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How to Create a Quick To Do List

One of my favorite pieces of advice to give others is to always work from a list.

If you keep all of your tasks or to-dos written down either digitally or on paper, it is much easier to review what you’ve got to do and keep everything organized.

Plus, you don’t have to expend any extra mental energy on trying to remember what you have to do in the first place.

Today, I’m going to show you how to build a quick and simple to-do list using a spreadsheet.

As always with these “how to” posts, if you want to grab my version to compare to your final result, you can download it using the link below.

How To Create ToDo List

Now without further ado, let’s build our simple to-do list.

Step No. 1 – Name the Columns

Go ahead and open up your nearest spreadsheet application and start with a blank spreadsheet. I will be using Microsoft Excel for this example.

The first thing we need to do is add headings to our columns that will eventually make up our to-do list table. To do this, add the following values to the following cells.

  • