Why You Should Have A To-Do List

to-do list

Do you have 10 minutes a day to add $4000 to your monthly income? 

This is the average income difference between people who write down their goals and people who don’t.

That’s one of many reasons why having a to-do list can improve your work and personal life. To-do lists have never been as important for the modern knowledge worker.

You can use one to reduce the stress in your life and get more done in less time. It also lets you become more reliable for other people and save time for the best things in life. In this post, we’ll look at interesting ways in which a to-do list can help you. But first, we’ll see what are the common reasons why people don’t use a to-do list.

What’s wrong with to-do lists

We can argue about how great to-do lists are but none of it will do good if you have a strong reason why you don’t use one. This is why we’ll look at the three most common problems people have with to-do lists.

1) To-do lists reduce flexibility
Having a to-do list seems like living your life according to a rigid system that turns you into a half-robot. If you’re the sort of person who can’t stand having an unfinished item on your to-do list, this could put you off.

In reality, to-do lists give you more flexibility. Consider this: Is freedom not the capacity to choose your own actions? The ability to spend your time doing what you want to be doing? To-do lists help you do that. On the other hand, by leaving things to chance, you risk living your life according to other people’s agendas. 

2) You don’t need a list because you can remember what you need to-do
Having the mental capacity to remember all that’s on your plate is a great talent. If you’re in any sort of role where you have 10+ things you need to-do for a given day, remembering all this is a feat in itself. But when you have to manage many projects with dozens of tasks, you might have a more difficult time.

In reality, remembering is a tiny fraction of what to-do lists are useful for. If you think a to-do list is only meant to help you remember to buy milk on the way home, you’re missing the point. But more on this later.

3) You never stick to your list
Alas, only about 60% of to-do list items actually get completed. This could be very disappointing to people who don’t want to leave any loose ends. It could amount to stress and make you feel overwhelmed by work.

This is a very legitimate reason to never start using a to-do list at first glance. The problem lies in a simple observation:

People often overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can achieve in a year.

Effective prioritization will help you solve this problem. You don’t have to complete everything on your list, only the most valuable items on it. Setting a high goal and doing half of the items on your list will still be much better than not doing anything at all.

Also, you can reduce the number of tasks for a day and spread them out over a longer period. Don’t make things difficult for yourself. Author Tim Ferriss, for example, works on only one thing every day.

What’s great about a to-do list

Now that we’ve covered some of the most common reasons why people don’t use a to-do list, let’s look at why you should have one.

It will help you feel good
Writing things down helps reduce stress and makes you feel more relaxed. You get a feeling of being in control of your life and actions.

Also, crossing items off your to-do list gives you a sense of accomplishment and progress. This helps you motivate yourself and keep going when things get tough.

It will help you achieve big goals
It’s tough to achieve big goals when they seem to overwhelm you. As a consequence, it’s easy to procrastinate on them. One of the best ways to solve this problem is by breaking down a large goal into smaller parts. This is where a to-do list becomes significant. It lets you make large and overwhelming projects manageable.

Also, you get more done by focusing on high-value activities. Once you have a list of things you need to-do, it’s much easier to prioritize the tasks on it. This will ensure you’re always working on the right things. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into a circle of doing what seems easiest or most urgent. Doing this may result skipping important things that don’t require your immediate attention.

Another great way to use your to-do list is for analyzing your behavior later. You can see which activities produced the best results and double down on them. This makes it easy to identify opportunities to focus on and things to drop off your schedule.

To-do lists also help you uncover what you don’t see at first glance. When you write things down, it forces your brain to think in depth about the task at hand. You may see things that you missed at first, growing your capacity to achieve good results.

Also, mentally manipulating a task makes it much more likely to achieve. The more you think about it, the more it becomes prominent and important to-do in your mind.

Staying focused is difficult with the number of distractions in the modern workplace. Therefore, it’s easy to get off track but a to-do list can help you get back on it. Seeing a clear outline of what you should be doing can make a huge difference to your productivity.

Last but not least, creating a to-do list is in its core a planning process. Planning, in turn, allows for turning abstract goals into concrete steps of action. You remove anxiety by breaking down goals and know what you should be doing at any given time. It’s a fine way to maximize your potential to achieve big goals.

It will let you save time
Another benefit of having a to-do list is the amount of time you save. Often planning for 15 minutes can save you an hour or more of execution. It’s like building a house – you start with a blueprint, or you could make a mistake and start over again. A task list makes it easy to see the foundations of your projects and work to a predefined blueprint.

Also, when you don’t have a list, you can waste time thinking about your next steps instead of taking them.

It will help you be more reliable
One of the preeminent uses of a to-do list is remembering things and sticking to your deadlines. While a small part of the benefits, it’s still very important. Staying on top of your projects makes you a reliable team member, manager, and friend. It also opens many doors for career progression.

In addition, a task list will help you manage your workload better and learn to say “no”. At any given time you know how much you need to-do so you can plan accordingly. It’s easier to manage what you have on your plate when you have an overview of all your tasks and projects. When you control your workload this way, people will respect you more for it and they will value your time.

All in all, human brains are great at making complex associations but not as good at remembering. Writing a to-do list makes your memory’s job much easier. This leaves more time for creative work and allows you to keep track of your activities. This is valuable for any organization and will help you make a bigger impact.


Succeeding in today’s work environment is tough. There are too many projects and tasks to manage. With new things popping up and your personal commitments, things can get overwhelming. Add the huge amount of distractions and you’re in for a difficult climb up the ladder of success.

Having a to-do list can make things much easier. Whether you’re looking to achieve more of your goals or controlling your time better, a to-do list will help you. You can get a positive boost to your career by becoming the person who is always on top of things and feel good every day.

Ready to try it out? Jump back into Sendtask.

9 Ways to Make Your Day More Productive


You can make your day more productive using simple techniques.

They relate to effective prioritization, self-motivation and the ability to focus.

These are transferable skills that are simple to learn but difficult to master. In a workplace filled with distractions, they’ve never been more important. In this post, I’ll provide you with the daily “drills” you need to master them. If applied, you’ll get an almost immediate boost in productivity. The good news is the following techniques will help sustain it too.

1. Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule means that most of your results will come from a relatively small part of your efforts. This rule is wide reaching and applicable in many situations. For example, most of a company’s profits often come from a few of its biggest deals.

How is this principle applicable in your life? Reflect on your accomplishments and notice the key drivers behind them. Then double down on these drivers. The best part? You can now use the 80/20 rule again and further drill down to find the best ways to spend your time.

2. Capture notes
Richard Branson carries a notebook everywhere he goes. Why? So he can write down ideas and insights when and where they come. The human brain is great at making complex connections but terrible at remembering. It’s easy to miss a great opportunity when you rely on memory alone. This is why the habit of capturing notes is so important.

Nowadays smartphones can do everything a notebook can (and then some) so it’s easy to take notes on the go with tools like Sendtask. The key is actually coming back to your notes and planning your next steps accordingly. This way you never have to regret forgetting an important idea or task you needed to complete.

3. Start the night before for a productive day
The most productive people start their day the night before. In a few minutes, you can write down a simple to-do list or lay out the next day in a calendar. This has two main benefits:

1) You know what to do immediately after you wake up. This means you don’t have to waste time or mental energy in the morning.
2) It reduces stress and helps you fall asleep. Export random things that need to get done out of your mind so you can relax in the evening and have a good rest.

4. Manage your energy right
High achievement requires a strong base – your mix of exercise, nutrition, and rest. Productive people understand that good food is the best fuel you can get. They exercise to feel good and perform on a higher mental and physical level. They take effective breaks to recharge and achieve even more.

5. Establish a morning routine
A morning routine can make or break your day. For example, many of the world’s top performers meditate first thing after they wake up. Other good ways to spend your morning include reading, writing and exercising.

Of course, your routine may include a strong cup of coffee or a conversation with a close friend. You can experiment with different ways to begin your day and find the ones that energize you the most. The important thing is to get a series of early wins that give you the momentum to make your day a success.

6. Deal with things only once
Have you ever read an email and decided to deal with it later, even though it’s something you can solve in 2 minutes? Little things we avoid over and over again can become huge productivity killers. They stay on the back of our minds and create stress which affects all areas of our lives.

Taking care of little things immediately after they come up is easy to do with David Allen’s 2-minute rule. It states that if something takes less than 2 minutes to complete, you should do it there and then. The little wins add up and push you to achieve more in bigger areas as well. Try using the rule for a day and see how it makes you feel.

7. Focus on one thing
Multitasking doesn’t exist. You actually move your attention from one thing to another in a short timeframe. This has a negative impact on your capacity to stay focused and prevents you from doing great work.

On the other hand, focusing on one thing at a time for a longer period leads to more speed. In turn, speed leads to more done in less time. This applies to both daily tasks and long-term commitments like starting a business.

But how do you get more focused? The easiest way is by removing distractions. This could mean turning off your phone or even moving to another city when you look at the bigger picture. While this may seem like it’s too much, the price you pay when you don’t focus could be to never realize your dreams.

8. Use the Pomodoro technique
If you struggle with getting focused, you can try the Pomodoro Technique. Developed in the 80s, it’s one of the most effective and popular productivity methods. Its name comes from the original tomato-shaped timer used by creator Francesco Cirillo.

The Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down your work into intervals or “pomodoros”. Separated by short 3-5 minute breaks, the intervals are usually 25 minutes long but this can vary. If you prefer working for 40 minutes at a time, that’s fine too. Every time you complete four “pomodoros”, you should take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. It’s a simple technique that can make a big impact on your work.

9. Use “email blocks”
Checking email lots of times a day is something many people can relate to. There will often be a new task lying in your inbox which harms your capacity to do deep, meaningful work. Also, it’s not uncommon to use these little tasks as a way to procrastinate on what really needs to get done.

One solution is to deal with email in specific blocks. This way, it won’t impact the rest of your work. It’s good to have at least 2-3 hours of time between blocks but you can adjust this based on your work situation. To help implement this solution, you may consider using email automation software so you can afford more time away from your inbox. This is especially helpful if you work in a field where email is heavily used, such as marketing or sales. 

The techniques above don’t need a big time commitment and you can put them in place today. See what works for you and what doesn’t. If focusing is your problem, try methods like the Pomodoro technique. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, manage your energy better. And if you don’t have enough hours in a day, narrow down and work on the right things.

How To Take Control Of Tasks In Your Inbox



Ever sent yourself a reminder email? You don’t have to.

Email is meant to help you communicate. Therefore, using it as a task management and notification tool comes with a set of limitations.

Why you should never send yourself another reminder email

Simply put, using email for task management is like washing your car with just water and old newspapers – it does a sloppy job.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? I’ve managed tasks with email for years and experienced first hand all the issues this brings such as:

  • Cluttering your inbox
  • Making you waste time searching for tasks because not all of them are in emails
  • It doesn’t allow you to track progress, making it difficult to see the big picture
  • It’s very limited in terms of categorization
  • It’s plain old inefficient

It didn’t take long before I started thinking about using something else. I’ve tried and tested dozens of software solutions, only to come back to email again for one reason – I just HAVE to use it because of other people.


Using email for task management is like washing your car with water and old newspapers Click To Tweet.


How to turn your inbox into a powerful task management hub

So now you’re facing a different problem – you have to use email but it’s just not good enough for task management.

To solve this issue, I started using Sendtask to manage all the actionable items that somehow ended up in my inbox or anywhere else. Sendtask gives you all the task management features you need for efficient work and collaboration directly in your inbox.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on you can use it to take control of tasks in your inbox immediately:

Step 1) Add [due_date]@sendtask.io as the email recipient

To send any actionable information to your Sendtask account, forward or start writing a normal email, only this time enter [due_date]@sendtask.io as the recipient.

For example, enter tomorrow9am@sendtask.io if you need to do something the next day at nine in the morning. You can see a full list of email deadline formats here.

Step 2) Add the task title in the subject line

The subject line becomes the task title in Sendtask so you should make it something actionable.

Step 3) Enter any comments in the email field (optional)


If the task has extra information attached to it, simply type it in as a comment in the email field. This will come up in the details box on Sendtask. Then simply send your email and the task will appear in your dashboard.

You can also forward actionable info to someone else – even if they’re not on Sendtask.

You can manage your own tasks and also assign tasks to anyone else as long as you have their email address. Simply add their email address in the recipient field along with [due_date]@sendtask.io. This will create a virtual workspace for you and the assignee even if they don’t have an account. You will be able to track the tasks you’ve assigned to yourself and others in the same dashboard.

In short, Sendtask gives you the opportunity to capture all actionable info and track progress in one place. You can use email, mobile, and the web app to create and manage tasks, with a Slack integration also coming soon.

Ready to try it out? Jump back into Sendtask.


