template to list and track important tasks by title, priority, start and due dates, and completion percentage. This editable template is formatted for simplicity and accessibility, providing only essential details. It includes a Comments column for additional task notes and reminders.

Easily Track and Monitor and Tasks in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Productivity

Productivity tips

Your To Do List and Beyond: 8 Powerful Ways to Manage Your Tasks

task-management-strategies primary img

There are so many things you need to do, and so many ways you could keep track of them. Search the App Store for "to do list," and you'll find thousands of tools that all promise to help you increase your productivity and get more done.

An app is only the start. There are also the various methods of keeping track of your to dos, each with their strong points and some so complicated there are entire books about them. It can be so tough to find the right method and app for you, it's often easier to just give up and try to juggle all of your tasks in your head.

It doesn't have to be that way. In this article, we'll take you through the most popular task management methods so you can pick out the perfect way to manage the things you need to do. Then, in a related article, we'll show you the best apps for each of those methods. That'll give you the tools you need to stay productive this year and beyond.

Choosing the Right Task Management Method

When it comes to task management, there's no one-size-fits-all option. Just as some people learn better visually while others learn far better audibly, there are task management methods that'll fit you perfectly—and others that'll never work for you no matter how hard you try.

In this article, you'll receive an overview along with the pros and cons of each of the following task management methods:

The "Grocery List" Method

Reminders.app

The "Grocery List" method, or just organizing tasks in simple lists, is by far the most popular task management method. It's the way you'll likely organize tasks without even thinking about it. It puts all tasks and their respective due dates front-and-center with no fluff. There are dozens of apps that use this method of organizing your tasks, and their straightforward lists make the apps look and feel very similar to a grocery list you'd make when heading to the store.

These simple apps are great for people like myself that get a rush from finally checking tasks off of a list and moving onto the next task. When using a grocery list style app, there are no small details to check off, so you're left with the big picture for all of your tasks.

Grocery List apps often have some essential organization features to go along with the bare tasks. For instance, most have the ability to set a due date and some can set reminders for tasks using a device's location.

That being said, Grocery List-style apps may not be practical for everyone. If you need to manage small tasks within larger tasks or like being able to track the progress of a task or project, Grocery List methods aren't for you. Don't fret though, because there are plenty of other task management strategies for you.

The Grocery List Method Pros and Cons

Pros: Grocery List- esque applications are generally simple enough that they require little setup and are easy to use.

Cons: Not as great at tracking small details or handling large projects.

Getting Things Done®

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Getting Things Done ® and GTD ® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.

For example, when working on an article, I can use a powerful list-based task management app to make a new project for the article and then add tasks for sections of an article, reminders to proofread, and make a list of all additional resources required to complete the article. At the same time, I can have projects for my home tasks, other ongoing projects at work, and more.

Most standard GTD apps have note taking and file-drop capabilities. This is very useful when starting a project, as you can attach all of your ideas and related files to the task, ensuring you won't forget any small details and giving you a one-stop-shop for your task's resources.

Some GTD applications also have built-in calendars that show your tasks and projects with their respective due dates. This can be an absolute godsend when juggling multiple projects for different clients with separate due dates. You'll also usually be able to keep up with notes and files related to your tasks in the apps.

The basic idea with GTD is that you can get everything out of your head and into your to do list app, organized in lists of related tasks with each task tagged (or categorized) according to the place or context in which you’ll do the task, and with any data related to that task attached as a note. It’s a lot of stuff in each tasks to make sure you won’t have to juggle anything in your head and can focus on what you’re doing.

Getting Things Done Pros and Cons

Pros: GTD applications can track every step of a task and often have other interesting features.

Cons: These applications can be confusing to set up and too cluttered for some.

The Text Editor Method

todo.txt

Using text editors for task management has been around for quite some time. In fact, the 'emacs' app in Terminal has its own text-based task management command. Text editors give you the freedom to manage tasks how you'd like and be free of the visual distractions of a Grocery List app.

If you already have a preferred text editor, there's no need to download another task management app: Just use what you already know. On top of this, the text file you use to manage your tasks is universal, so you can switch devices and platforms without disrupting your workflow.

Today.txt is even simpler than Todo.txt: it's a three line paragraph stressing one task. The text file starts with "If nothing else, today I am going to __ ." and ends with "If I do this and only this, it will be a good day." This makes the method more motivation than anything else, but it a good way to keep yourself focused when feeling distracted.

Either method—or your own personal method of organizing stuff you need to do in a text editor—could work equally well. And, if you already have a to do list app you like but want a way to keep yourself focused on what needs done today , Today.txt could be a good addition to your workflow.

The Text Editor Method Pros and Cons

Pros: Using a text editor is a simple and free way to manage your tasks. You can set up your workflow however you'd like, using programs you're familiar with.

Cons: Plain text lists can often be too barebones for some and require some setup and management to keep organized.

The Kanban Method

kanban

Take pen-and-paper to do management a step further with Kanban productivity. This method, in its purest form, takes Post-It notes, a cork board, and labels, and organizes tasks by progression. To start with Kanban, split your cork board into three sections: to do, doing, and done. Write tasks on color-coded Post-It notes and stick them in their respective step of progression. As your tasks progress, move them to their new spots on the cork board to track them. You can color-code tasks by client, project, or any other differentiator, and can add as much or little detail to each task as you want.

The Kanban Method Pros and Cons

Pros: The big picture is always in front of you and your team.

Cons: Small details can be left out, which may cause information overload for some.

The Rows, Columns n' Sheets Method

spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are often overlooked when it comes to task management, especially in the mobile space. But they can be as powerful of a tool for task management as you let them be. Due to spreadsheets' flexibility, they're an especially great way to manage a ton of projects and tasks.

When using a spreadsheet, you can make different sheets for different types of tasks. For example, one sheet can be for work tasks and another for home errands, each with columns to keep track of data that makes sense for each. Tasks can be placed in individual rows, and cells can be color-coded to represent their importance or other key parts of a task.

If you're working in a team, you can use Google Sheet to make a no-frills group task management system. Just make a new shared Sheet, add your team members, and create color-coded cells to assign tasks. And since Google Sheets has a built-in chat client, it's easy to collaborate with team members.

The Rows, Columns n' Sheets Method Pros and Cons

Pros: You can use familiar tools to create a versatile environment for your tasks.

Cons: Like text-based applications, using spreadsheets for task management can be too basic for some. On top of this, using spreadsheets aren't the prettiest way to manage tasks.

Team-Based Productivity

Trello

To do apps aren't just for managing your own tasks. When you're working with your team, you need a way to keep up with what everyone's working on and what's left to finish your team projects.

Enter team-based productivity apps.

Team-based productivity apps are often list-based applications that let everyone have their own accounts. They're also usually web apps that'll run in any browser, with mobile apps to work on the go. Team members can add and edit tasks as well as discuss tasks within a comment thread or IM-like service, making collaborating and group task management far simpler.

Many team-based applications have features similar to that of the aforementioned GTD method. Beyond setting due dates, tasks can often have sub-tasks and the larger projects can be organized in their own boards or lists to keep everything organized for each of your different projects or clients. Most will even let you add files to tasks, so you can keep everything needed to complete the task in one spot.

Team-Based Productivity Pros and Cons

Pros: Team-based apps are generally cross-platform and are great for keeping teams on track and encourage collaboration. Additionally, they can be used for personal work if needed.

Cons: These applications can be time consuming to set up and expensive for a full team.

Good Ol' Pen and Paper

paper

I'm sure you didn't expect to see this mentioned alongside methods of managing tasks with apps, but sometimes it's best to use pen and paper for task management—especially if you have a problem with checking Twitter instead of staying on task. When using a notebook to manage tasks, you're completely disconnected from the internet and its distractions, keeping you on track.

Pen and Paper Pros and Cons

Pros: Paper notes are distraction-free and require no connectivity.

Cons: Not as versatile as other methods in this list, and can be tough to back up.

The String-Around-The-Finger Method

string

Even though a notification on your phone can be a great reminder to complete a task, nothing jogs your memory like a change in something you use everyday. A classic example of this is tying a string around your finger. Or if you prefer a modern take on the method, wrap a rubberband around your phone.

The basic idea is: Put something in your way when you're thinking of something you need to do. Then, the next time you notice that thing—string, rubberband or whatever—your mind will be jogged to remember the task.

Getting a bit more technical with this idea, rearranging app icons or changing your phone's wallpaper are other good ways to jog your memory. If you're using this method on the desktop, you can set special photos or text as your screensaver or my personal favorite: putting a Post-It note in the center of my laptop's screen. Either way, doing something that's out of the ordinary can be a great way to make sure you remember what you need to do.

The String-Around-The-Finger Method and Cons

Pros: The simplest possible way to remind yourself to do something.

Cons: You might end up forgetting why you tied the string in the first place, and it works only well for single, one-off tasks.

Picking the Best Method for You

Like various learning methods, different task management strategies place focus in different areas. For example, the "Grocery List" method of task management places all crucial information upfront, while leaving many small details out of the picture. That's a great option if you just want a simple way to keep track of what needs done now .

But, if you're a more detail-oriented person, using a powerful task management will be more your speed. You'll be able to keep track of every tiny detail, manage multiple projects, and much more, all from one app. You can plan your whole life here, not just the stuff you're doing today.

Both the simple Grocery List apps and more advanced Getting Things Done apps, though, often have fancier interfaces, and they force you to work the way they're designed. If you're the kind that likes your tools to be deeply customizable or if the fancy interfaces of both of these methods throw you off, managing tasks in a text editor or spreadsheet may be best.

Working together? Give the team task management apps—or even a shared spreadsheet—a shot. Or if you'd rather a low-tech solution, mix everything up and write team tasks on a whiteboard.

There's no perfect way to manage your tasks, and you might even need more than one method to keep up with everything you're doing. Just experiment with your own variant of any of these methods, and start getting your tasks organized.

Go Get Things Done

If you're planning on using an app to manage your tasks, there are dozens of to do list apps that could work for you. But which one is the best for your needs? Here are our recommendations:

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Andrew Kunesh

Andrew is a freelance writer and user experience nerd from Chicago, IL. In his free time, you’ll find Andrew trotting the globe in search of the perfect cup of coffee. Follow @andrewkunesh on Twitter.

  • Personal productivity
  • Project management
  • Task management & to-do lists
  • Product management

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Microsoft To Do App

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Microsoft To Do

  • Download app
  • Open web app

A truly cross platform task manager.

A user's to do list including sending a report, booking a table, picking up groceries and an upcoming oil change

A smart daily planner

Set yourself up for success with My Day, intelligent and personalized suggestions to update your daily or weekly to do list. With both a Microsoft to do desktop app and mobile app available, it is easy to stay on task all day long.

Manage your to do list online

A truly cross platform task management app. Whether you're at home using the desktop app or are using the mobile app on the go you can access your task list and stay organized.

The Microsoft To Do app displayed on several devices alongside one another

Sharing made easy

Sharing an online to do list can help keep you connected with friends, family and colleagues.

Make managing tasks easier

Break tasks down into simple steps, add due dates, and set reminders for your daily checklist to keep you on track.

