We’ve all heard that keeping a to-do list helps to improve our productivity. Some people choose to follow that tip, and some don’t.

However, sometimes people are not consistent with their to-do lists and only use them once in a while, defeating the whole purpose. Other times, they may use their to-do list regularly, but never actually check a significant number of tasks off it. Why is this?

With these tips, we hope to shed some light on this issue and help you use your to-do list effectively.

1. Choose a Single Medium

One bad practice that can happen is to have several to-do lists scattered across different mediums. Maybe you have one on your notebook, another on your fridge door and another on your smartphone. The idea of a to-do list is keeping your thoughts organized, but this is only creating more chaos.

Instead, pick a single method and stick to it. Some people claim that writing things down on paper is more effective, but you can use whatever feels good to you. If you are thinking about using a smartphone app, we suggest BubblesPlanner. It is user-friendly and packed with features.

2. Keep It Short

Don’t create an extremely long list that can never be completed on time. For example, if you have a daily to-do list, when you are filling it (let’s say the night before), don’t include tons of things that you could never do in a day.

However, to get it out of your head, maybe it is a good idea to keep a separate, general list. As time passes, you can gradually move the items from there to your daily list.

3. Make It Clear

Do you have items on your list that have been there forever, and you’ve never dared to touch them? Maybe you should ask yourself why this is.

Chances are that the definition of the task is extremely vague or complex, so you don’t know exactly how to start or are intimidated by the idea. In this case, analyze the item in question and try to break it down into smaller, clearer steps.

You’ll start feeling motivated as you complete more and more of these steps, and before you know it, you’ve crossed that big task off your list.