Originally published: 15/01/2018 15:05
Last version published: 02/03/2018 15:22
Publication number: ELQ-48649-2
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5 Steps To Make To-Do Lists Actually Work

A short video on how to actually DO the tasks written in your to-do list, and how to become organised as a result.

George Kao has noticed that many people do not know how to effectively use a to-do list. They generally let the list stress them, rather than give them a calm and confident focus for what is really important. This video outlines 5 steps that you can benefit from - and maybe even love - using a to-do list:


The core benefit of using to-do lists is to clear and focus your mind, and to collect those unfinished tasks into a single place. This liberates your brain to do what is best for creating and relating, and for it to not act as a storage device - for which it cannot do! Therefore the first step is to regularly use a to-do list to note down any ideas you may want to take action on.


A big problem of a to-do list then occurs - everything seems equally important! Therefore, when you begin to write your to-do list, the first thing you should do is prioritise your tasks. Here are is a simple prioritising method:

What are the three things on your list that are:
- Doable today
- If fulfilled today, would you feel better?

Just look through your list, then pause when you see a task that can be completed today. Add a star next to this task until you have 3 stars.


If you have a list that is too long, then your brain will go into overload! So why keep the most important tasks next to the less important ones? You can do this: move the top 3 tasks to a separate space. For example..

- on a new document
- on a post-it note
- on a white board
- on an app

Once the most important tasks are separated, you will achieve VISUAL SIMPLICITY, which calms the mind and allows you to focus better. Then, keep looking back to your short list of top 3 tasks, until they are completed.


The way we word a task in our list is often overwhelming (such as 'Do my taxes!'). This is not one single task, it is in fact many tasks. What we call it does not really matter as such, but we simply need to write down for each of our important tasks, what the nexts doable steps are. What next step will make good progress on that task, but will not de-motivate us?

An example is: the task 'Do my taxes!' can take the following steps:
- Take an hour to make progress on my taxes
- Open the spreadsheet used for last year's taxes.
- Look at the first item, and start gathering information on that number. Etc..

If the first step still makes you unmotivated or confused, then it means you haven't clarified a doable step yet. You would need to split it into more doable tasks.


The whole idea of a to-do list is to actually DO things, and to also feel clear-minded and organised. Now that you have followed the above steps, it's time to do it!

Video Length: 3:20

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