To-Do List vs a Project List

Why do I want to make a to-do list?  I want to make better use of my time without becoming overwhelmed.  I can't do everything.  It's not worth trying to do too much and I want some slack time to do nothing, just relax.

Now I'm not so busy that I need a complicated method.  An easy method for the best use of my time is what I want.
I don't want to learn how to set up flags and colored stars to make priorities and whatever. It's Fun to make lists but I don't want to spend all my time and energy only making lists rather than actually taking action.

My mistake was in not paying attention to the difference between a to-do list and a project list.

A project could be something like "I want to keep the house in good condition", which I can name as something like House Maintenance.
But this doesn't explain how to do it.

If I list the things I need to do for this project, Wunderlist calls them subtasks; I can now transfer them to my to-do list when I'm ready as:
-Vacuum dryer exhaust duct.
-Buy wireless smoke detectors.
-Install wireless smoke detectors.
and so on.
This is very specific and doable step by step.

There are many ways to do this but if you confuse a project list with a to-do list, the way I did,  not much will get done.

Here is how I do it now:

I use Wunderlist to list my projects and break them down into subtasks that need to be done to complete the project.

I then transfer a subtask (here it's Dryer exhaust duct) onto my to-do list called "Do It (Tomorrow)".

I use "Do it tomorrow" for my actual to-do list.  It's very simple and I wind up doing much more than with complicated lists.

Link to Planning Page for more ideas: Planning

What are your thoughts and ideas?  How do you like to do it?


  1. I just keep both my general "to do list" and my "project list" in my head. Maybe that's why it can take years to get around to doing items on them?

    1. Same way with me. Hopefully the lists will help me.

  2. John, I have to make lists... or things don't get done. Right now I list what I need to do daily on my iPhone calendar and move them to the next day if they don't get done that day. A lot of things move on down the week since retirement, but that's OK. I consider the ability to do this *a perk*!

    1. That sounds like a good system. After retirement we're allowed to have time to sit back and relax. I still want to do a lot of things but I also want to do them at my own pace.

  3. I go through binge periods where sometimes I tackle a ton of things and get them out of the way. And others times I totally slack off. Seems like I can only live on one end of the spectrum or the other :) I don't really make lists. I just walk around the house and decide what I feel like doing.

    1. Sometimes I go on and off trying to do what's on the list, not sure why.

  4. While I admire your incentive and ambition I must confess this would cause me untold amounts of stress. I would feel obligated to adhere to the list with a do or die mentality! Some days just eating breakfast is an achievement. I wish you luck with your lists. I will have to decline the idea and continue with my moving very slow and working when I feel like it approach.

    1. You've earned it. I often skip what I'm "supposed" to be doing. It's not worth it to force yourself. Besides I leave half my time with nothing to do. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself.

  5. I was going to suggest making two lists. One for large time consuming jobs and another for smaller tasks that won't take too much time. Then as I read on I found that is sort of what you did. You don't need me this time.

  6. The first sign is funny.
    No 'to do list' here, we just remember what has to be done and do it when necessary. Most important things first.

    1. Sounds good to me. I just feel better writing it down, sort of obsessive/compulsive.


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