50+ Sample Printable To Do List & Checklist Templates

What Is a Printable To-Do List and a Checklist?

First things first, what makes a to-do list and a checklist different? As these two terms are often related to each other, there is a slight difference as well. A checklist refers to your dependable guide when it comes to ensuring success in completing particular tasks, errands, requirements, and more. With these checklists, it will be easier to recall anything you need to check or complete. Meanwhile, a things-to-do list is one example of a checklist. This written list or document will help you remember the things you need to accomplish so that any task or errand gets completed.

Based on a 2008 survey, around 76% of Americans keep at least a single to-do list.

Also, Microsoft News stated that approximately 73% of the U.S. respondents agree that they acquire a soothing effect from such lists; thus, it is an instrument for stress management.

On the other hand, a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study stated that 234 million major surgeries and operations occur globally.


What Makes To-Do Lists and Checklists Important?

In having tasks to fulfill, people usually rely on their memory to recall specific errands. However, how sure are you that you got everything covered, and you have not forgotten anything? Thanks to a list template, memory aid is within your reach. And, you become a hundred percent sure about every detail as the list enumerates those tasks. Similar to a detailed letter, you can provide additional info for clarity on your list too. Now, are you still unconvinced about how vital a to-do list is? Try reflecting what psychology says about how the brain responds to any ordered task. According to psychologist/author Dr. David Cohen, three reasons are available on what makes checklists pivotal: (1) to lessen anxiety, (2) to prepare a structured plan, and (3) to prove your achievements in a specific period.

Try relating your situation to the coronavirus pandemic, for example. Instead of thinking a lot regarding the number of deaths and other bad news brought by such pandemic, you can distract yourself with a helpful checklist template. Set up a grocery list to ensure you have all the needed supplies to last for the week or month. Besides food, note that you need masks, sanitizers, and other essentials. Moreover, organize a plan about how to find alternative jobs to earn money. Otherwise, you might encounter trouble in keeping up with rentals and bills. List down your stuff worth selling or search for different sites offering work from home arrangements. With a structured list, acing that matter runs smoothly. Lastly, you can see everything you accomplished after putting checkmarks on your list of the things you finished and other examples that still need some work. Without tracking your progress, it will be hard to know how close you are in fulfilling everything in that catalog. Consequently, you realize how productive you are through your daily, weekly, or monthly errands.

History Check: To-Do Lists Before and After

Why should humans use these lists in the first place? In this section, we will introduce you to how the people from the past depended on various related listings already.

Philosopher Umberto Eco also opened a point that some sort of “irresistible magic” applies to any simple list over time. That point is due to how lists help individuals express themselves, like visualizing how their next vacation looks like. The same goes for what typical meals to create with the ingredients on a list. More so, the great Benjamin Franklin was also known for making lists in dealing with self-improvement. His thirteen-week plan became iconic regarding how he cleans, when he eats, and other details. Instead of finding it difficult to follow a routine, it became easier because of his strict weekly calendar in the form of a checklist.

Furthermore, did you know that a simple checklist can save countless lives too? Back in World War II, the B-17 bomber was introduced. In ensuring their aircraft would not fall, a safety checklist was made for every pilot and crew during the flight. With it, lesser errors happened, which made checklists compulsory. Now, you can also apply the use of a to-do list to current matters. Around 234 million prime surgeries or operations happen worldwide, according to HSPH. Making the checklist mandatory for major operations is undoubtedly beneficial. The best part of modern times is how checklists do not have to be on a piece of paper. One can create a list online or depend on a soft copy.

A Catalog of Common Checklist Types

A survey recorded that 73% of American respondents agree that they experience soothing effects from a to-do list. According to the respondents, a list is an essential tool for stress management. While this reason brings a positive outlook in making checklists, know that different examples of checklists exist too. As mentioned earlier, a to-do list is just one type. Here are the common types of checklists:

Task: This example is probably another familiar facet out of the bunch. The list contains instructions about what task to complete first until the last. With this, you can use templates for quality inspections or an employee task list template. In short, task lists are highly useful for standard processes, particularly if done in detailed steps.Troubleshooting: Next is a troubleshooting checklist. If you know about IT specialists, then you must have an idea that they deal with these issues from time to time. Lists here contain items that help generate the correct outcome. As troubleshooting goes, fixing issues is its main purpose. A pro-tip is to use this during time-sensitive circumstances.Coordination: If a bunch of project plans is a concern, then coordination checklists help a lot. With this, you may involve multiple individuals and teams to finish various tasks. Despite having many things to accomplish, the point is that every party is acting in coordination for a similar purpose.Discipline: A discipline list comes in handy in terms of avoiding bad or poor decisions of a particular moment. This factor is useful in understanding one’s behavior and thinking until people learn to be accountable for their actions. However, this example is not made to cancel anybody but to seek development.To-Do: Of course, this should not be ignored, as anyone has at least made a to-do list. Set this up for objectives that may change anytime because there is room for adjustment here. Moreover, a personal list of things to achieve is also welcome here.

How to Create an Effective and Efficient Checklist

Microsoft News revealed that 76% of the people in the U.S. own at least one to-do list. But how effectively made were they? Indeed, checklists do not have to follow one format as it depends on the user regarding how he or she organizes things. The point is to finish every single task anyway. Although you can make a list your way, it is nice to set some standards to add effectiveness and efficiency to it as well. To do that, follow these steps:

Step 1: Recognize Every Task to Achieve First

Before using our printable to-do list and checklist templates, draft your strategic plans first. Keep in mind that you can have all day to plan things out. First, visualize the things you need to accomplish the next day and list it down on a paper. Next, arrange the activities accordingly. By arranging, that means there is a sequence to observe on what to prioritize. For example, it is impractical to start your checklist with cooking while the grocery shopping for its ingredients comes after it. Thus, interchange the two.

Step 2: Organize by Category

Now input all the information you drafted to our ready-made checklist templates and adjust its features. Know that after transferring all its details does not mean you are done. Prioritizing an organized list comes next. Do your tasks need a timeline? Then, include a weekly or monthly timesheet to signify that you have to do every activity according to the time stipulated there. Sequence each task by adding an estimated time for each action. If you start the day with fixing the bed, add that to your 6:00 AM schedule if you wake up by that time. Moreover, focus on doing the most critical tasks first if other small chores can wait. Also, split big projects into smaller ones in case the activities require a lot of effort.

Step 3: Keep the List Straightforward and Practical

Maybe you end up confusing yourself with your list if you don’t simplify the statements. Perhaps, you mentioned proceeding with your workout plan as of 3:00 PM. To be more succinct, specify what workout to perform first, like lift weights. As all of us crave for a comfortable experience, then do not make a list difficult. Moreover, be realistic and know that there are tasks a single person can’t handle in a short amount of time. Every time you add an activity to the sheet, think if that is achievable or not. If not, then adjust its details.

Step 4: Give Room for Creativity

Who says there is no room for cute to-do list ideas in these templates? Yes, the template’s editable feature includes free tweaking for the format and design to come up with a more creative list. Sometimes artistic and colorful lists look more engaging to use, particularly if you love its design. Aside from dull-looking lines and graphs in a typical list, incorporate circular charts or heart templates, perhaps.

Step 5: Update on a Timely Basis

Check every task accomplished since the listing is useless without any indication if activities got fulfilled. If one item states to shop for protective gear, then mark it done after shopping. After completing everything, update the details. Maybe you need to make a new list afterward, which explains why updating from time to time is essential as you need not go back to completed listings.


How long should a to-do list be?

There is no strict rule regarding how long your to-do list should be. The whole list depends on who will use it anyway, as long as he or she can finish the tasks written there. However, the average number of tasks for a productive person is around 6-12.

What is a daily to-do list?

As the name suggests, daily to-do lists refer to all the tasks needed to be achieved for the whole day. If you fail to accomplish the activities written within 24 hours, then that list is no longer labeled as such. Transform timesheets into a weekly or monthly list instead if managing it every day is somehow difficult.

What is a not-to-do list?

Not-to-do lists are the opposite of to-do lists, meaning the tasks or activities written in those sheets are things to avoid. Other people even own both the dos and don’ts for checklists. The only concern is to ensure you do not mix up, which should be done or not.

Despite the frustration brought by having many complicated tasks to complete, know that a printable to-do list and checklist will bring a more manageable approach. In fact, planning goes hand in hand with listing what to accomplish; therefore, a good plan helps promote a successful outcome. Lessen your worries this pandemic and aim to get your life back together by listing everything you need to buy, achieve, and do for a positive outlook.