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Outlook Tasks integration

To Do is integrated with Outlook Tasks, making it easier to manage all your tasks in one place.

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Access from anywhere

Microsoft To Do is available for free, and syncs across iPhone, Android, Windows, and the web.

What is the purpose of a to do list?

The main purpose of a to do list is to provide yourself with a list of your priorities in order to ensure that you don't forget anything and are able to effectively plan out your tasks so that they are all accomplished in the correct time frame. A well maintained to do list will set your mind at ease since you will always have a clear picture of what you need to get done.

Why is a to do list important?

A to do list is important because it keeps your tasks and obligations in order. An organized list makes things more manageable and keeps you mentally focused on the tasks at hand.

When should you make a to do list?

The best time to make a daily to do list is either the night before, or first thing in the morning. The biggest benefit of a well organized to do list is the peace of mind that comes with having a plan in place. Going to bed with a plan for the next day in place can lead to better sleep. Making a list first thing in the morning will give you a plan for a successful day.

How many items should be on a to do list?

It's important to keep your to do list manageable. An impossible task list can increase feelings of stress. It is often recommended to keep to do lists to 3 items maximum. If you need to have more than 3 items, try to include no more than 1 "big" task and fill the list out with some "medium" or "small" tasks that are easy to accomplish.

How do I create a to do list on my phone?

To do list apps such as the Microsoft To Do app are the best ways to create a to do list on your phone. With Microsoft To Do you can easily create and sync your task lists across multiple devices so you have your to do list available whether you are on your desktop, phone, or tablet.

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The Best To-Do List App

A smartphone on a desk that is displaying a to-do list next to a pen, coffee mug, post-it notes and a highlighter.

By Kaitlin Mahar

Kaitlin Mahar is a writer covering deals and sales. She strives to help readers make savvy purchases and steer them away from buyer’s remorse.

Mastering your to-do list can seem like a Sisyphean task. But a good to-do list app should help you regain control over your routines and keep chaos at bay.

Our to-do list app picks, Todoist , TickTick , and the Apple-exclusive Things 3 , are a breeze to use, have thoughtful designs, and feature flexible organization schemes, so you can conveniently hop in, address your obligations, and enter new tasks—then get right back to the doing.

Everything we recommend

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The best to-do list app for most people

This app offers nearly every function you could want in a to-do list app ensconced in a clean, intuitive interface. A subscription is required for reminders and other key features, though.

Buying Options

Budget pick.

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The best free to-do list app

This app offers the most comprehensive free service we tested, with lots of features and a great user experience. It’s less refined than our other picks, but many will be perfectly happy with it.

work task list

A better option for Mac users

With ample features and flawless integration with Apple devices, this app offers the best combo of design and functionality. But it’s only good for solo users who are all-in on the Apple ecosystem.

Todoist is one of the best-known to-do list apps, and for good reason—it’s simply a joy to use, with a treasure trove of helpful functions, such as progress tracking, unlimited reminders, and organizational features that make managing multiple projects a breeze, including color coding and 150 filter views. It’s compatible with Apple, Android, Windows, and Linux, as well as automation programs like Zapier and IFTTT. It gets regular updates and has a strong, clear privacy policy , with daily automatic data backups, data encryption, and no ads.

We relegated Todoist to The competition in a previous version of this guide due to its limited calendar integration offerings and counterintuitive interface, both of which have since been improved. In fact, Todoist’s uncluttered, straightforward design made the app a clear winner this time around in our testing. As with all of the to-do list apps we tried, its calendar features were still lacking in some ways, but it integrates with pretty much any calendar you might use.

You can choose between a free beginner plan and a paid pro plan , but we found the lack of reminders and other crucial features made Todoist’s free plan far too limited compared with other free options. Considering how significantly Todoist Pro improved our day-to-day lives, the subscription is well worth the $5 per month or $48 per year.

TickTick stands out from our other picks because its free plan is much more comprehensive. Like Todoist, TickTick (our former top pick) offers pretty much everything you could need to organize a variety of workflows, including useful functions like a Pomodoro timer. TickTick also has the best natural language support we’ve seen—for example, “Pick up the dry cleaning at 3 p.m.”—which makes creating tasks a breeze. Its seamless calendar integration was also the best we’ve seen. It’s available on all major operating systems and works with a wide range of integrations.

Although this app provides a good-enough user experience, it’s generally a little less streamlined than our other picks and takes a little longer to get the hang of. But as is the case with most apps, you’ll quickly catch on the more you play with it.

Casual users should be able to get along just fine without needing to upgrade to the premium plan . And if you do opt for the paid plan, it’s slightly cheaper than Todoist on a monthly basis, but it offers comparable upgrades—stuff like constant reminders , robust collaboration tools, and expanded calendar integrations.

Things 3 is an impressively powerful to-do list and task management app—but it isn’t available on Windows or Android devices. For individuals who exclusively use Apple devices, it offers plenty of organizational options (including tags, task prioritization, task statuses, and color coding) without being overwhelming.

Compared with our other picks, its natural language input is more limited, and it lacks location-based reminders and many collaborative features. But its thoughtful, clean interface made it just as easy and enjoyable to use—and at times more so—as Todoist.

It also integrates seamlessly with Apple’s proprietary services (like Apple Calendar and Reminders), as well as IFTTT and Zapier, but those integrations are optional. Unlike other Apple-only apps we tried, Things 3 is robust enough to be used on its own, without needing to rely on Apple’s apps for added functionality. With a fair price and strong privacy standards, it’s a great choice for Apple users seeking an affordable, capable alternative to Reminders.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, how we picked and tested, our pick: todoist, budget pick: ticktick, also great: things 3, what to look forward to, the competition.

Staff writer Kaitlin Mahar has been a dedicated to-do list maker for over a decade. She used to keep all her lists and to-dos scattered across her desk on post-its and scrap paper, scrawled in notebooks, and clogging up her phone space in the form of infinite notes app entries. Inevitably, things would fall through the cracks. Since she downloaded her first to-do list app back in 2021, her brain (and desk) have never felt cleaner.

This guide builds on the work of writer Jordan McMahon, who wrote the first version in 2019. He’s been writing about software for publications including Motherboard and Wired since 2017, covering everything from illustration apps to productivity apps that have helped him make sense of his scrambled, ADHD brain. He couldn’t function without a to-do list app to keep him on track.

In researching this guide, we consulted a variety of experts, including C. Vaile Wright, PhD , senior director of healthcare innovation at the American Psychological Association (APA) and contributor to the association’s annual Stress in America study, and Thorin Klosowski, a former Wirecutter editor and now privacy and security activist at Electronic Frontier Foundation . We also reviewed research conducted by Russell Barkley, PhD , an internationally recognized authority on ADHD and ADD.

To-do list apps are for everyone. Having a bunch of tasks awaiting you can be overwhelming, but research (PDF) suggests they’re less likely to fall through the cracks if we make a plan to do them—even if it’s something as simple as jotting it down on a to-do list. Whether you’re prone to forgetting appointments, constantly missing deadlines, or you just need a grocery list to avoid picking up another package of salami every time you go to the store, a to-do list app is an effective way to make sure you never miss the big or small stuff.

But to-do list apps do more than just throw all your tasks onto a screen. They can help to alleviate the stress of wading through all your work and the fear of potentially missing something. Since 2020, the APA has reported that the average monthly stress level among all adults was a 5 out of 10. Wright told us work and money are the two primary stressors for Americans, and in 2022, nearly 40% of adults said they couldn’t bring themselves to do anything when they felt stressed out. These apps won’t singlehandedly lower your stress levels, but they can help you make the most of your task list and be more efficient—which, in turn, can help you feel physically and mentally healthier.

Barkley emphasized the importance of using a paper journal and a time-tracking device to stay on top of tasks in a 2009 lecture (video) , noting that “because anything you agree to do or anything others ask you to do is to be immediately written in that journal, and that journal is welded to your body. That is your working memory.”

But Barkley was speaking just two years after Apple unveiled the first iPhone . Today, the one thing nearly everyone has welded to their bodies is a smartphone, and a multitude of apps serve as journals and time trackers without leaving you saddled with the conundrum of actually remembering to read what you’ve written down. (But if you prefer to go the analog route, we’ve got plenty of planner and notebook recommendations.)

A good to-do list app shouldn’t monopolize time you could be spending getting your work done, and the best is flexible enough to evolve with a changing workflow and allow for simple, information-dense tasks. A bad one makes it difficult to organize and complete tasks and slowly chips away at your ability to get anything done as your pile of unfinished tasks looms over you.

To find the best options, we looked for apps that met our standards in the following areas:

  • Intuitive design and ease of navigation: We only considered apps with interfaces that are visually pleasing and easy to navigate and that can sync up regardless of which device you use to update your to-dos. Based on the advice of C. Vaile Wright, senior director of healthcare innovation at the APA, we required the apps we tested to offer basic features (like tasks, subtasks, and projects or lists) and noted which ones made it easiest to get through our to-dos.
  • Calendar integration: Apps that integrate with your existing calendar, whether by showing the day’s events above your daily tasks or having a separate calendar tab, give a better overview of all the information you need to effectively triage your workload. Some apps also now offer two-way calendar syncing, so your appointments and to-dos show up side-by-side. No app we tested integrates external calendars perfectly, but some do it better than others.
  • Collaboration: A majority of American adults ( about 87% ) live with other adults, so it’s important that these apps offer collaborative capabilities for divvying up chores, tracking progress on shared projects, and keeping tabs on bill payments. When possible, we looked for effective cross-platform integration, so if you live in a household that uses both Apple and Android devices, you can still work together. Real-time syncing and notifications are also important for knowing when another user has added to a list or completed a task.
  • Reminders: Even the best to-do list app can’t bring structure to your life if you never check the dang thing. Reminders surface tasks based on due date or location when you need them so nothing ever slips through the cracks.
  • Price: Whether up-front or subscription-based, paid to-do list apps add features that may be worth the extra expense for some people. Still, all else being equal, a lower price is better, and free is best. We dug into each app’s free and paid plans and gauged if their free tiers provided enough features to get by.
  • User experience: We only tested apps that had mobile and desktop functionality. In addition to general navigability, we looked for customization tools—but not so many that they’d overwhelm users—and accessibility features. Because some forms of visual impairment can make it uncomfortable to look at minuscule fonts, bright colors, or large blocks of white over black text, we noted whether apps offered adjustable font sizes and dark modes. We also considered their privacy and data policies, as well as the apps’ overall quality; red flags included poor user reviews, customer support issues, infrequent updates, and shady pricing tactics.
  • Input method: We preferred apps that let us quickly create lists, tasks, and subtasks without too much fiddling or confusing syntax. Features such as voice input, smart assistant integration, and natural language input and processing helped us seamlessly toss tasks where they needed to go.

To-do list apps mean different things to different users—to some, they’re for project management, while for others, they’re for tracking everything from the contents of the fridge to the kids’ soccer practices. That’s why we began this process by sifting through reader feedback and examining user reviews and expert coverage from other media outlets, including PCMag , CNET , TechRadar , and Apple Insider .

Kaitlin, the author of this guide, also polled 11 to-do list app users on their primary uses for these apps and their most valued features and functions. This left us with over 20 to-do list and project management apps to consider.

Once we had our final list of candidates, we fiddled with the apps’ settings on Apple, Android, and Windows PC devices, organized them to reflect our routines, and tracked how effectively they helped us stay on-task. We first evaluated how well we could get by using an app’s free plan when applicable, then upgraded when necessary to determine if the experience and features were worth the price.

We tested each app on its ability to perform basic functions, calendar integration, reminders, and collaboration capabilities without the assistance of other applications like Zapier or IFTTT. Specifically, we noted how much friction an app added to or removed from each day’s workflow.

A smartphone displaying a to-do list in the app Todoist.

Todoist is the best to-do list app because, despite its minimalist appearance, it’s powerful without being overwhelming. Navigation is a breeze with this app, thanks to this its intuitive interface, and it offers lots of useful tools and tutorials to help new users learn the ropes without sucking up too much of their time. It even has a newly launched AI Assistant for performing tasks. As with every app we tried, this one’s calendar capabilities weren’t perfect, but it integrates with pretty much any calendar you use.

It’s easy to get started. Todoist provides a thoughtful user experience from the moment you make an account. To start, it asks questions about your familiarity with to-do list apps (beginner, intermediate, and expert) and what you’ll use the app for (including personal, business, and education).

Whether you’re on mobile or desktop—or, honestly, even the web app—it’s quick to get the lay of the land, as Todoist seems to anticipate your initial moves and any questions you may have as you navigate. And though it has plenty of templates to help you get started, you don’t have to use them. Unlike other apps we tested, such as Notion, Todoist isn’t dependent on templates to have a positive, successful experience.

It’s reliable, customizable to your needs, and a pleasure to use. Todoist offers reliable automatic syncing across devices, and it works well online and offline, syncing just a bit quicker than TickTick, our budget pick. It’s customizable without being overwhelming, thanks to organizational features like color coding, themes, and other app integrations.

Todoist is also compatible with a variety of project management and organization techniques, such as the Getting Things Done method , the Pomodoro Technique , the Eisenhower Matrix , and the KonMari method . Completing tasks and subtasks is genuinely enjoyable, with a satisfying click, a charming chime, and even a burst of confetti that provides a motivational serotonin boost.

A screenshot from the to-do list app Todoist.

Adding new tasks is simple. The talk-to-text input method makes it easy to switch between typing and dictating. Its natural language input was a very close second to that of TickTick, with just a few more errors. When writing “work out for 60 minutes today at 12:30,” Todoist caught the time of day but not the duration, despite the in-app tutorial indicating that this should work. Similarly, setting reminders using Siri was tricky—you had to say phrases just right, or it got confused.

That said, these minor hiccups didn’t really detract from our experience, as evidenced by the app’s top scores in our UI tests. And the layout is even more focused, thanks to a November 2023 update that included a bottom navigation bar, Quick Add and Quick Find features, and a ring around your profile picture that tracks your progress toward your daily completed tasks goal ( if you’ve set one ). The sidebar is also customizable—you can even hide it if you want, though this may lead to Projects being out of sight and, therefore, out of mind.

A screenshot from the to-do list app Todoist.

The interface is straightforward and intuitive. Todoist’s modern, uncluttered design is as easy on the eyes as it is on the brain. Any wayward tasks are automatically dropped into your inbox. So you can always check (and double-check) there to ensure nothing has fallen through the cracks and move them to your Projects later. Tasks can be itemized within different Projects and can be customized with color coding and 150 filter views.

Sorting Projects and to-dos is as simple as dragging and dropping—which is also helpful if you need to move tasks from one project to another—or moving things around in the settings menu. You can also select a priority of 1 to 4 for each task (with 4 being the least important and 1 being the most) and then sort by priority. This app has more-limited text formatting options than our other picks, but it has other accessibility features, such as multiple color themes, including dark mode, and 18 language options , which is double the amount offered by Things 3 but about half the amount offered by TickTick.

It’s powerful and feature-packed. Todoist’s simple layout belies the depth of its feature list and the sheer amount of stuff you can do with it—not to mention what it can do for you. Pro subscribers can import tasks from their email and add widgets on Apple and Android devices. Notifications always reliably go through and are stored in the app under a little bell icon, as well, so you can always go back and check them later to ensure you didn’t miss anything.

A screenshot from the to-do list app Todoist.

We were particularly delighted by the ability to set personal goals that grow the more you use the app. For example, our goal for the first day was to complete five tasks. Checking them off was very motivating, thanks to pie charts that filled up as we got closer to our goal. The Smart Quick Add feature maximizes the helpfulness of labels, as you can just type “@labelname” to tag a task.

Todoist even has an AI Assistant, which sets it apart from our other picks. And unlike other AI-enabled apps we tested, like Motion , it was more of a supplemental feature than a necessity to get full functionality out of the app.

You can bring a friend (or 24). Todoist’s Beginner plan limits you to five guest users , which isn’t too bad compared with TickTick’s two and Things 3’s zero. But it’s a pittance compared with Todoist Pro, which allows up to 24 guest collaborators on projects. Users can easily share Projects (like grocery lists) with others via email by clicking the sharing option up top.

Assigning tasks and subtasks is equally user-friendly with the embedded drop-down menu, and we liked that you can assign while waiting for collaborators to accept invites for an uninterrupted workflow. You can add, edit, tag other users, and emoji react to comments. However, this could still be a little more streamlined, and we wished the app had the ability to thread responses. Deleting comments was easy, and we appreciated that Todoist asked us to confirm before zapping them out of existence.

The Pro plan is worth it—and fairly priced for what you get. For $5 monthly or $48 annually, Todoist Pro gives you an impressive amount of features. Unlike free users, who can only get notifications via email and set due dates, paying subscribers can add task durations, get access to more themes and custom views, and have a higher file upload capacity. Pro users also get access to unlimited reminders: As soon as you add a task, you can implement reminders, making them recurring, based on your location or based on the morning or afternoon.

Customer service is a cut above the average. Considering you’re paying a fee, we were happy to see the customer service is better than what you get from totally free apps. Todoist has an array of troubleshooting capabilities, including a forum for questions, a help page, and a customer support contact page.

After using the latter to ask a question of its support team, we had to answer a few automatically generated questions to get to the correct contact form, but that was the worst of it. Once we submitted a query, we were immediately issued a ticket, and we received an emailed response within three business days containing straightforward advice and supplemental tutorials.

You can try Pro before you buy it, but it’s not straightforward. Technically, Todoist Pro doesn’t have a free trial—essentially, the Beginner plan could be considered a free trial—but there are some workarounds if you want to try before you buy. If you sign up for an annual subscription and cancel within 30 days of purchase or renewal, you can get a full refund. But this doesn’t apply for monthly subscriptions.

Removing the app from our devices didn’t delete our content, and we appreciated that we could cancel an account without having to jump through any hoops, whether on the mobile or desktop app (though the web app is the easiest experience).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

  • You’ll likely need to use Todoist’s paid plan; the free plan is more restrictive than that of TickTick. However, even on the Pro plan only some features are unlimited— Pro users are capped at 300 projects , with 25 users per project. We also don’t love that free plan users are only permitted manual backups, whereas Pro users’ data gets backed up automatically.
  • Despite being our favorite app overall, Todoist is still lacking in some areas. For instance, it integrates with Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and any other calendar that allows you to subscribe with a URL feed . But you can only set up these integrations using the web app, and it’s still not perfect no matter which app you use. We were disappointed to find that our daily calendar events didn’t populate in the app, as they do in TickTick and Things. We were also frustrated that they didn’t disappear when we checked them off in the app—after contacting support, we learned we had to manually enable this option, which could only be done on the web app.

A smartphone displaying a to-do list in the app TickTick.

If you need help staying on task but don’t want to pay for a to-do list app, TickTick is your best choice. It works across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, so you and other users you collaborate with can keep up with your life across all the devices you have now, as well as ones you might get in the future. Not only can you download apps for Apple and Android smartphones, computers, and tablets, but you can even download an Apple Watch app and a web app.

Free users miss out on some features—stuff like more complicated calendar integrations and advanced collaboration tools—but I’ve personally used TickTick for years and never felt like I was limited. Compared with other free to-do list apps we tried, like Microsoft To Do and Google Tasks, it offers a more streamlined experience and a generous amount of features on a wider range of platforms. But should you decide to pay for the Premium plan, it’s still cheaper than Todoist while offering similar features.

A screenshot from the to-do list app TickTick.

You can hit the ground running. TickTick’s overall learning curve was slightly higher than with Todoist, but it’s leagues ahead of other free options. For some, this app may be a better option for managing tasks over projects, as lists can be out of sight, out of mind, and syncing between apps was somewhat delayed. But we appreciated the app’s thoughtful suggestions to help us get started, including a Welcome list with task samples to help new users get the hang of the app and learn more about its capabilities.

We liked TickTick’s ability to grow from a basic list of tasks to a curated set of projects, each with self-contained tasks. You can have as little or as much structure as you’d like thanks to organization features like deadlines, tags, and task prioritization and statuses. Using the Smart Lists feature, you can create custom filters to only show the tasks you absolutely need to see, without having to keep them all in the same place.

This flexibility nudges TickTick ahead of the organization that our also-great pick, Things 3, offers, putting it on par with Todoist. This app also stands out for its built-in habit tracker —through which you can employ reminders that encourage you to do things like water the plants—and Pomodoro timer. Attaching files is very intuitive, as well, with the ability to include photos, documents, and even recordings.

A screenshot from the to-do list app TickTick.

It’s laid out well and pretty to look at. With a charming interface, TickTick’s design is attractive, easy to navigate, and consistent across different platforms. The mobile and desktop apps had somewhat different layouts and functionality, but both made lists feel less like a stack of obligations and more like a neatly laid out garden you can tend to with ease.

For personalization that isn’t too overwhelming, organizational features include color coding, templates, integrations, and even customizable app icons. The default font size can seem pretty small on mobile, but you can adjust it to your preference—plus other accessibility features like dark mode (regular and auto) and 37 languages.

It’s easy to get the lay of the land quickly, but should you run into issues, its help center has short tutorial videos, troubleshooting articles, and forums with answers to general questions. Getting in touch with TickTick’s customer service was painless, with a contact form that’s easy to find. Filling out the form felt more complicated than necessary, but we were issued a ticket immediately after making a support request and a representative contacted us within one business day.

Its natural language input and calendar integration were the best of any app we tried. Telling TickTick, “Turn in draft to editor at 3 on Monday” magically becomes a task with the correct deadline, thereby easing the friction of getting tasks from your brain into the app before they have a chance to slip your mind. As you enter new tasks, you can easily augment them with tags, due dates, and priorities. You can also add new tasks via Siri on iOS, though it wasn’t as seamless as with Things 3. We had to say commands just right or else it would get a bit discombobulated.

TickTick’s Subscribed Calendars view is a useful overview of your daily responsibilities and commitments, blending them together in one place. This is helpful for visualizing your daily schedule, but it may be hard to parse on particularly busy days.

