50+ Sample Action List Templates

What Is an Action List?

Projects, tasks, and actions can be endless when it comes to working, studying, or living in general. And when the things to perform are hard to remember, you deserve a document that highlights every single detail of actions to be taken—an action list. Bear in mind that every person has different things to accomplish. And how to use the action list also varies to what field it is used for. Although action lists do not contain all the things you are expected to do your whole life, these lists are an abridged version of the things you can do daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.

According to a 2008 report, 76% of people in the US keep at least one to-do list.

Also, The Business Journals said that there are over 32.5 million businesses in America.

Why Are Action Lists Important?

According to Microsoft News, 76% of people in America keep at least one to-do list. Since most people are familiar with to-do lists, why should people use action lists instead? First of all, a to-do list or checklist only stores information about everything you want to achieve; and that is it. Meanwhile, action lists are more detailed because it enables you to a sequence of events on which ones to achieve first to last. More so, tasks are planned with a realistic timeline so you can accomplish all the work productively. And instead of piling up tasks altogether, you can divide them into groups for a more effective way of completing them in order of prioritization.

Moreover, an action list works for all sorts of functions. Do not just limit the action list for office-based tasks. You can also create an action list to outline every task for grocery shopping, meeting with friends, or your next romantic date. And since such lists work with various applications, it is essential to specify what it is used for and make each action small. That way, you will not have to be overwhelmed with your tasks. In short, action lists ensure you do things smoothly.

Lights, Camera, Action: Elements of an Action List

An action list’s presentation is a big deal. It must be properly planned and detailed from the top until the bottom. Otherwise, depending on a poorly crafted list may not deliver the results you expected. Also, do you already have an idea of what is inside an action list in the first place? Be sure to familiarize each factor so you will not miss any important detail in making a list later on. Lights, camera, action, here are the elements of a standard action list:

Title: Ensure that the document used for the action list has a title. Do not just settle with ‘Action List’ because it is much better to specify it according to the list’s purpose. For example, are you making a business project action list, grocery shopping action list, or maybe a career goal action list? With a specific title, it will be easy to determine what that document is for.Checkboxes: Action lists and checklists often go hand in hand. And that is why an action list may contain plenty of checkboxes. Bear in mind that beside every checkbox is a listed item referring to a specific action or task. And once you finish one task, you will put a checkmark to its corresponding checkbox; thus, the marked item displays that the action there has already been done. It is standard to put checkmarks on every finished task.List of Actions: The main meat of your action list is the list of actions itself. An example is when you design a character for a video game. Your list may contain actions like sketching the body, finalizing the color scheme, assigning the character’s personality, or deciding whether the character speaks in English or maybe Spanish. Be sure you do not forget any significant action or your plan might not work out as expected. It is also expected that the actions are divided into categories so you can organize tasks.Level of Priority: Review the tasks you listed and determine their priority level. You can group the priority level according to low, medium, and high. Expect to mark the most important and urgent actions as a high priority, so you would know that those items need to be done as soon as possible. And the priority level is another way of categorizing the tasks mentioned in your list.Difficulty: Besides the level of priority, there is also the difficulty level. Some tasks might be urgent, but they could be very difficult. Hence, you might need more labor, time, and effort to finish them. Make sure your action list will also be categorized according to easy, medium, and hard levels for awareness. Same as before, conduct reviews and evaluations to uncover which items are difficult and easy to manage.Schedule: What makes action lists dependable is how they go with a timeline or schedule. Otherwise, you might end up making a great plan without the actual date and time of when to establish the whole plan. The key to action lists is to make every item as small as possible. Indeed, you can make a master list of all actions to take. But tasks will not be so daunting if you divide them into smaller lists. More so, you can determine how much you can accomplish in a day with a realistic time frame prepared on the list.Progress: Do not forget to put a column specifically for noting every action’s progress. Sometimes, you cannot complete a specific task in one day, and you can mention in the progress column that an item is still in progress. And you will resume that action the next day. A progress column is vital as your reliable tracker when you need a daily report of a task’s current situation.Comments or Remarks: Lastly, incorporate extra space for additional comments and remarks in the action list. Aside from the schedule, progress, priority, and difficulty level, you might add other notes and comments about certain tasks. Hence, leave blanks for mentioning comments and remarks as they might be needed. For example, you could insert your feedback after finishing an action as a reminder for your next task.

How to Make a Dependable Action List

How do you write an action list that is dependable? Take note of the word ‘dependable’ because action lists might be responsible for whether your business runs successfully or not. Based on a survey, there are approximately more than 32.5 million businesses in the US. And such businesses would not last without a guide on how to work in the competitive industry. So for your next action list, be sure it is dependable enough. And you can do so with the following steps:

Step 1: List Your Actions in a Draft and Assign Labels

What is your action list’s purpose? And what will be the expected tasks to fulfill along the way? Those are the first few things you must finalize before making the actual action list. Using a draft, write down the tasks you must do. Do not worry about the sequence, priority level, and other considerations yet. What matters most is you have identified each action in a document. After listing, you will start assigning labels on which actions share a common element so you can begin grouping them into categories. Also, this is the time to arrange each action’s sequence, importance level, difficulty level, etc.

Step 2: Ensure that the Tasks Are Feasible

Look back into every task being listed because they might not be doable. Be practical in making the actions too. You can’t expect to finish a hundred tasks in a single day anyway. Assess the tasks in terms of their feasibility until you can transform them into practical tasks. A tip is to analyze using SMART goals, which encourages you to ensure the actions enlisted are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Step 3: Transfer the Details in a Template

After finalizing the details in a draft, transfer what you wrote to the sample action list template of your choice. Have you seen our sample templates above already? All you have to do is explore and find which template fits well to your purpose and preference. But, do not blindly transfer all details in a template without considering the format and design. You still need to customize the template as to how you want the entire presentation to turn out. A tip is to read everything and see if the whole action list is reliable enough for you.

Step 4: Organize Your List According to the Elements

Do not ignore the elements of an action list that were discussed earlier. Those are your guide regarding how the action list should be organized. So expect to layout the elements down from the title to the comments or remarks. Are you satisfied with its arrangement? Finalize now. And lastly, conduct your final observation from the spelling, grammar, font size, font style, and other considerations. You will only launch the action list when you are confident with how it turned out. After that, commit to the list so you will finish it all.


Why is an action list better than a to-do list?

Action lists are technically better than to-do lists because a to-do list only summarizes all your tasks. Meanwhile, action lists help you prioritize tasks according to their importance, urgency, and difficulty. Also, action lists break down the tasks into actionable steps to avoid bigger and more difficult projects. And finally, action lists are set with a timeline so you can manage feasible tasks productively.

What is a meeting action item?

The meeting action item refers to any task given to someone or more people who took part in a particular meeting. So down from the meeting notes and tasks, the meeting action items may be a lot depending on whatever is discussed during meetings.

How many tasks can a productive person accomplish in a day?

How many tasks a person can accomplish daily depends on his or her capability. Also, it depends on how long or difficult the involved tasks are. But generally, a productive person can accomplish around six to twelve tasks on average per day.

Life is, no doubt, a neverending work. Once you are finished with one task, you will meet another. However, you shouldn’t compile your tasks and make them more challenging to accomplish. Reach milestones instead by ensuring you take every job responsibly with proper time management. And no matter what types of tasks they are, note them down with our action list templates—your best comprehensive tools to stay on track with every action to take.