This to-do list changed my life.
Easier, better, & simpler than a daily planner
Written by jack friks
Last Updated: Aug 5, 2023
One day not long ago, in my mom’s basement I was sitting, & I discovered the immense power of daily planning.
I was so enthralled with planning each day, task by task, hour by hour, that I spend each night before doing so.
This worked great, I even wrote an entire article on how using a daily planner changed my life.
The thing is… it got tiresome & used a lot of my mental bandwidth each night. Some nights I just wanted to read, or sleep!
Then I found the answer in a book I was reading, the ultimate (& very simple) to-do list.
I recently implemented this to-do list & it’s the perfect solution to my miniscule problems
Today I want to share with you: the to-do list template and how it works.
Time is finite
Time is absolutely finite, & with every second that passes you are only getting closer until your time is up.
This to-do list is structured based on this principle specifically so you can decide what you want to-actually-do with your time.
Stop lollygagging on Instagram or doing low-effort, low-impact tasks & get the work done that actually matters to yourself. - This is what the core of this to-do list has helped me with & will likely help you with too.
All the while I believe any benefits that a daily planner brings to the table (which are a lot, you can read all about it here) this to-do list also brings those same benefits & more.
If you want to download the to-do list, don’t worry: there will be a big button to do so in just a minute.
But before that… so you can use it best, it’s important you understand how it works.
How the best to-do list works (the to-do 4000)
The to-do 4000 is a name I made up for this to-do list, & best to-do list is subjective in my opinion…
anyways… this to-do list works with just a few core principles in mind, these principles are from the book 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
Here’s how it works:
The to-list must be split into two separate lists.
a Closed List,
& an Open List.
The Closed list may only have 10 items to do at any given time, you can only ever work on tasks that are in the CLOSED list.
If you want to perform a task on the open list, you must first finish a task on the closed list to free up space & then add your new task from the open list to the closed list. — Having a limit on tasks is crucial to doing the work that matters the most to you.
The Open list may have any number of tasks on it, it can go to infinity, & it will likely be a mess. - This helps you get rid of stress & just dump stuff into your list, your later self will figure out what’s most important & move it to the closed list to act on.
You may also want a 3rd list for On-hold tasks in the case that you’re waiting on someone else to get back to you or some similar scenario that stops you from proceeding on a Closed list task.
I’ve added some more ideas to this list that you can use, to help it help you… if you want to hear about those then continue reading past this section.
Here’s the big button I promised earlier:
More info to help you work
On top of using the Open list & Closed list, I’ve also added a Done list to the to-do 4000, this done list helps you create & carry momentum with you when you are knocking off work tasks.
How is momentum created with a done list?
Well, the ability to see how much progress you’ve made today makes you want to do more! It’s an odd phenomenon, but once you get the ball rolling you can really show yourself you are doing a lot of work, or valuable work in general & you’ll be more likely to keep going.
Small wins add up, they snowball throughout the day, & by the end of the day, you have a big ball of work completed.
Another huge help for me in using this to-do list to its potential is to get into a state of deep work.
If you give yourself 8 hours to do some tasks, it will take 8 hours most of the time.
But if you cram yourself into a box of 6 hours, you still get it all done the same, but faster. This is because focus is retained more.
Deep work, as you can probably guess, is the technique of working with focus.
To get into a state of deep work, I started by using a Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes, setting 1 task to work on & doing nothing else for that time.
I noticed this helped me a ton, and as weeks went on, I did more deep work, which let me knock work out of the park in record time.
Segwaying from deep work I would also recommend setting a deadline for work time & doing things on this work-based task list, setting a time limit will give you more energy when you need it, help you complete work faster, & let you enjoy the other parts outside of your lives work.
Here’s the big button to get your to-do list template again
Books I recommend based on today’s topics
If you want more expansion on some of the ideas I mentioned today then there are 2 very great books I recommend
#1: 4000 Weeks By Oliver Burkeman - This book changed my life & is responsible solely for this simple & effective to-do list.
#2: Deep Work by Cal Newport - This book although I just started is making me more focused & will no doubt help me get to where I want to be with the practice of its concepts.
Watch the video I made on this To-List VS Daily Planner by clicking the link below.
The Ultimate To-do list is actually SIMPLE: https://youtu.be/arNlJi5XL2E
Too Long Didnt Read
Discover the power of daily planning through the "To-Do 4000" list. Split into Closed (10 tasks) and Open (infinite tasks) lists, it helps you focus on what truly matters.
Finish a Closed task to add an Open one. Include an On-Hold list for pending tasks. The Done list creates momentum, motivating you to do more.
Deep work techniques and timeboxing enhance productivity.
Recommended books: "4000 Weeks" by Oliver Burkeman, which inspired the list, and "Deep Work" by Cal Newport for increased focus.
Download the To-Do 4000 template to reclaim control over your time and achieve meaningful accomplishments.
thanks for reading, it means SO FRIKIN MUCH that you gave me some of your finite time.
from my mom’s basement,
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