If you’re not using a to-do list in your everyday life, you’re probably nowhere near as productive as you could be.

In fact, you’ll be missing out on countless opportunities to get some of the most important work in your head done. Because, if it remains in your head and never makes its way onto paper, when are you going to get started?

To-do lists are best when they’re simple. Here’s how to compose yours every day.

Make a List for Every Day of the Week

The key to success with to-do lists lies in the title of this blog post.

Rather than having one, big, encompassing to-do list, break yours down day-by-day.

Having one big to-do list with everything on it is daunting – it’ll make you fearful of approaching it. Breaking those tasks down into daily to-dos is far more manageable.

Make a note about why each item matters.

When you add items to your to-do list, don’t just give them a title. Add a short description too that indicates what needs doing.

Within this description, make a note about why the item deserves a place on your to-do list. If you struggle with this, move onto the next point.

man with to-do list.

Don’t Add (Or Delete) Low-Value Tasks

We’re all guilty of adding things to our to-do lists that don’t really need to be there.

They might be low-value, pointless or simply “it would be nice if I could do this”.

If a to-do doesn’t add any real value to your day or could be carried out by someone else, delete or delegate. Be ruthless with this.

Break Up Those Big To-Dos

Just as it’s important to break up your overall list of to-dos into day-by-day tasks, you should do the same with big tasks.

A big task becomes far more tempting to complete when you set yourself individual tasks for its constituent elements.

What do you do before you climb a mountain? You put your hiking boots on. Approach your big projects in the same way and break them down.

Create a Separate List for ‘Would Be Nice’ To-Dos

We referenced these earlier, but it’s important not to strike them off as being irrelevant.

In your working and personal life, you’ll have certain tasks you’d simply like to complete. They won’t change your world in and great way or even result in big accomplishments, but they would be nice if you completed them.

We’ve established that these shouldn’t be on your master to-do list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a place somewhere.

Create a separate list for this stuff. As you work through your master to-do list each day and follow or tips above, you’ll start to find more time for these tasks, and can slot them in without it impacting the important stuff.

Wrapping Up

When you create and edit your to-do lists is entirely up to you. Some people find it best to do so each morning, while others prefer to do it the night before.

Whatever works for you, use our tips above to nail that to-do list each and every day and become ultra-productive.