To-do lists are a common time management tool among many workers today. It’s a very basic tool for a simple purpose, but there are some easy tweaks you can make to your lists to make this tool more useful and effective in boosting productivity. Here are some of them.

1.Make multiple lists

This will enable you to much more quickly and easily see what you need to get done. The first thing to do is to make a master list containing all of the tasks and assignments you want to get done, regardless of the type or the time frame. Then you can move these tasks from your catch-all list onto more refined lists.

For example, one list could contain the most important and urgent tasks that you need to take care of immediately. Another list could contain the things that you need to get done within the week. Then each day you can move tasks from the master list onto the other lists.

2. Keep it to a reasonable length

If the list has too many items on it, that would pretty much defeat the purpose of using it. It wouldn’t really help you to get things done. Quite the opposite. It may drain your motivation because you’ll see how much you have to do and wonder how you will be able to get it all finished.

While there is no magic number to use as a limit, you will probably be reducing the effectiveness of the list if you go past 10 items.

3. Make priorities

Ideally, tasks should be listed in the order of importance and urgency to complete them. At a minimum, the first two items on the list should be the most important, and if you have time, you should prioritize the others as well.

4. Be specific

The items on your list should be discrete actions that you can effectively complete during one period of time. For example, it would not be very useful to write “finish such and such a project” as an item on your list. Instead, you would list some action step within the project, such as completing a presentation or devising a strategy.

5. Be comprehensive

Along with the task that you put on the list, include any relevant information related to the task that will help you to complete it. So for example, if the task is to make a phone call, include the phone number so that you don’t have to go looking for it.

With each task, you should also include an estimate of how long you expect it to take or the amount of time you expect to devote to the task.

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