Overcome the challenges of working from home

To do list template

Published by Amanda Brown on

To do list template for daily productivity

How do you start your day? A vision of calm and serenity or a whirlwind of spontaneous activity – rushing out of the door, paperwork and laptop under one arm, keys and flask in the other hand? Change all that with a to do list template which not includes what to do but also the most important task, priorities and estimates of how long each is planned to take.

How we start the morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. Starting as you mean to go on has big benefits to getting things done. Having a well-thought-through plan helps to take the pressure off an already overloaded brain.

Writing down your tasks (and I do mean on the piece of paper and not an app!) frees up the brain so that it can concentrate on your most important tasks, get into a state of flow and accomplish more before lunchtime than you usually do in a day. to do list template for daily productivity

But is a simple checklist, like the one in the picture, good enough? Well, it's better than nothing at all but it can be improved upon by some additional preparation.

I'd highly recommend ending the day by planning out the next one, preferably well before bedtime. Evidence suggests that the body needs a good 90 minutes of relaxation time to get into the right state for a good night's sleep. Dr Rangan Chatterjee in his book ‘The Four Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life'  provides the reasoning for this in the section on sleep. In one of the studies over 80% of people lie in bed churning over what they did in the day, what they didn't do and what's on the agenda for tomorrow. 

To minimise lying awake worrying about what has or hasn't been done, a take 10 minutes at the end of your working day to review the day and plan for tomorrow with this simple system.

If your brain is full of a multitude of things to do do a brain dump onto a pile of post-it notes.


  1. Empty your brain of all the tasks you can think of onto post-it notes
  2. Decide on your Most Important Task – the one thing which is most important and most urgent
  3. Write it on your To Do List Template. You're going to tackle this first thing in the day when your energy and willpower is at its greatest
  4. Put all the other post-it notes into categories
  5. Keeping tasks which require the same part of the brain will help make you more efficient. For example, put all your telephone calls into the telephone category, all email answering into the email category and so on.
  6. Put the categories into priority order – Priority 1, Priority 2 and so on. Your probably only need 3 or 4 priority levels
  7. Next estimate how long each task should take and add a contingency – we always overrun! We also need to add in a buffer time for breaks in between tasks
  8. Look at your calendar for already scheduled meetings for the day
  9. Take your post-its which should be in priority order and transfer the information onto your to do list template
  10. Take a moment to reflect on whether you've missed anything.

There you have it – the 10 steps to completing your To Do List Template. With practice this should only take you about 10 minutes at the end of the day and also your estimate of the time it takes will become more accurate over time.



Categories: Productivity

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