Julie Tucker
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How can making lists help you at work?

Making lists can help you in the office in many different ways. A daily work to-do list can improve efficiency, achieve greater productivity and provide better mental health.

The knock-on effect is a potentially positive impact on your personal life, as feeling less stressed at the office enables you to enjoy leisure time without worrying about work.

What are the benefits of a daily to-do list?

Creating a list can have an overall positive effect on your career, helping you to track your ideas, projects, goals and accomplishments. Studies have shown that most people perform better in the office when they write down what they need to do.

If you’re wondering what makes the to-do list such an effective productivity tool, the answer’s simple. Lists reduce anxiety about life’s uncertainties, give us a structured plan to follow and provide a written record of what we’ve achieved in the past day or week. It also helps us to ‘offload’ a little – when you write an idea down, you don’t need to worry about forgetting anything!

According to psychologist and author Dr David Cohen, in less hectic times, people relied more on their memory to do the hard work. However, in an increasingly busy office environment, it’s too easy to start feeling chaotic. Without a list, people can feel more fraught and snowed under with work. By checking things off a list, they have regained control.

Increased productivity

At work, creating a to-do list can help you to prioritise your tasks. This enables you to organise and complete the most important jobs first.

If you’re wondering how to organise your work to-do list, set aside 15 minutes at the start of each day to consider exactly what you need to achieve. Write notes and then determine which tasks are the most urgent. It really is that simple.

A to-do list can improve your time management, as everything you need to do is clearly laid out from the start of the day. When you complete one task and progress to the next, it creates a sense of satisfaction. This boosts morale and ultimately improves productivity.


With a lot of tasks to remember, you can feel overwhelmed, but everyone can accomplish far more when motivated. Writing a to-do list makes it easier to organise everything you need to accomplish during the working day.
As you physically cross off each completed task, so you can start afresh the next day, this can increase motivation and help you to move forward onto the next round.

When you don’t feel motivated, you’re less likely to complete all the items on the list. Motivation is our internal source of encouragement that keeps us going on a fraught day.


Maintaining a to-do list each day can help improve our memory. When we jot down tasks and short-term goals, continually checking the list throughout the day, this helps us to retain more information. It makes us think and focus more in general.

Reduced stress

Planning the day’s activities can help to declutter your life, removing the damaging sense of feeling totally overwhelmed. This can significantly reduce stress.

The key is to keep the items on the list achievable. Don’t plan too much in one day, because if you fail, you will feel more stressed and demotivated. Keep your daily list manageable. If you finish early, start another small list that you can also achieve before close of play.

Reduced anxiety and better mental health

Reducing anxiety is an important part of enjoying a balanced life. Organising an achievable schedule by writing a to-do list can improve your mental health in the longer term by resolving the uncertainties about work. Seeing all the tasks you need to achieve that day written down makes them seem less daunting.

When you complete each task, it can boost your ego and create a sense of satisfaction. Achieving each new goal increases self-confidence and creates higher self-esteem – two factors that can improve your overall mental wellbeing and outlook on life.

Creates a sense of accomplishment

Completing a task and physically crossing it off a list provides a sense of accomplishment. This will boost morale and ultimately improve productivity. Even if it’s a relatively simple task, such as checking your emails in the morning and putting them into the appropriate folders, it’s still something you’ve accomplished that can act as a motivator.

How should you order your tasks by priority?

Creating goals at work allows you to prioritise and achieve the tasks required for the day. When you create your to-do list, have a system whereby you flag up the most urgent tasks first. Then, finalise a list on a new sheet or document, with the highest priority at the top. Keeping all the ideas in your head just isn’t the same as writing them down and determining their significance.

Setting objectives at work, along with deadlines for each goal, establishes boundaries and turns the goal into a concrete task, instead of just an idea. Put time limits on a task, as otherwise, there’s a chance you will overthink the project and continually delay its completion.

Define which goal you believe to be the most urgent. For example, list an important meeting that you must attend early in the morning first. If you’re completing a report that has a tight deadline, that obviously needs to go near the top of the list.

Once you’ve written down the crucial tasks, move onto the secondary goals, while remembering never to overload your to-do list. Even if you work in a flexible office environment such as in a coworking space London, don’t mistake the more relaxed environment for one where setting goals doesn’t matter.

Even in the vibrant and collaborative atmosphere of coworking in London, everyone must retain some structure in their working day. We’ve all heard the saying, “Flying by the seat of your pants,” and most of us recognise this is the exact opposite of managing your working day efficiently!



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