A Simple Guide To Decluttering Your Digital Workspace

Declutter your digital workspace example photo imac desk

Online content has exploded in recent years. We’re all bombarded with news, messages, push notifications and all sorts of information on a daily basis.

On top of that, over time we accumulate various data on our phones and computers such as photos, videos, software, and the occasional virus.

How much of all this data do you suppose is important?

It’s quite natural for digital clutter to add up and this is not as harmless as it seems.

Research suggests our working memory can only handle a limited amount of information at any given time. This means that every extra bit you add can be at the expense of something that’s really important.

In addition, the extra pressure on our mind creates unnecessary stress and impacts our ability to make decisions.

This is why people like Steve Jobs and Barrack Obama keep wearing the same type of clothes and simplify their life – they know that even the smallest decisions take mental energy so they use it carefully.

This simple guide to decluttering your digital workspace will show you how to create some empty space in your mind so you too can enjoy more creativity and mental freedom.

Here are five steps you can take to quickly declutter your digital workspace:

Step 1: Take advantage of free cloud storage

Cleaning up your desktop and uploading some of your hard drive files online can make a huge difference to the amount of unneeded information that gets to your mind.

While you’re at it, make sure you also organize whatever is currently online.

Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and pCloud will give you free storage that should be more than enough for stuff like old photos and videos.

You may have some extra free space as part of any recent technology you’ve purchased – for example, HP and Asus offer free cloud storage when you buy some of their products.

Keeping everything online and regularly uploading your data will ensure your desktop does not get cluttered and that you can access your files wherever you are.

Step 2: Use a single password (without sacrificing security)

After reading the above, you may be thinking – what about all the passwords I need for online storage? Well, you don’t really need more than one password to keep your security.

Services like 1Password or LastPass will provide you with a free online “vault” and store your usernames and passwords as you register and log in to various websites.

You can choose if you want to add the particular account to your vault or if you want to keep it out for now.

They also have mobile and desktop versions, so you can keep in sync wherever you are and never have to deal with multiple passwords again.

This way, you don’t have to keep spreadsheets with passwords and usernames and you don’t have to compromise security in case you use only one password for everything.

Step 3: Reach inbox zero every day

Reaching inbox zero is, without exaggeration, one of the best feelings you can get. There is a lot to say about email so we’ll cover this in a bit more detail.

Email is where we spend most of our time when working so it’s crucial that we keep our inbox tidy and distraction-free.

Following are a few tips which you can use to reach Inbox Zero every day:

  • Unsubscribe

The first step you need to take is to gradually unsubscribe from all unneeded newsletters and email lists.

This may require you to invest some time upfront, but the returns you get on it are more than worth the investment once you take into account how many emails you have to delete down the road.

  • Forward emails to one account

You don’t really need more than one or two email addresses in most situations. If you have more than this, you can forward your work email addresses to a single account and control everything from there.

This way you don’t have to open each separate inbox.

  • Set up filters

Most email providers will allow you to set up filters which automatically label your incoming mail into individual folders.

For example, if you’re working on several projects at the same time, you can create an individual filter for each of them and your incoming mail will be allocated to the respective folder.

This will keep your inbox well organized and you don’t have to worry about important emails getting lost among everything else.

Step 4: Remove push notifications

Notifications on your phone and browser are some of the biggest sources of distraction nowadays.

Every time your mind gets pulled away from the task at hand, it could take up to 20 minutes to get back to the same level of concentration as you were prior to the distraction.

If you want a productive day at work, it’s best if you turn off notifications at least for a while and leave out some space to deal with them later.

It’s a good practice to work in 90-minute increments with 20 minutes of rest.

However, beware of checking your notifications during these 20 minutes as they could easily turn into hours, especially if you don’t have someone supervising you all the time.

Step 5: Set up auto-backup for important data on your phone

You can set up auto-backup for the contacts, photos, and videos on your phone. These are normally the irretrievable pieces of information that we miss the most if we lose them.

The auto-backup means you can always reset your device to factory settings if you feel like there’s too much on it or in case you just want to make a fresh start.

Google Drive gives you unlimited storage for standard quality photos and videos but keeps in mind that you will need an internet connection if you want to access them later.


Digital decluttering may seem intimidating at first, but most of the time you will be surprised by how fast you can do everything.

Once done, you will appreciate the feeling of lightness and a job well done.

In addition, you will experience all the benefits like reduced stress, better decision making, and optimal energy levels.

