5 Simple Tips to Automate and Optimize Your To-Do List

5 Simple Tips to Automate and Optimize Your To-Do List

Easy tips to keep track of all the to-dos that pile up

Automate and optimize your to-do list and stop important tasks from falling through the cracks.

Organize and keep track of it all in a simple way that quickly becomes a habit.  

Automate and optimize your to-do list and stop important tasks from falling through the cracks.

Do you feel like you get nothing done and you’re spinning your wheels?

Do you feel frazzled, constantly rushing to catch up with everything that needs to be done, missing important deadlines, forgetting to call or text people back, and finishing up homework in the car on the way to school (I admit to that 😉)?  Do you hate that horrible sinking feeling when you realize you forgot something really important?

Have you downloaded a ‘to-do’ app but it’s not working for you?  Maybe it’s just taking up space on your screen and you haven’t started using it yet?  Or, maybe you use it, but not consistently and so it’s not working the way you want it.

In this blog post, I’ll give you 5 short-cuts to help you capture everything on your list so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Best to do list app

Find the Best App for You

Before we get started…If you don’t have an app you love yet, I wrote a blog that recommended some to-do list apps.   I’d recommend reading that first (it’s quick) and then come back to this one.  Here’s the link to it:  The Best Apps to Get Control of Your Out of Control To Do List. 

Or, if you just want the bottom line, I recommend Toodledo (Note: this is my referral link.  If you’d like to download from there, that would be fab! But, I would recommend this app even if they didn’t have a referral program.  I’ve been an avid user for 7 years so far).

Ok, let’s get to the point.  Here are the 5 easy steps to simplify your to-do tracking system and start a process that you’ll follow religiously. 

  1. Auto-create tasks from your emails. 
  2. Save your to-do list as a contact in your phone so you can easily forward emails that auto-create tasks on your list.  Here are some examples:
    • Invitations.  When you receive an invitation, take a picture of it and then email it to your to-do list.  Then, update the list with the date you need to buy a present.  
    • Emails that require follow-up.  When you receive an email that includes an action item (e.g. Sign-Up Genius), forward that to your ‘to-do list’ so you don’t forget.
  3. Quickly jot in an action item whenever one hits you (e.g. in the backpack or through the mail).
    • Track it immediately – Don’t write this down on a sticky or in your calendar, put in in your app immediately.
    • Paperwork – if you don’t have time to handle the paper right away (I always recommend trying to touch paper just once if you can), then enter a quick to-do in your app.  For example, remind yourself you need to pay for that emergency repair service.
  4. Set up recurring tasks in your to-do app
  • Add a task for anything that is repetitive (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly) and set up the schedule to repeat
  • Think of what you frequently forget and put those items on your list and set them to recurring. 
  • Examples:
    • A ‘to-do’ to decide if you want to cancel kid’s lessons before the auto-charge occurs.
    • A reminder to drink 80 oz of water and leave the repeating task until it becomes a habit.  You’ll gain satisfaction from checking it off every day.
    • A ‘to-do’ to send a birthday card.  Set that a week before the birthday and to repeat yearly. A quick story, before I did this, there were a few times I forgot to mail a birthday card and then had to pay to overnight it.  Not good to spend $3 on a card and $25 on postage.☹

5.  Use the ‘IFTTT’ (If This Then That) app to auto-create tasks.

  • OK, I don’t want to get too geeky but I can barely contain myself over this little gem of an app.
  • Basically, this is an app that allows you to trigger actions.   There are choices like ‘send me a notification when the space station orbits over my house’.   So cool!
  • Here are some ideas to set this up for your ‘to-do’ list:
    1. If you have an Alexa and use Toodledo or Todoist, you can set it up to ‘ask Alexa what’s on  my to do list’ or ‘add to my to do list’
    2. You can set it up to automatically create an action item when someone leaves you a voicemail (how cool is that, you’ll never forget to return a call!)
    3. You can turn starred emails into action items (and not even need to forward them).  This would just automatically trigger a new to-do item if you click the star in your email.
    4. Send yourself a weekly list of all you accomplished.
    5. One key to making sure you finish your to-do list is to schedule each to-do on your calendar.
      • ITTT app can automatically set your to-do items on your calendar. 
      • Then, you drag them into an open spot.  Voila, you have time set aside to finish the tasks you assigned yourself that day.  So fun!

7. Now that you have everything in the list, make sure you USE it Have you ever made a list and then never looked at it again?  It might feel so overwhelming that you just ignore it. 

  • One trick to make sure you’re following this killer list you just made is to set up email reminders FROM the list to you.
  • If you’re using Toodledo, enable daily email reminders on your account settings to email your ‘hotlist’ to yourself every morning.

How Do These Tips Work for You?

I’m excited to hear how these ideas work for you.  If you have other ideas for making sure nothing slips through the cracks and misses your to-do list, please share them in the comments.  I’d love to hear your techniques!

And, if you need help configuring the IFTTT app, please send me a message through Facebook Messenger or email.  I’d be happy to guide you through setting it up (no charge, just happy to help you get this magical system up and running!)


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