Best Task Manager: How to Make A TODO List10 min read

You have a ton of ideas that attracts you towards it. Often time you find yourself overwhelmed with so many new ideas/goals/tasks that you start to juggle. You find yourself in the utter stage of disturbance because you try to do it all at once and end up doing nothing. Well, you are not alone. In fact, 71% people face the same problem. A good TODO List is what you need.

In this article, I will tell you my most productive ways of achieving daily goals. This article is all about how to make a TODO list to better manage your goals. I know that there are a ton of articles present on the internet that tells you how to create a TODO List but practically speaking, none of those articles helped me. I had to find my own ways to come up with this solution. Even the first WikiHow Search result that you get on google lacks essential elements, so I thought of sharing my way of creating TODO List that has worked for me so far.

The Pareto Principle

Do you know about the Pareto Principle?

The Pareto Principle, also known as 80-20 law, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This principle is so profound that you can see it’s effect everywhere. Ever wondered why,

  • 80% of the world’s wealth is owned by 20% people.
  • 20% videos on youtube get 80% of the total views.
  • 80% of the land in Italy is owned by 20% of the people.
  • 80% of the sales come from 20% of the clients.
  • 20% of patients have been found to use 80% of healthcare resources.

The Pareto Principle of 80-20

The law has proven to be correct in all verticals. Be it sports, science, medical, entertainment, etc… the law of vitality is always in action. There are hundreds of observations that support this principle. The data generated from thousands of observations were analyzed and they all seem to follow the 80-20 principle. This seems to be the law of nature.

Why is this Law Important to you?

This law is important to you, especially, when it comes to making choices. The 20% of the all the choices that would account for 80% of your work. Just imagine how much easier your life would be if you know what 20% you have to do today and the coming days that would guarantee your success in your domain.

It’s time to apply Pareto Principle to your life. Now, you know that 20% of your efforts account for 80% of your work. By this simple understanding, you can learn to pick the most important 20% tasks for the day and leave the less important work behind.

The Pareto Principle

Similarly, your 20% financial choices will account for the 80% of the total wealth. Just remember 80-20 rule and you will actually see the difference.

The reverse is also true

Although it is true that 20% of your efforts will account for 80% productivity, you should not forget that the reverse is also true. You would find it saddening that most of the people are applying the formula in reverse.

They are giving their 80% efforts and are gaining only 20% of it. The question that arises is how can you use it effectively to your advantage? How are you going to make use of this principle?

I’ve listed down some of the ways that helped me to understand the principle better and apply it to different fields of my life. TODO List is the best and most trusted way through which you can make a real difference to the quality of your life and others.

TODO List helped me and I’m sure, if you use it in the correct way then it will help you too.

Identify the 20% tasks that account for 80% of your work

The process starts with this simple act. You must sit down in silence and identify the Most Important Tasks (MIT) for the day. Here is what you can do to identify your MIT.

You see our mind is a powerful thing. It has the power to achieve the impossible when used in the correct way. Or it can break you pretty badly. TODO lists have always been a good way to get yourself moving. But, a time comes when your TODO list is filled with tasks which your mind starts to refuse or procrastinate. This is how your TODO lists looks like after some time,

TODO List Bad Practice

If this is what you’ve been doing so far, then you need to stop right away. The very first thing that you see here is that there is no Project. The end goal is not visible. It’s all hotchpotch and doesn’t state a clear path.

Our minds work in a particular way. You must give your mind an end goal and then lay the path accordingly. Once your mind knows where it is going or what is the fruit of all its effort then it will automatically start to produce the best efforts required to accomplish any task. So, the first step is your end goal. What do you want to achieve?

A TODO List must have a Project attached to it

You must first identify the goal for which you will be working. As I’m IT Engineer, I like to call it a Project. You can name your end result in anything that resonates with your personality. Identify your Project. Now, that you have a Project in place, start by identifying all the tasks that would account for 80% of your project’s success.

Take an example of a Canada Permanent Residence. Suppose, you need Permanent Resident of Canada. Then this is your end goal, thus, your project.

Name of the Project: Canada PR

Identify MIT For Your Project

List down all the required tasks to complete this project. Simply, start putting the task to the project. The task that actually holds importance in the completion of your project. Your TODO List will look something like this:


So far, you have done a great job identifying the tasks for your project. The next step would be to prioritize your tasks.

Prioritize Your TODO list

Once you have the MIT for the project, it is time to prioritize the tasks listed on the list. This would require further analysis. You will have to identify the significance of each task before adding it the list. Once you have acquired the sufficient knowledge of every task, go ahead and prioritize them.