The free plan only offers local calendar integration, meaning it links with whatever calendar you’re using on your device, but this wasn’t an issue for us. Any adjustments you make to items in either TickTick or your calendar show up in both apps, though you may need to close the apps completely and reopen them before seeing reflected changes.

It offers powerful, customizable reminders. TickTick’s reminders can be set to show up at a particular time, date, and frequency before the task’s due date. Even on the free plan, you can set daily, weekly, weekdays, monthly, yearly, and even location-based reminders, which can be snoozed, dismissed, or marked as done depending on your workflow. Recurring reminders let you push repeating tasks out of your brain and trust you’ll get alerts when you need them. And you can pick and choose which notifications you want to get, which can be especially helpful if you don’t want your phone blowing up over every little change.

You’ll find limitations elsewhere, though: You can’t set task durations, or multiple reminders for tasks (or any reminders at all for subtasks). And the constant reminders feature is the most persistent of any we tested, but it’s only available for paying subscribers. That said, we didn’t miss these features in everyday use.

It offers robust collaboration capabilities. As with Todoist, sharing projects with others is simple—you can send lists to a collaborator’s email or download and send as an image or text using the built-in sharing feature. Assigning tasks and subtasks to collaborators can easily be done while still waiting for them to accept your initial invite, and adding comments and emoji reactions and tagging users is equally straightforward, but we couldn’t thread comments, and deletion is permanent. However, with the free version, collaboration is limited to two people. This is fine if you live in a two-person household, but may be insufficient for larger families, people with multiple roommates, or group projects.

If you want to upgrade, the paid version is nearly on par with our top pick (and a little cheaper). For about $4 monthly or $36 annually, TickTick Premium gets you additional lists, tasks, and subtasks, as well as access to custom smart lists and filters, more sharing features, white noises, premium themes and fonts, subtask reminders, activity tracking, and use statistics. You can add more and larger file attachments and expand your productivity with capabilities like setting start and end times for tasks and unlimited use of features like the Eisenhower Matrix . The paid plan also offers supplemental daily, three-day, weekly, and monthly calendar views.

If you want to take TickTick Premium for a test drive, you can—kind of. Though its Payments and Upgrade help page doesn’t explicitly say you can get a free trial, you can apply for a refund within 14 days of purchasing from Apple, Google, or TickTick. (Just be sure you’ve canceled your subscription first to avoid getting charged, or else it’ll auto-renew.) You’ll be reverted back to the restrictions of the free plan after canceling, but it won’t erase any data or content created while you were a Premium subscriber.

A smartphone displaying a to-do list in the app Things 3.

If Todoist and TickTick are the Lexus and Honda of to-do list apps, then Things 3 is the Mercedes—once again, you can’t underestimate the power of German engineering. If you do all of your work on Apple devices and don’t collaborate often with others, this app offers the best user interface and overall experience. In particular, its calendar integration was among the best of all the apps we tested, and its simple yet powerful organization made sifting through each task a breeze.

But this app isn’t without its limitations. Its natural language support is limited and finicky, it doesn’t have any collaborative capabilities to speak of, and the app itself doesn’t allow for recurring or location-based reminders—which can be a dealbreaker if you’re prone to forgetting to take care of things while out and about. It also isn’t available for Windows and Android devices and costs a flat fee per device ($10 for the iPhone and Apple Watch apps, $50 for Macs, and $20 for iPads).

It’s easy to navigate . Creating an account is simple using your preferred email (iCloud, Gmail, etc.) to sign up for Things Cloud , which you can turn on under the Settings menu. An account isn’t required to use Things 3, but be aware that the app will be wiped if you remove it from your device without being backed up to an account.

You can also create accounts using separate emails—such as a work email to use the desktop app on a business MacBook and a personal email for your iPhone—but using Things 3 for both personal use and work can be a pain. You’ll need to be signed in with the same email if you want your tasks and projects to carry over across your different devices.

Once you’re logged in, Things 3 provides straightforward explanations showing what to do and where to go. The mobile and desktop apps work well offline, with effective real-time syncing and no lagging.

The interface is simple, efficient, and good-looking . With no custom filters or search views, Things 3 isn’t as customizable as other apps we tested. But everything is laid out plainly, with enough personalization to help keep things tidy and delightful animations that bring the app to life while making it easy to find your place. You also can fluidly switch between typing and using text-to-speech, and the Quick Entry feature was a nice addition. Other special features, like incorporation with Shortcuts and templates, further expand Things 3’s reach.

A screenshot from the to-do list app Things 3.

Completed items are transferred to your Logbook, a helpful record that’s synced across devices, aside from subtasks, which gray out after you’ve checked them off and remain within the task until it is completed. You can also search for tasks throughout the app using your Inbox, which collects unassigned tasks and thoughts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our experience using Siri and widgets with Things 3 was also better—nearly seamless, in fact—than with our other picks.

Its layout is incredibly well organized. Things 3’s desktop app has a clean, minimalist interface that is relatively straightforward to navigate. The mobile app, meanwhile, is equally simple—possibly even a little too simple. Because Things 3 has so much to offer, you may experience some hiccups in terms of intuitiveness, but overall, its learning curve was gentle, and it’s by far the easiest to use and most comprehensive of the Apple-exclusive to-do list apps we tested.

A screenshot from the to do list app Things 3.

This app organizes everything into a hierarchy of Areas > Projects > Headings > Tasks. Areas represent different parts of your life, like work, health, travel, and home responsibilities. Under each Area, you can set up Projects for things like long-term projects or all the stuff you promised your friends you’d take care of. Each Task can even have subtasks, in the form of checklists.

This structure allows for clear organization that’s quick to navigate. Creating lists and tasks was straightforward, and while creating subtasks was a little less intuitive, it was still easy enough to figure out. If you’re really detail-oriented, you can create Headings under each project without having to dive into separate pages for each category.

A screenshot from the to-do list app Things 3.

Within these branches, you can add color-coding, themes, and automatic tagging to help organize things even further. It even has neat little progress bubbles next to each project that fill up as you check off more tasks within the project.

It integrates seamlessly with Apple Calendar. This makes it the best all-encompassing hub for everything Apple users need to address on a given day. In the Today and Upcoming tabs, you’ll see all of your scheduled events for the day ahead with enough visual distinctions to be discernible but not cluttered. This is particularly useful for visualizing daily and monthly schedules (though weekly schedules were a bit harder to parse). In fact, it was way more organized than TickTick’s Subscribed Calendars tab—we just wish it had Todoist’s two-way calendar syncing capabilities.

If you don’t use Apple Calendar, no worries—you can link your other calendars, like Google Calendar, to Apple Calendar and all your events will carry over. In fact, we found this integration allowed us to automatically import all our calendar events into Things 3, even while logged into multiple calendar accounts.

It has a steep up-front price, but some may prefer it to a subscription. Unlike many other popular to-do list apps, Things 3 is a one-time purchase that can feel a little pricey, especially since you have to pay a different fee for each device. But once you take the plunge, you will always have access to Things 3. The Mac desktop price—currently $50—works out to about the cost of 10 months of Todoist Pro. And though you need to buy the iOS app separately to keep Things 3 on your phone, it’s a more manageable $10.

You can get a 15-day free trial for the desktop app, which is on the short side but still the best we’ve experienced. It doesn’t require a credit card, instead showing a reminder up top of how many days you have left, and the app simply stops working at the end of the trial if you opt not to pay.

Support is responsive enough. Developer Cultured Code maintains a forum for questions, plus an on-site contact form if you need to speak to a person. The company is located in Germany, and its response times are limited to Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. When we reached out with a question, we were pleasantly surprised to receive an email response within a day. The representative’s thorough response even linked out to a supplemental tutorial article on the Things 3 forum for additional assistance.

We previously included OmniFocus in this guide as a competition option with a robust selection of features and customizability, but held off on retesting it ahead of the impending release of OmniFocus 4. After several delays,  the app was released prior to the publication of this guide in December 2023 , and we look forward to possibly reconsidering and testing it in a future update.

This is not a comprehensive list of all to-do list apps we’ve tested. We have removed those that are discontinued or no longer meet our criteria.

Beehive Innovation’s 2Do is one of the most customizable apps we considered. Unfortunately, it lags behind its competitors with less functionality, a longer learning curve, and fewer regular, significant updates. If you can get past those hurdles, 2Do may be worth it as a more customizable and affordable alternative to Things 3.

GoodTask came in close second to Things 3 for Apple devotees, but it just fell short. If Things 3 is a luxury brand, GoodTask is a Class 1 knockoff—they’re nearly identical, but GoodTask just slightly misses the mark in terms of quality. It’s essentially a beefed-up version of Apple Reminders (which you need to get full functionality). That’s not necessarily a negative, if you just want to supercharge something you’re already familiar with. But it feels more like an add-on than a to-do list app that could be used on its own.

Google Tasks ( Android , iOS ) is a fine, free option if you actively use other Google apps and services, like Google Keep. But compared with our picks, we found its interface too simple, with no desktop app or web app and limited features.

Microsoft To Do isn’t a bad to-do list app—it’s just that Todoist and TickTick are much better. As far as free apps go, it’s leagues ahead of Google Tasks, with more features and a cleaner interface. But it’s just a little less polished than many of its competitors, and certain functions were only available on either the mobile or the desktop app, not both.

A productivity TikTok darling, Motion offers everything you could want on paper, but the actual user experience was a classic case of over-promising and under-delivering. This app’s main appeal is its AI auto-scheduler. It’s great when it works, but most of the time we found it was simply clunky and complicated to use. The subscription is also way too expensive for what you get—yes, it’s cheaper than hiring a personal assistant, but the onboarding process is just as time-consuming.

Notion is a good choice if you want a customizable app that allows you to start from scratch and fully make it your own, but it’s very barebones. The AI assistant ( $8 per month after a free trial) and a trove of downloadable templates can help you spend less time fumbling around in the app, but it’s annoying that they’re more or less required to compensate for the base app’s lack of features and poor navigation.

Jordan McMahon contributed reporting. This article was edited by Ben Keough and Erica Ogg.

Meet your guide

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Kaitlin Mahar

Kaitlin Mahar is a staff writer for Wirecutter’s Deals team. Her byline has appeared in Delish, Esquire, and Town & Country. When she’s not hunting for deals and fiercely defending the Oxford comma, she’s a proud cat parent, an avid yogi, and a co-producer and co-host of the podcast Crime Culture . Please tell your pets and grandparents she says hi.

Further reading

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  • How to prioritize tasks in 4 steps (and ...

How to prioritize tasks in 4 steps (and get work done)

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Tired of your never-ending task list and watching your priorities get pushed to the side? Learn how to create a task list, choose a prioritization strategy, schedule your tasks, and communicate with your team to increase productivity and get things done.

If you’re like most people, you usually start your workday with the intention of being as productive as possible. Yet, as the day rolls on, you find yourself fielding multiple urgent requests and watching your task list grow. What you initially set out to accomplish seems to get pushed to the side.

Create a task list  

Choose a prioritization method to organize your tasks 

Schedule your tasks in a calendar 

Communicate your progress to your teammates

Take a look at our tips below and use these steps to help you prioritize your daily tasks at work.

