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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

5 Smarter Ways to Organize Your To-Do List (and Make Sure It's Actually Helpful)

to-do list

When I’m really overwhelmed, I grab my notebook, open to a new page, and write down every single thing I have (and want) to do. It feels good to get that cloud of clutter out of my brain and onto paper.

But, I often end up with something like this (except much longer): finish mid-year report, check out Target’s bathing suit section online, schedule meeting with the account manager, send out all 16 monthly analysis studies, and make hair appointment.

While these are all items I’d eventually like to check off, my “task dump” really isn’t helpful. Frankly, after the relief of decluttering my head wears off, I’m stressed all over again. Because where do I even start? With my split ends or that time-sensitive project? (Don’t worry—I know the answer).

To-do lists can be extremely crucial to your productivity, but if you just jot everything down with zero organization, it could end up being quite counterproductive. Luckily, The Muse has five suggestions for how you can better approach yours, all depending on how you work best.

Personally, I’m deciding between the 1-3-5 option and the one that groups tasks by urgency. (Something makes me think “new swimsuit” isn’t urgent or important. Womp, womp.) Which will you choose?