Once you have prioritized all the task, write them in the order of their priority.

TODO List Prioritized

Further, Break Down Into Smaller Sub-Project

The list is looking excellent. You have all the important tasks in place in a prioritized order. Now, it’s time to dig down further and identify whether a task can be broken down into pieces. If you identify a task which could be further broken down into multiple tasks then do it. Check-out below sub-lists,

Apply For Passport Task

This task could be further broken down into multiple tasks. Follow the same technique.

  • Arrange All Required Documents
  • Apply For Passport Online
  • Available for Verification


  • Prepare For The Test
  • Apply For The Test Online

Voila! Your TODO List is ready.

Pick the task from your main project and start completing it (one at a time). You can also convert your TODO List into a mind map by using free web tool called Refer the image below,

Canada PR Mindmap

Required Tools

There are multiple tools present online but most of the tools are overwhelming when it comes to a simple task of creating and preserving list. However, there are a few applications which can help you organize better.

1. Evernote

evernote logo

It is a cross=platform app designed to make you more organized and smarter by helping you in your everyday task. You can very easily create a TODO List in an Evernote. Evernote is very easy to work with and if you ever face any problems you can directly refer their rich documentation. Here’s one that teaches you how to manage your tasks with Evernote.
I would Strongly recommend Evernote to you as it offers a lot of its features for free. Plus, you don’t want to overwhelm yourselves with unwanted features. Keep it minimal. After all, Minimalism is The Way Of Life.

2. Todoist

Todoist Logo

This is another cross=platform app that only specializes in TODO List. Making TODO List is bliss with this app. You can access it from anywhere. The only drawback of this app is that it offers very basic features in its free version. You will have to become a premium member in order to use make use of its other features. But, for our TODO List, this is all we need.
You will not want to overwhelm yourself with features and other stuff. Just the plain old classic ways of achievement.


Bubbl Logo

Do you see the image of the mind map that I shared above? This was created with the help of Bubbl app. It provides a really simple interface to quickly turn your TODO list into a mind map to know where you stand at every moment. Simply, take out the printout of your mind map and stick it on your wall. This way you will constantly see your goals and where do you stand relative to that.

Now you know how to identify the 20% of the tasks that account for 80% of your success. The next step is to apply this technique when it comes to buying stuff or completing milestones or making financial choices that will generate wealth for you.

Just like we created the TODO List, it is time to create a TO-BUY list. You are constantly consumed by your thoughts and desires to buy stuff which are often times beyond your reach. It could be a sports car, a mansion or the latest iPhone :p. Just believe that You can buy any materialistic available in this world, you just have to plan accordingly. This belief has always worked for me.

Once you learn how to accomplish small stuff in your life (by small I mean the goals that take you one step closer to your ultimate goal) then this belief tends to grow on you. The world becomes your playground. You become your own master and this is the time when you do something big.

How to Start Your Quest?

As I said before, the very first thing you need is a Project/Goal/End Result. Most of the time you find yourself in a state of confusion. Confusion in identifying the task that will lead you to your end goals. Sometimes, you couldn’t even differentiate between your task and a Project.

For example- Suppose, you are a blogger. You make a goal to deliver 4 juicy blog post every month. Then you start laying down the steps to accomplish this goal. But wait, is it actually the goal that you want to achieve or is it a part of the process that will take you towards your goal. I think it is just a sub-project that would take you to your bigger process.

I mean what is the juice coming out of your goal. What will you get by delivering 4 posts every month? Is it what you want or you want the results of your actions?

I want you to identify the real goal that excites you. Once you have identified your Project then only you can start working on it. So, the first step is to Identify the Project.


The TODO List is one of the best ways by which I maintain daily achievement. It is something which helps me to keep a daily track of my goals and tells me where I stand at any given moment of time. I keep myself on the path even at the most stormy times. Just because I have a map to reach a place I want.

Just follow the TODO List way to accomplish your goals and you will see a drastic change in your mindset and ultimately your life’s quality.

Always try to add new stuff to your list that resonates with you. Do not read all sorts of fancy ways to make your TODO List. You end up spending more time in making list rather than taking the action. Just keep it simple and start now.

How To Make A ToDo List - compressed

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  • Article By: Varun Shrivastava

  • Varun Shrivastava is an innovative Full Stack Developer at ThoughtWorks with around 4 years of experience in building enterprise software systems in finance and retail domain. Experienced in design, development, and deployment of scalable software. He is a passionate blogger and loves to write about philosophy, programming, tech and relationships. This is his space, you can get in touch with him here anytime you want.