1. Create a task list

You can’t decide how to prioritize tasks if you don’t have a single view of everything you need to get done in the first place. This may seem rudimentary, but it’s something that’s often skipped in the rush to dive into projects. Instead, take the time to list out what you need to work on across all of your projects. Be sure to break down bigger tasks into subtasks to feel less overwhelmed.

Once your tasks are aggregated and listed, add additional information, such as:

The amount of time each will take to complete 

Level of importance or urgency

With all of your tasks in one place, you’ll be able to see an overall view of what needs to be done, get a sense of how much work you’re dealing with for time management purposes, and what most likely needs your attention now.

Don’t worry about organizing your tasks quite yet; just get them all in the same spot to start. Creating a master list of tasks is a crucial first step, because if you can organize yourself at the beginning of a project or quarter, it is much easier to stay organized for a longer period of time.

Asana tip: My Tasks is a feature of Asana that automatically aggregates all the tasks assigned to you in a single view. It serves as the master checklist that keeps you focused on the right pieces of work and allows you to organize and prioritize tasks based on due date.

2. Adopt a task prioritization method

How you ultimately prioritize your tasks will depend on the nature of your job and your personal work style, but there are common task prioritization methods that might work for you. Let’s take a look at a few effective methods for prioritizing tasks.

[inline illustration] Task prioritization methods (infographic)

Eat the frog

The eat the frog method is not a literal suggestion, but rather a system based on a quote from the ever-wise Mark Twain. He said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” In the world of project management , that translates to tackling big or complex tasks first before moving on to less important or time-sensitive tasks.

Important tasks that serve the highest purpose and are tied to top-level objectives or OKRs should be first on the priority list when you start your day. Once you’ve eaten your frog for the day, you can slot in other tasks based on factors such as deadlines and feel less stress, since your most important work is already done.

Eat the frog example: Finish up that big presentation you’ll be making to the management team at the end of the week before you reply to emails, work on your review form, call clients, or iron out contract revisions. By diving into a big project before doing anything else, you won’t lose focus or get distracted by random tasks or questions, and you’ll be able to knock a big piece of work out more easily.

Eisenhower Matrix

Another prioritization technique, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix or Urgent-Important Matrix, starts by organizing tasks into four quadrants, based on whether they are:

Important and urgent

As a five-star general during World War II and then President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower was adept at making important decisions quickly, and came up with this method to help him.

This approach helps you decide:

What to do now (important and urgent)

What you need to plan for (important but not urgent)

What you may be able to delegate (not important but urgent)

What you can possibly delete (not important and not urgent) 

It is a great tool for prioritizing tasks, making decisions quickly, and staying organized.

Eisenhower Matrix example: A colleague has just sent you an email asking for help with a sales presentation. This request is urgent because it has to be done today, but is it important enough (to you) to postpone other work? 

Measure each of the tasks on your own daily list for importance and urgency to decide whether you can shift tasks to help your colleague, or if it needs to be deferred to later. Knowing your commitments also helps you say “no” when you need to.

ABCDE method

The ABCDE method is comparable to giving grades to your tasks, from A (very important) down to E (eliminate whenever possible). 

To use the ABCDE method: 

Take that task list you’ve created

Assign each task a letter value according to its level of importance, with A tasks being top priority and E tasks being low priority  

Tackle tasks accordingly 

This method offers a way to quickly weigh task importance to help you identify your highest-priority tasks. Make sure you’re always working on your A and B tasks first, because those are the ones that will make or break your success at work.

The ABCDE method also works well when combined with eat the frog. If you start your day off with your A and B tasks, then you can spend the rest of your day on tasks of lower importance, like C, D, and E.

ABCDE example: You have eight working hours available today, but fifteen hours’ worth of tasks on your list. When you give each task a letter, only two qualify as A tasks, and most are D tasks that you can delegate or reschedule. Now you know to focus only on those A tasks, and leave the D tasks until later or pass off to another team member. You’ve just gone from being overwhelmed to having a prioritized task list that focuses on the must-do items of the day.

Most Important Task Method

The Most Important Task (MIT) method is an effective and simple strategy for prioritizing daily tasks that have a significant impact on the whole business. Each day, MIT selects between one and three key tasks that need to be completed by the end of the day. These tasks are not just any to-do list items but are specifically chosen for their significance in advancing towards your long-term goals.

Incorporating at least one MIT that is relevant to your mission ensures that you take practical steps toward reaching it on a daily basis. Although you're likely to complete more than these selected tasks, focusing on your MITs from the start of the day and setting a deadline for them ensures that you set aside time each day to tackle tight deadlines and urgent tasks.

Most Important Task example: Consider an architectural firm where the day's MIT is to finalize blueprint modifications for a client’s project. Amid numerous important tasks, this particular MIT is chosen because it directly influences the project's timeline and client satisfaction. By setting this as the priority, the team ensures that, despite the whirlwind of daily activities and potential for procrastination, the most important task of refining the blueprints is completed by the end of the day.

For the chunking method , a chunk is defined as a focused work activity. It can be self-contained ( emptying your inbox ), a slice of a larger project (completing the first draft of a document), or a collection of small, unrelated tasks. Your key here is to make these chunks focused, uninterrupted blocks of time .

Turn off outside distractions and signal to others that you are unavailable by:

Taking advantage of features on collaboration tools like Do Not Disturb  

Using time blocking to reserve spots on your calendar for deep focus

Implementing a No-Meeting Wednesday policy for yourself and your team if you’re able to

Don’t forget to take breaks in between chunks to relax and refresh.

Chunking in action: You might start your day with one hour of design work followed by a coffee break. Then, two hours of scheduled meetings, lunch, and 30 minutes of email response time. Next, you move on to one hour of research for a new project.  

You note all of your activities in your calendar to hold yourself accountable and ensure no one schedules over your plan. You end your day by taking a short social media break, heading to the team update meeting, and then finishing with a final hour of design work.

Asana tip: If you’re using Asana to manage your tasks, you can create custom fields to add additional information, such as a letter grade (if you’re using the ABCDE method), urgency and importance (if you’re using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix), priority level (if you’re going to eat the frog), or estimates on how long it will take to complete.

Agile prioritization

Agile prioritization , also known as Scrum prioritization, is a flexible task management method that allows teams to respond swiftly to changing demands by categorizing tasks according to their value, urgency, and project goals. It's particularly effective in managing dependencies—tasks that are interconnected and may need to be completed in sequence.

Agile prioritization evaluates each item on your to-do list based on three criteria:

How critical is this task?

What is its relative importance to the other tasks on this list?

Is any other task dependent on this one?

Then, using the answers to those questions, you assign each task a number from one to n (where n represents the total number of tasks on your list).

Agile prioritization example: A software team designing an app decides that the user authentication system is critical because it impacts various other systems, such as profile customization and encrypted transactions. Prioritizing this system enables them to develop these interdependent features simultaneously. This strategic focus not only accelerates development but also ensures seamless integration of product-critical features.

3. Use project management software to schedule your tasks

When you're overburdened with tasks, project management software can streamline your day and categorize your to-do list. It allows you to keep track of your most urgent tasks and arrange your workflow so you can get things done without feeling swamped. This type of software allows you to categorize what needs to be done, mark key objectives or milestones, and delegate tasks to others as needed. It's all about making your workload easier to handle.

[inline illustration] Benefits of using a calendar to schedule tasks (infographic)

Project management software with calendar tool integration is particularly helpful. It provides a quick overview of all your projects and tasks, which is good for figuring out when you have a lot to do and when you might have some free time to tackle weekly tasks or anything else that pops up. Tools like Asana can show you this in a clear way, which helps with multitasking and making sure high-value tasks don't get missed.

Using a project management tool enables you to:

Balance high-value and high-priority tasks

Make sure you meet deadlines

Prevent scheduling conflicts

Manage your workload

Preserve work-life balance

If you’re adopting one of the prioritization methods above—or a combination of your favorites—use that framework to help fill your schedule and manage time.

Asana tip: Using the Calendar View in Asana, you’ll be able to spot days when you might be overloaded and also see open blocks of time. Take advantage of this view to shift tasks and spread your work out more evenly. When you proactively manage your calendar, you make certain important tasks receive immediate attention.

4. Communicate task progress with your teammates

Finally, don’t forget to loop in teammates who may be waiting on you to complete a task or vying for some of your time. 

Cut down on the amount of requests you receive by proactively giving teammates status updates on:  

Task progress

When you plan to complete a project 

Any delays or blockers that come up

Instead of constantly responding to requests, you can keep doing your work productively and efficiently.

Asana tip: Asana’s task comments feature lets you share updates and ask follow-up questions directly on a task to keep communication connected with the actual work you’re doing. Or, you can use status updates within a project to notify every stakeholder of your progress on a specific project, not just a task.

Prioritized work is productive work

When you clearly prioritize your work, you can increase productivity, better manage your time, and feel confident that you’ll hit your deadlines—every time.

FAQ: How to prioritize tasks

How do you prioritize work efficiently?

Prioritizing work efficiently involves evaluating tasks based on their urgency and importance. Begin by listing all your tasks, then assess each one for deadlines and their impact on your goals. Use tools like the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks into four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. First, focus on getting things done that are both important and urgent. Then, move on to things that are important but not urgent. Regularly review and adjust your priorities to reflect changes in deadlines or project directions.

How do I create a priority list?

To create a priority list, start by writing down all the tasks you need to complete. Next, assess each task for its urgency (how soon it needs to be done) and its importance (the impact of its completion on your goals or projects). Rank tasks based on these criteria, with tasks that are both urgent and important at the top of your list. Consider using prioritization techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix or ABCDE method to help structure your list. Finally, use time blocking to reserve space on your calendar to complete tasks in order of their priority.

How do I prioritize tasks?

To prioritize tasks effectively, begin by listing all your tasks, then rate each one based on its significance and deadline. You can also try the ABCDE method, where you categorize each task with a letter indicating its priority:

"A" for tasks that are critical and must be done.

"B" for tasks that are important but not as critical.

"C" for tasks that are nice to do but not necessary.

"D" for tasks that can be delegated.

"E" for tasks that can be eliminated.

Always tackle "A" tasks first, as they need immediate action and have the greatest impact on your long-term goals and deadlines. Use tools like to-do lists or digital planners to keep track of your priorities and adjust as needed.

Which task should be first priority?

The task that should be your first priority is one that is both urgent and important. Urgent tasks have impending deadlines that require immediate attention, while important tasks have a significant impact on your goals and projects.

Focusing on tasks that meet both criteria ensures you address critical work that contributes to your objectives, preventing last-minute rushes and the stress of missed deadlines. After completing urgent and important tasks, shift your focus to important but not urgent tasks to maintain progress towards your goals.