Keep in mind, however, that in order to stay organized long-term, it’s always best if you regularly tidy up your digital workspace instead of waiting for a mountain of data to add up. Better yet, you should control the amount of clutter in the first place.

Tools such as Sendtask.io can help you stay on top of things while collaborating online, keeping everything organized and easily accessible. This way you can be sure to always find what you need and keep your digital workspace distraction-free.

Here’s Why Your To-Do List Doesn’t Work (And How To Fix It)

why your to-do list does not work

Source: HubSpot

Let’s face it – we’ve all been there. Browsing for this one productivity app that will make organizing your work and personal life a breeze. Tools like Google Keep and Evernote, and all the other unicorn start-ups with high ratings and pretty design. The problem is – they somehow don’t make you any more productive. You’re still not making the progress you want to be making. Your information isn’t perfectly organized. You realize that there’s no “one app to rule them all”.

But these apps are all so pretty and seem to help other people – is the problem with you?

Well, not really. But it’s probably not in the to-do list either. What truly matters is the system you use for making your to-do list work for you, not the other way around.

You don’t need to waste your time learning new software, moving all your data and then realizing it doesn’t make the slightest difference, or at least not nearly as much as you’d hoped for.

The proper way is to create your personal system first, then find the tools that will make it work in a scalable, seamless way. When creating your system, there are several main concepts to keep in mind. They are the primary building blocks for all the effective to-do listing, goal-smashing and productivity boosting you want. If you get these right, your to-do list will magically start working for you.

So without further ado, here’s what you need to consider:


The basis of making your system work is in taking proper notes. You need a fast and convenient way to collect information for review later. This means:

  • mobile
  • on your home screen 
  • with as few taps as possible

Most to-do list apps will do this for you. But what’s really important is that your mobile notes get automatically uploaded online. This way you can see them on your computer later where it’s easier to categorize and prioritize them, which takes us to our next point:


Categorizing your notes is the preparation needed for prioritizing. If you have dozens or even hundreds of notes, prioritizing which tasks will be completed, incubated or trashed can get out of hand. Therefore, it’s essential to create categories for your tasks that make sense and work for you.

For example, I organize my personal and work notes in 6 general “buckets”:

  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Contribution
  • Growth
  • Experiences
  • Other

Therefore, I only keep the most important notes and the ones that are urgent or needed for some reason. Your system may be different but I find this works well for me.


But capturing and categorizing your notes isn’t enough. It doesn’t account for the most important thing – which ones are really important and deserve to stay on your list? After all, we have 24 hours in a day and it only makes sense to spend that time wisely. This means doing the right things in the right way at the right time. Yes, as Stephen Covey says, some of them are urgent and we need to plan for them as well.

Fortunately, doing what’s important at the right time will normally reduce the number of urgent tasks down the road – after all, this is why you need a to-do list, right? Lists are meant to help you do meaningful work. And meaningful work takes time, planning and consistency.

Take action consistently

So how do you stay consistent with all the important projects in your life? They most likely require some form of daily action, or at least a regular one. Obviously, having a reminder system would help. Your calendar can do this. But it can’t do many other things. So you need a place for your projects where you can keep track of your:

  • goals
  • progress 
  • the consistent actions needed for success

However, reminders aren’t enough. Research has shown time and again that the best way to make yourself do the work involves a powerful reward system. Rewards will wire your brain for wanting more of the same which can amplify your consistency. For example, you can make a list of all the things you love spending your free time with so you always have something to celebrate all the little wins along the way to your end-goal.


The element of collaboration can be crucial for most people. Sometimes, you will need external help – whether it’s for personal or work projects. This means your system needs to accommodate for sharing notes and discussing them with team members quickly and efficiently. This is where tools like Sendtask.io can help you stay on track while seeing the big picture where both your personal and work projects are all visible on the same page.


We covered a lot of information above so let’s summarize it so it’s easy to create your productivity system with all principles in mind:

  • Capture notes quickly on mobile and in the cloud
  • Categorize notes based on a logic that works for you
  • Prioritize according to importance and urgency
  • Stay consistent with reminders and rewards
  • Have a system that allows for effective collaboration


The most important thing for developing your system is to experiment. Presented above are powerful principles grounded in both science and experience. Of course, things work differently depending on your individual situation and preferences. So when you’re browsing for apps the next time, make sure they fit your system and not the other way around. This is the best way to improve productivity using software.