We all have been in the situation when we have thousands of tasks to finish, but hardly have any time to finish it. The work just keeps piling on. So you try to organize them, create a to-do list and after going through all the hard work at the end you have 100+ things on your to-do list.

You add more things on the list then you are checking off. So what do you do? How do we manage all the tasks? How are things going to get done? 

Don’t worry you are not alone. Studies and surveys have shown  A whopping 89% of people don’t regularly finish their daily to-do lists. Even I used to Procrastinate over the pending tasks and hardly got things done. So started with the to-do lists. But still, things were the same, at the end of the day there were still 10 to 15 tasks pending in the list.

So after researching online looking for strategies and after a lot of trying and testing, I came up with these 5 points that I stick to while creating an effective to-do list. These strategies are something that worked for me, so might work for you as well.

These are some of the to-do list best practices. You can use these methods to your liking. Do not use all the methods together. Try one, if it works for you then believe me that one is the best method, if not then look for the next one.

5 Effective to-do List strategies for more Productivity.

These strategies mentioned in the article are the ones that I have come up with or found out while reading a book or a blog post.

1. Focus on one task at a time.

You might get overwhelmed by the number of tasks that you need to accomplish each day. Now here’s a little task for you. Sit down at a place where you are the most comfortable and list down all the tasks that you need to do. 

effective to do list strategies

Now make sure you are using only one way to record these tasks. I mean if you are noting down tasks on a piece of paper then make sure you follow the same patterns and never switch. If you are using an app then stick to the app for at least a week.

Once all the tasks are noted down Pick the 10 most important tasks from the list and highlight them with a different color. If you are writing them down on a piece of paper, make a box around them. Now take the task(which is boxed) which is on the top and start working on it. If you get any new task ad them to the end of the list.

The list will definitely grow. But if you have a connecting task like send an email to Jack then send an email to Sam. Combine those tasks. So that you can finish them  in one batch.

Make sure you first finish the task in the box. Once the tasks are finished then move to the next 10 tasks that are the most important.

2. Time blocking To do list technique

Time Blocking is another great to do list method. If you want a more productive to do list then this is the best strategy to go for. But this method needs a good planning and understanding of the tasks.

effective to-do list strategies

Make sure you create a list before you sleep and not the day that the tasks are to be performed. Create a list of the 5 most important tasks to be performed the next day. You can list out all the tasks that you wish to do the next day. But I think it would be a little hectic at the beginning.

Now after all the tasks are listed. For this article’s purpose, I will consider 5 tasks. Now map those 5 tasks to a particular time. Make sure you understand approximately how much time the task might take.


Once all the tasks are scheduled now the next day work on those tasks when the task is scheduled for. This is one of the most effective to do list techniques. Try to keep a little buffer time so that your schedule is not hampered.


The Ivy Lee method of creating a to-do list is one of my favourite techniques. I have written a detailed guide on The Ivy Lee Method along with the free Ivy lee method template. 

The IVY Lee Method and Planner (With Free PDF)
The IVY Lee Method and Planner (With Free PDF)

The Ivy Lee method consists of 4 steps.

  • Create a To-Do list. Each night write down 6 tasks to accomplish the next day.
  • Now arrange these 6 tasks in descending order of priority. The highest priority first.
  • Focus on one task. Don’t move to the next task till the first one is done
  • At the end of the day, all unfinished tasks are to be added to the next day’s list.

Firstly create a to-do list with only 6 items on the list. Now make sure each item in the list is arranged in the order of priority. Highest priority first. And make sure you create the list the night before. So that you don’t waste your time the next day.

Now focus on the task which is at the top of the list. Do not move to the next task unless the first task is complete. In the same way, try to complete all the tasks in the list.

If by the end of the day all the tasks are not complete then move them to the next day and create a list of the next day accordingly.

I came across the Ivy Lee Method while I was reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It is one of the best productivity and self-help books that I have come across.

4. The 1-3-5 rule of a productive to-do list

Now, this is another simple to-do list idea that you can follow. This method uses a simple mixture of tasks by mixing difficult tasks, moderately difficult, and easy tasks.

effective to-do list strategies

Create a list of 9 tasks. The list should contain 1 difficult task, 3 moderately difficult tasks, and 5 simple tasks. First, complete the most difficult task at the beginning of the day since you are highly motivated at that time.

Once you have completed the most difficult task then you can choose from any of the remaining 8 tasks. Don’t do all the same type of tasks together. You are more likely to get bored of that. Rather mix the tasks and then do them.

If you finish all the easy tasks first then you are more likely to procrastinate on the little difficult tasks. So make sure you mix them up.

5. The KISS methodology

The last and the most simple method of creating a to-do list is using the KISS methodology. The KISS methodology stands for “keep it simple stupid”. If you try to complicate things and add too many tasks to the list then you would be less motivated after 2-3 tasks.

effective to-do list strategies

Start your day with two simple tasks and tick them off the list. The act of ticking things off the list might create some motivation and you are likely to achieve more things. Since there is a rush of dopamine to the drain. 

Once you do the simple tasks add the difficult task to the list. And once that is completed add 2 more simple tasks. The difficult task might take some time. But the completion of an easy task in quick succession ,might help you to keep up with the motivation to do more.

Any time you feel that you are bored. Take a break of 15 minutes, if you like playing games then go play xbox and come back after some time. 

These were some of the simple but effective to-do list techniques that I know of. Not all of them suit me, so I select the one that suits me the best.

Personal Productivity using a to-do list

I have multiple to do lists. I create a weekly planner, monthly planner and a daily to do list. So I use the notion to list all the monthly goals and tasks. Since these tasks are something that I would not that often come across. 

For weekly tasks, I write them in the journal since it helps me to take a note every week about the tasks accomplished.

And for daily tasks I use the todoist app on my phone since they are more easy to track and check off.

So That’s it with my to-do list ideas and examples. Some of them are self developed and some of them adopted. Use the one that fits your purpose and lifestyle.


Hey, I am Chetan Poojari the founder of Geeksla. I work as a Product Manager and also an Online Content Creator. A travel and tech junkie who writes articles to simplify complex things.

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