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Microsoft To Do: Lists, Tasks & Reminders

Microsoft To Do: Lists, Tasks & Reminders

Got something on your mind get microsoft to do. whether you want to increase your productivity, decrease your stress levels, or just free up some mental space, microsoft to do makes it easy to plan your day and manage your life. with microsoft to do, you can: • stay focused with my day, a personalized daily planner with suggested tasks • get your lists anywhere, on any device • share lists and assign tasks with your friends, family, colleagues, and classmates • personalize your lists with bold and colorful backgrounds • set one-time or recurring due dates and reminders • break your tasks into manageable steps • add notes to any task • attach files up to 25 mb to any task • sync your tasks between outlook and to do • group your lists together by topic or project whether it's for work, school, or home, to do helps you organize and simplify your plans. to do is free and available on all your devices. learn more: https://to-do.microsoft.com follow us on twitter: @microsofttodo need support https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/linkid=2189703 by installing microsoft to do, you agree to the microsoft terms of use: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/linkid=842575, 3/17/2016 5:45:06 pm, https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/linkid=842576.

Task List Templates

The Excel task list templates on this page demonstrate some of the many ways that you can track tasks using a spreadsheet, from simple to do lists to more advanced Gantt charts. These templates demonstrate using icon sets to display priorities, using conditional formatting to display a progress bar, creating a gantt using using a stacked bar chart, and using a check mark to cross out tasks when they've been completed.

Tell me what you think about these templates: Leave a comment on the related blog article " Add Cool Features to Your To Do Lists ."

This Page (contents):

  • Project Task List
  • Simple Task Tracker
  • Task List with Gantt Chart

Task Checklist Template

Printable task list templates, project task list template.

Project Task List Template

License : Private Use (not for distribution or resale)

Description

This spreadsheet demonstrates the use of conditional formatting to highlight the Priority column, to add a progress bar to the % Complete column, and to create a functioning check box via data validation. It also includes columns for entering budget and hours spent on each task.

Update 9/23/2019: Added the Google Sheets version - replaced the icon sets with in-cell checkboxes. Google Sheets does not yet have in-cell data bars (for the % Complete column).

Simple Task Tracker Template

Screenshot of the Task Tracker Template in Excel

This task tracker template demonstrates the use of custom icon sets via conditional formatting to show a priority rating of 1-4 with different color circles. It uses a similar technique for the checkbox in the Done column.

Project Task List with Gantt Chart

Project Task List Template with Gantt Chart

A gantt chart can be created from a task list using a stacked bar chart in Excel. This is a functional template that can be used for real project management tasks, but the primary purpose is to demonstrate how the data table is set up to create the gantt chart.

Screenshot of the Task Checklist in Excel

This task list template demonstrates how to create a checkbox using a data validation drop-down and how to use simple conditional formatting conditions to display HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW priority values. It also uses conditional formatting to change fonts to a gray strike-through when the checkbox is checked.

► How to Insert a Check Mark in Excel (on youtube)!

More Templates For Tracking Tasks

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The Ultimate Guide…

Brought to you by ProjectManager, the online task management tool used to plan over 2 million projects.

Tasks in the ProjectManager list view

What Is a Task List?

Why use a task list, what is task list software, desktop vs online task list software, must-have task list software features, to-do list vs weekly task list vs project task list.

  • How to Manage a Task List in ProjectManager.com

Maintaining Your Task List

More on task management, task lists resources.

A task list is, of course, a list of tasks. Listing out your tasks is a useful exercise that helps you work more efficiently, because you have outlined what you need to do.

Therefore, your task list is a place where all the work needed to complete the project is collected. It can be a personal task list that gathers only your own work, or a team task list that captures the work the group needs to accomplish.

A task list can be more than just a simple list of tasks, though. For example, ProjectManager lets you add priority to tasks to show what tasks need to be completed first. You can also note deadlines, add descriptions of the work, create sub-tasks and even set recurring tasks. Our list view is great for teams managing their work and tracking it in real time, but it’s also a rudimentary schedule or simplified work breakdown structure.

List view in ProjectManager

ProjectManager has robust online task lists so you can manage work with your team— learn more .

Simply, a task list makes big goals appear more achievable by breaking them down into smaller bits.

Writing things down is always helpful. As you assemble your task list, you might notice things that had first escaped you. This gives you a better picture of the whole project and helps you plan to complete it.

There’s also an advantage to task lists when it comes to analyzing your work. By looking back over your task list, you can determine what worked best and what didn’t. Then, when you create a new task list, you can use this knowledge to better organize and execute your work.

Task list software has features that let you organize your work by helping you plan, prioritize and track your progress . It’s designed to help you define each task and tag it for priority, project and more.

Project management training video (7zt8uh5pzt)

Some software solutions offer greater control over your tasks, allowing you to assign them to team members, attach files and even include the costs and resources associated with executing them. Task list tools like this are typically bundled with larger project management software features.

A task list, at its most basic, is just a number of things you have to do, but digital tools have more bells and whistles, save you time and can help you work more productively.

But how do you choose the best task management software for your team? There are pros and cons to both that should be outlined before you make a decision.

Desktop Task List Software

Desktop software applications tend to be pricey, and that cost increases for each team member you want to add to the tool. They do, however, tend to be faster and somewhat more reliable because they aren’t reliant on the speed of your internet connection. If you lose internet connectivity, a desktop tool will still allow you to work which is a big pro.

Online Task List Software

For online applications, there’s always a concern about security. Your work is in the cloud, which means it might not feel as secure, but it’s actually safer than if it resides in one hard drive that can burn out or be corrupted. Pricing is by the subscription model, so you can sign up for what you want.

The biggest difference between the two is that online task list software connects managers and teams, which is especially helpful if you’re working remotely and not all networked in one office. Also, online tools provide real-time data, so you’re reacting to the most current information on the state of the project.

Not all online task list software offerings are the same. When you’re looking for the one that’s right for you, make sure it has these essential features.

Collaboration icon

Connect Teams with Real-Time Tools

Get your teams to work more productively by giving them a collaborative platform where they can communicate in real-time and share documents. Better still, have automated alerts that keep everyone updated by email whenever a comment is made on a task.

Collaborate in real time with ProjectManager's task lists

Manage Your Own Workload

Keep productive by managing your own tasks on a personal to-do list. Look for one that doesn’t have to be shared by the whole team, but allows you space to own your own work. It is also helpful if your to-do list can be shared with others when you’re collaborating.

Manage your personal tasks with ProjectManager's task lists

Know Who’s Working on What and When It’s Due

Manage your work better by not only having a list, but a tool that allows you to assign tasks from it to others on your team. By having a start and finish date you can set the expected duration, which allows team members to know what’s due when, which keeps you on track.

Assign work to your team members with ProjectManager's task lists

Add Documents and Images to Tasks

Attach files to your tasks to have all the important related information right at hand. Look for a tool that has unlimited file storage, which allows you to attach files directly at the task level but also all paperwork that goes along with the project in one central hub.

ProjectManager's task lists allow you to share files in real time

Find What You Need Fast and Easy

Put tags on your tasks to better organize your work. You want tags that will detail the priority of the tasks, of course, but it’s also helpful to have tags that identify the project, department and other details that will make them easier to search.

ProjectManager's task lists have tags and filters that allow you to better communicate with your teams

See the Smaller Tasks & Set Recurring Ones

Know your sub-tasks when you look at your task list. Not all task lists go into the detail you get when planning on a Gantt chart. Task list software that has subtasks gives you more information, which helps you get organized and better execute the work. If the task repeats throughout the project, save time and see recurring tasks to avoid busy work.

ProjectManager's task list view showing subtasks

“Task list” and “to-do list” are often used interchangeably. Sometimes, you’ll even hear it referred to as a project task list. Then there are weekly task lists, which seems self-explanatory. While all these terms are similar in concept and share many aspects, there are some key differences that are important to know.

A to-do list is often more personal than professional. It tends to be the shopping list stuck to your refrigerator door. In fact, to-do lists are often even more specific than a grocery list in that they tend to organize only a day.

Weekly Task List

A weekly task list is used to expand on the scope of the to-do list. It’s not a bunch of items that must be completed during the day, but rather a more long-term look at bigger projects. That is, they’re milestones. Milestones in projects mark the end of one phase and the beginning of the next, but they can also be used to note important dates or work.

Project Task List

This brings us to the project task list, which is usually more professional and robust in what it aims to do. It’s like a to-do list, in that there can be daily work included in it, and it’s like a weekly task list in that it usually has milestones, too. But it is more collaborative. There are other stakeholders involved. It’s going to have more features and the due dates will be less flexible. It’s the tool preferred by businesses working on projects because it works harder to organize.

How to Manage a Task List in ProjectManager

ProjectManager is an award-winning tool that organizes your task to help you work more productively. A full project management software, task list features are seamlessly integrated into a suite of tools that manage your project from start to finish. To begin managing your task list follow the following steps.

Add or Import Tasks

Creating a task list starts with assembling all the tasks required to fulfill the requirements of your work. Be thorough and include everything, no matter how small, as you can edit it down later.

Import that task list from any spreadsheet or add the tasks manually into the task list project view. There are also industry-related templates to help you get started.

The “Import” screen in ProjectManager

Prioritize Tasks

Having all your tasks is the first step in organizing them. Next, you want to prioritize what must be done when to provide a chronological order. This begins to develop your schedule.

Make a tag for each task to determine the level of priority, from very low to critical. This tells teams what must be done first and also helps you search your task list.

ProjectManager's task list view

Add Due Dates

Every task has a beginning and end date. To build your schedule you must start by estimating the duration of each of the tasks.

Add the dates to our task list. There’s a calendar that allows you to select the dates. Just choose the timeline and save the task.

ProjectManager's task management calendar

Fill Out Details

Tasks are more than priorities and due dates. They are small jobs that need to be executed by the team. Therefore, you need a space in which to provide directions and more.

Fill the field for descriptions and add directions on executing the task. Then attach any relevant documents or images directly to the task so your team can consult them as necessary.

A screenshot of adding a start and end date on a task in ProjectManager

Assign, Track & Add Recurring Tasks

When your task list is complete, you need to execute it or assign that work to your team. Once the work begins, you’ll need to track its progress to make sure you’re on schedule.

Use the pulldown menu to assign the task to the appropriate team member. Track their progress on the real-time dashboard, team page, with one-click reporting and more.

If the task repeats, set up a recurring task by updating the recurrence settings on the task card. You can find it under the task name between the due date and priority.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Once you’ve created your task list, you can’t just sit back and reap the benefits. A task list is a living document and requires occasional maintenance. Maintenance, in this instance, is more than simply crossing out those tasks you’ve completed. You always need to look over your task list, reevaluate your priorities and edit as needed.

Best Practices

Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of your task list.

  • Be as thorough as possible. It’s easier to delete than add, so add everything no matter how small to capture everything you have to do in one place. If you need to edit, you can trim down the list to only essentials.
  • Assign each task with a number to identify it. This helps you when referencing the task, and facilitates communication when the task list is shared with a team. It also makes it easier to search for if you have an extensive task list.
  • Divide your task list into different categories. You’ve already done this in terms of priority, but that’s only one category. You might want to organize it by project phase or by which department or team is responsible for executing that task. This allows you to keep track of your work and check on its status so nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Turn your task list into a graph, such as a timeline chart. This lays out all your work chronologically on a horizontal timeline and provides you with perspective. This view can help you better plan your schedule, as you’re seeing every task in relation to the larger deadline.

Things to Avoid

It should be clear what is needed to make a task list, but it deserves reiterating. There are shortcuts you might take to just get everything on paper, but it’ll be a problem down the line.

  • Not estimating the duration of the task. Without a time estimation , your task isn’t part of the larger project schedule and can bog you down when you don’t have the time to spare.
  • Using different methodologies/mediums. You might start with a list on paper, then decide you need a more dynamic digital tool and finally land on an online application. If you’re testing the waters, that’s fine, but you don’t want to have bits and pieces of your work floating around all over the place. Once you’ve measured the pros and cons, make a decision and stick with it.
  • Don’t make your task list the day you’re starting to do that work. Some people like to start the day with a task list, but it takes time away from work, which dings your productivity, and could be just procrastinating. It’s better to end the day by looking towards the coming day (or week or month) and gathering up your work then. That way you can start the day running.
  • Don’t be too unrealistic. A task list is a working document, not a wish list. Keep it loaded with achievable goals. To determine what is realistic and what isn’t, you can use the SMART technique , which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results and timeframe. It’ll help you know what you can and can’t do.

Task lists are not the only way to manage tasks, of course. There’s a whole field devoted to this discipline called task management . This expands on the task list to include assigning, collaborating, tracking and reporting on the work.

For example, a kanban board is a visual tool that is used to make work more efficient. Tasks are represented by cards, which move from column to column as they pass through the production cycle. This allows teams to manage their backlog and plan sprints, while managers have transparency into their process.

ProjectManager's kanban boards are a great alternative to task lists

Gantt charts are a visual tool for planning and scheduling your project. They have a timeline where every task is mapped from start to finish. But Gantts can then break up the larger task into milestones, which indicate when one phase ends and another begins. They also have tools to link task dependencies, those tasks that need to start or finish when another starts or finishes. This avoids bottlenecks later on in your project.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart, showing a task list

If you’re looking for a task list tool that can go the distance, then check out ProjectManager. The tool is fully loaded with all the task management features listed above and more to help you plan, track and report on your project. Stay on track and work more productively by taking this free 30-day trial . Sign up today!

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I Tried 4 To-Do List Methods. Here’s What Worked.

  • Kelsey Alpaio

work task list

…and what didn’t.

There are a lot of methods out there for staying organized. But which method prevails? Over four days, I tried four ways of organizing my to-do list. I tracked my overall productivity and stress levels to see which worked best.

  • Monday: Get rid of your to-do list and instead schedule out your tasks in your digital calendar. This method is good for people who like structure, aren’t afraid of a crowded calendar, and love planning ahead.
  • Tuesday: Keep a running list but do just “one thing” on it. This method is good for daydreamers, multitaskers, and people who are easily distracted.
  • Wednesday: Use a digital task manager. This method is good for techies and people who have A LOT of tasks to organize, or are working on a variety of projects.
  • Thursday: Make three lists, one for immediate tasks, one for future tasks, and one for tasks you’re never going to get done. This method is good for self-motivated people with competing priorities who love crossing the easy items off their list (a little too much), and don’t need much support to stay focused.

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You know that slimy, green ghost from Ghostbusters ? The one that floats around eating everything in sight?

  • KA Kelsey Alpaio is an Associate Editor at Harvard Business Review. kelseyalpaio

Partner Center

The todo list is such a key component of so many modern productivity and management systems that it's easy to overlook. It's the foundation upon which everything rests and yet is mostly invisible. This guide is about taking a second look at the to do list and viewing it through the same lens we would use on any other productivity system.

We'll go over the best practices of using todo lists and hopefully provide you not only with a greater appreciation of the humble to do list but also provide you with a bit of insight on how to get the most out of this most essential element.

For as simple as a to-do list can appear at first glance, a bit of thinking can go a long way in terms of making it useful. And sometimes, it's really all you need to handle your work, so why complicate things?

How to use a todo list

We've all used to do lists before. But have you taken the time to really consider what you're doing? It seems pretty straightforward. You write things down in a list, you check the list to see what's next, do the thing, then mark is as complete and move on to the next thing. And that's certainly how a lot of people think about and use to-do lists, unaware that there's a bit of nuance to getting the most out of the method.

If you think about it for a moment, there are actually a couple of steps involved if you want to avoid some of the common issues people using todo lists sometimes run into. Things like:

  • Multiple todo lists scattered everywhere
  • Having a list but not knowing what to do next
  • Adding more items to an already overloaded list
  • Not having access to their list when they think of a new todo

To help you avoid these and other problems when using todo lists, we've come up with a simple acronym to remind you of the crucial steps. And who doesn't love a good acronym. CORE, stands for 'capture', 'optimize', 'refine', and 'evaluate'. Let's go through each of the steps and how they work to make to-do lists a powerful method in their own right.

work task list

‍ Capturing in your todo list

This is an obvious but crucial step. Things need to find their way onto your todo list or they'll have zero chance of getting done. That sounds simple enough, but if you don't take the time to think about the practical aspects of it for a second - you might end up with a less than optimum solution.

Make it easy When it comes to capturing to-do's you want to make it as easy as possible for you to add new items to your list. The more friction there is to adding something, the more likely you are to try and remember it rather than add it to your todo list. That's a recipe for forgetting things.

It should also be super easy to add new items. Workflowy makes that easy by being available on the web, via desktop apps, and via mobile apps. no matter where you are or what you're doing, you should always have quick access to your Workflowy account.

There should be a single source of truth that holds all your todos. We recommend you have just a single todo list rather than a bunch of different ones scattered everywhere.

By keeping everything in a single list, you avoid accidentally misplacing items or having to think about where something goes before you capture it. The key here is to make the process of capturing things as simple and effortless as possible - this is how you turn it into a habit.

Not everything that finds its way onto your todo list needs to be done with the same urgency. We want to optimize our list so that the most important and impactful items come first and then everything else. This step is about giving you the confidence to trust the next item on your todo list and not spend time second guessing yourself.

Sort and prioritize You want to have some methodology for sorting items in your list, otherwise it'll be tempting to scan your list, pick whatever feels easiest at the moment and do that instead of what actually matters. In other words, if you don't have a system in place that you trust, then any item on your list is as good as any other item, right? So let's not do that.

There are several prioritization systems available, but we recommend you stick to something simple like 'Eating the frog' or the 'Eisenhower method'.

Eating the frog This is a very simple method where you find the most difficult and important task for the day and put that at the top of your todo list. The idea is that if you can get that out of the way early, it will free up the rest of your day for less important tasks and allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Eisenhower method The Eisenhower method sorts tasks into four categories based on their urgency and importance. It requires a little more effort than simply 'Eating the frog' but can be useful if you don't have a single big task to handle each day but rather lots of smaller activities.

All tasks fall into one of four categories based on whether they are urgent and important. Urgent and important tasks are placed first on your list, next come the important but not urgent, then the urgent but not important, and lastly those that are neither urgent nor important.

work task list

You can simply tag items using four different tags to indicate what type of task they are.

work task list

Another option is to use dividers to group your todos.

work task list

Once you've figured out the order of the things in your todo list, you'll want to make sure every item on there has a clear, actionable step. And if an item doesn't have a clear next step, then you want to break it down.

Divide and conquer Some items on your todo list will really be projects with multiple steps. You want to make sure you list those steps under the item so when you decide to work on it, it's clear what you should be doing. Otherwise you run the risk of seeing a big vague blob of work on your list and deciding to work around it.

work task list

Clarity makes even the most challenging and complex activities as simple as putting one step in front of the other. Anxiety about the unknown is one of the biggest reasons we avoid doing certain things. By proactively listing what those steps are, you make it easy for future you to simply check what the next step is to chip away at the big project.

How granular you should get with your todos is up to you. As long as you break them down to the point where it's clear what your next action should be, you're good.

As time goes on and your list grows, you want to make a habit of evaluating the contents. What tasks have shifted in priority, what tasks should really not be on your list, what tasks are missing.

While it's tempting to just keep adding things to your to-do list, you have to recognize that time is finite and you're simply not going to get to everything - at least not anytime soon. Keeping everything on never-ending list will only serve to make you anxious. This is where you have to be ruthless when it comes to eliminating tasks that you know you're just not going to do.

You have to be realistic with what you're capable of getting done otherwise your todo list goes from being a productivity tool to being a list of nice thoughts. Remember that it's not a list of what you'd like to do but a list of what you're going to do. That means scanning through your list daily and seeing what needs to be removed, added, or moved.

Sometimes the simplest systems are are all we need to stay organized in our day-to-day. By keeping in mind the four simple CORE steps you can upgrade your todo list skills and avoid needing a more complex system. Or if you use to-do lists as part of another system, you'll be better equipped to manage that part of the system - for example the Ivy Lee method .

Far from being just an inbox where tasks pile up, the humble to do list is capable of providing enough structure to be quite useful and lay the foundation for other productivity elements to layer on top of it. Systems like calendars or time management techniques like the pomodoro method or time blocking. So keep the CORE in mind next time you find yourself making a list - it might just be all you need.

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PomodoTask! Boost your productivity with our Pomodoro Technique-powered app. Focus better, organize tasks effortlessly, and manage your time effectively. Download now! Welcome to PomodoTask, where productivity meets simplicity. Combining the power of the Pomodoro Technique with a versatile to-do list, PomodoTask is designed to help you focus on what matters most. Features: Integrated Pomodoro Timer: Stay focused and break your work into manageable intervals with our built-in timer. Customizable To-Do Lists: Organize your tasks with custom lists and prioritize your day effectively. Multi-Language Support: Whether you speak English, Spanish, Turkish, or any other language, PomodoTask speaks your language. No Ads, Just Productivity: Enjoy a distraction-free environment that keeps you focused on your goals. Why PomodoTask? Simple and Clean Interface: Easy to use with no learning curve. Boosts Productivity: Helps you complete tasks faster by encouraging short, intense work periods followed by breaks. Adapts to Your Needs: Flexible settings to tailor the app to your personal productivity style. Download PomodoTask today and transform the way you manage your time!

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17 Stress-Busting Tactics to Crush Your Overflowing Task List

Posted: May 20, 2024 | Last updated: May 20, 2024

<p>It may seem obvious, but creating and sticking to a budget is crucial in breaking free from consumerism. This will help you understand where your money is going and where you can cut back.</p><p>Start by tracking your spending for a month, then categorize it into essentials (like rent, groceries, and bills) and non-essentials (luxuries like eating out and shopping). From there, determine how much you can realistically save each month and stick to it.</p>

Anxiety tends to creep in when it feels like there’s no end to your ever-expanding to-do list, which is common for most of us these days. No matter how many things you check off the list, more things appear.

In our busy, hustle-focused world, you can feel obligated to add so many things to your list that suddenly, you feel stuck in survival mode and far from any semblance of thriving. Want to stop feeling like you’re drowning (especially in work tasks)?

It is critical to have practical strategies in place to regain control and find calm amidst the chaos. Here are 17 ways to tackle your to-do list and reduce anxiety when your tasks seem to be multiplying.

<p>Living luxuriously doesn’t mean having an excess of material possessions. In fact, many wealthy individuals embrace minimalism in order to maintain a clutter-free and stress-free living environment.</p><p>By simplifying your life and only owning things that truly add value, you can save money and feel more fulfilled. And that feels luxurious indeed.</p>

1. Practicing Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk helps you feel calmer and in control by merging kindness with responsibility. Aim for balance to ease your mind because too much responsibility is often linked to increased worry.  Studies  have consistently shown a link between positive self-talk and anxiety reduction.

Here are some practical self-talk tips that you can try as a kickoff:

  • “I’ll focus on what I’m doing right now; that’s my priority.”
  • “I prefer to do more, but I’ll accept what’s realistic.”
  • “What’s the best action for me at this moment?”

<p>Have you ever wondered what it takes to leap ahead in the race of life? What if by starting 15 simple habits today, you could be light years ahead of the average person in the next ten years? Ready to fast-track your life? Let’s begin.</p><p><a href="https://www.newinterestingfacts.com/things-to-start-today-thatll-put-you-ahead-of-the-average-person/">15 Things to Start Today That’ll Put You Light Years Ahead of the Average Person</a></p>

2. Crafting a Manageable To-Do List

For a daily to-do list, aim for 4 or 5 main tasks with some smaller ones in between. Some organizing experts say you should do a certain number each day, while others say there’s no specific number you have to stick to.

Remember to review how long your goals actually take to accomplish, as it can inform future task lists. Regular self-assessment can help you better determine how much you can get done with the available resources and set more realistic short-term goals.

<p>Humans always can develop and learn new skills. We must enhance ourselves to prevent being replaced or feeling bored and stagnant with life. Investing in your skills and education can help you become more valuable in the job market and also increase your ability to earn more.</p>

3. Simplify Your Workspace

A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. Adopt a minimalist workspace with only the necessary tools and items, and keep it organized to minimize distractions. The same can go for other spaces in your life, including your car and home.

<p>Rituals can mark the transition between work and rest, signaling to your <a class="wpil_keyword_link" href="https://www.newinterestingfacts.com/psychological-facts-about-the-brain/" title="brain">brain</a> the start or end of your productive period. Adopting a morning ritual such as exercise, journaling, or a healthy breakfast can prepare your mind for the day’s work- giving your mind space to process before jumping right into the day.</p>

4. Setting a Ritual

Rituals can mark the transition between work and rest, signaling to your brain the start or end of your productive period. Adopting a morning ritual such as exercise, journaling, or a healthy breakfast can prepare your mind for the day’s work, giving it space to process before jumping right into the day.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com.

5. Tracking Time

Sometimes, feeling stressed makes us underestimate our work in relation to time. Try tracking your time to understand how much you genuinely work. This observation can naturally improve habits.

Manage your time rather than letting time manage you. Set specific times for specific activities and stick to them to reduce cognitive load. Time-blocking is an excellent way to encourage hyper-focus and productivity in manageable chunks.

<p>Try not responding to requests outside work hours; it helps create a work-life balance. Most people will understand and respect this. When you respond during work hours, it enables you to prioritize better.</p><p>Instead of assuming urgency, ask when a task is needed. Let people know when you’ll get back to them. Say it clearly, even if something takes two weeks to get done.</p>

6. Setting Boundaries

Avoid responding to requests outside work hours; it helps create a work-life balance. Most people will understand and respect this. When you respond during work hours, it enables you to prioritize better.

Instead of assuming urgency, ask when a task is needed. Let people know when you’ll respond. Say it clearly, even if something takes two weeks to complete.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com.

7. Finding Realistic Paths

Sometimes, we assume things like “I need to work harder than everyone.” These thoughts can stress us out and lead to procrastination. Think about what you believe success requires. When feeling stuck, challenge these beliefs. A  study  found that behaviors tied to perfectionistic concerns like workaholism and procrastination – are linked to more significant anxiety.

Identify assumptions that are stressing you out and replace them with realistic ones. For example, remind yourself that you don’t have to outshine everyone in your group to succeed. Being dedicated and doing your best work is what matters most to achieve success. Experiment with different thoughts to find what feels most genuine and helpful.

<p>When you take time off from work, and everything’s okay, you learn that it’s alright to relax about your tasks. If you want to feel less stressed about work, act calmer.</p><p>You can do this in your own way. Imagine how a calmer version of yourself would act regarding tasks. Then, identify 3 to 5 actions that this relaxed version would take.</p>

8. Take a Break from Stress

When you take time off from work, and everything’s okay, you learn that it’s alright to relax about your tasks. If you want to feel less stressed about work, act calmer.

You can do this in your own way. Imagine how a calmer version of yourself would act regarding tasks. Then, identify 3 to 5 actions that this relaxed version would take.

<p>When you picture yourself completing a task, it can ease your anxiety and make you more excited to do it. This technique creates a mental image of how good it will feel when the task is done. When you start to see the positive outcome, the task seems less daunting and more achievable, and you won’t feel inclined to procrastinate.</p>

9. Imagine Finishing the Job

When you picture yourself completing a task, it can ease your anxiety and make you more excited to do it. This technique creates a mental image of how good it will feel when the task is done. When you start to see the positive outcome, the task seems less daunting and more achievable, and you won’t feel inclined to procrastinate.

<p>A scribe was a vital job, they’re the reason we have many of the ancient scripts today. They’d listen to speeches and manually write down everything. Voice recorders, text-to-speech apps, and word processors have made this an obsolete job.</p><p>The world is evolving, and we must be adaptable and continue to learn and unlearn in today’s ever-changing job market.</p>

10. Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a customizable system that helps organize and prioritize your life. Beyond keeping tasks organized, bullet journaling serves as a mindfulness exercise, requiring you to be present as you reflect on your day and plan out your to-dos.

<p>Multitasking is a myth. When you concentrate on one task before starting another and give your full attention, you can do better quality work and feel more in control of what you’re doing. Doing all at once leads you to feel stressed and overloaded.</p><p>Doing multiple things simultaneously saves time (sometimes), but focusing on one thing at a time often leads to better results and less stress.</p>

11. Ditch Multitasking

Multitasking is a myth. When you concentrate on one task before starting another and give your full attention, you can do better quality work and feel more in control of what you’re doing. Doing all at once leads you to feel stressed and overloaded.

Doing multiple things simultaneously saves time (sometimes), but focusing on one thing at a time often leads to better results and less stress.

<p>Some bosses can be very strict about time off. One employee was already feeling like quitting when he suddenly had the chance to take a trip of a lifetime, requiring three extra days off. The boss denied his vacation request. After thinking about it for a few days, he told his boss he would take the trip no matter what. It resulted in a written warning from HR, which promptly led to him quitting on the spot. They tried to talk him out of it, but the damage was done, and he was out of there. </p>

12. Setting Aside “Worry Time”

Dedicate a specific part of your day to thinking about your concerns or worries. Constricting worries to a particular time helps you gain control over your thoughts and keeps you from internalizing them (aka stuffing them down deep until they explode). This way, you can better handle your tasks and find solutions without worrying about them all day. 

<p>Starfish are beautiful marine creatures with a distinct shape that makes them easy to recognize. But did you know they don’t always have a five-pointed figure? They come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors—and their appearance changes widely based on their species. This is just one of many interesting facts about starfishes you might not know.</p><p><a href="https://www.newinterestingfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-starfishes/">43 Interesting Facts About Starfishes You Might Not Know</a></p>

13. Appreciate Yourself

The constant pressure of a to-do list can motivate us to get to work, but it needs to be balanced with the joy of achievement. Savor the feel-good effect of completing tasks. Treat yourself to every step forward, whether it’s a break you deserve or a special lunch. Remember that each small goal achieved brings you closer to your big dreams!

<p>Mindfulness can ground us in the present moment, helping to reduce anxiety and provide clarity. Take time each day for mindful breathing exercises or meditation to calm your mind and reduce the impact of stressful thoughts.</p><p>You can also apply mindfulness to your work routine by noticing and accepting your thoughts and feelings about your to-do list without judgment.</p>

14. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness can ground us in the present moment, helping to reduce anxiety and provide clarity. Take time each day for mindful breathing exercises or meditation to calm your mind and reduce the impact of stressful thoughts.

You can also apply mindfulness to your work routine by noticing and accepting your thoughts and feelings about your to-do list without judgment.

<p>Narcissists will display arrogance and a haughty demeanor and create a sense of superiority over others. They will insist on having the best of everything at the expense of others and won’t care who they hurt to get it.</p>

15. Delegating and Collaborating

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegating tasks can be more efficient and less stressful. Assign anything that others can do 80% as well as possible, freeing up your time and improving mental health. 

<p>Digital detox means refraining from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers for the time being. Reduced screen time can lead to improved sleep, more meaningful in-person connections, and a decrease in information overload, all of which contribute to a<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s44184-022-00015-6" rel="noreferrer noopener"> reduction in anxiety</a>.</p>

16. Give Yourself a Digital Detox

Digital detox means refraining from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers for the time being. Reduced screen time can lead to improved sleep, more meaningful in-person connections, and a decrease in information overload, all of which contribute to a  reduction in anxiety .

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com.

17. Strengthen Your Support System

Surround yourself with supportive colleagues, friends, and family who can provide encouragement and relieve your anxiety with shared waves of laughter. 

<p>Scared of lagging behind or staying in the same position? Well, let’s talk about it! In this article, we’ll find 12 common traits of unsuccessful people who never do anything with their lives so that you won’t be one of them. </p><p><a href="https://www.newinterestingfacts.com/traits-of-unsuccessful-people/">12 Traits of Unsuccessful People Who Never Do Anything with Their Lives</a></p>

12 Traits of Unsuccessful People Who Never Do Anything with Their Lives

Scared of lagging behind or staying in the same position? Well, let’s talk about it! In this article, we’ll find 12 common traits of unsuccessful people who never do anything with their lives so that you won’t be one of them. 

<p>If you’ve ever watched her show, you know Suze Orman pulls no punches. She’s all about calling out bad money choices, urging people to take control of their financial destinies and ditch those pesky spending habits that derail progress. While her advice can be blunt, she aims to empower folks to build wealth and protect their financial futures.</p><p>It’s important to note, Suze Orman gets flak sometimes for being too harsh. She’s not shaming people, but highlighting how certain expenses can sabotage big goals like homeownership or a comfortable retirement.</p><p><a href="https://www.newinterestingfacts.com/things-poor-people-waste-money-on-according-to-suze-orman/">20 Things Poor People Waste Money on, According to Suze Orman</a> </p>

20 Things Poor People Waste Money on, According to Suze Orman

If you’ve ever watched her show, you know Suze Orman pulls no punches. She’s all about calling out bad money choices, urging people to take control of their financial destinies and ditch those pesky spending habits that derail progress. While her advice can be blunt, she aims to empower folks to build wealth and protect their financial futures.

It’s important to note, Suze Orman gets flak sometimes for being too harsh. She’s not shaming people, but highlighting how certain expenses can sabotage big goals like homeownership or a comfortable retirement.

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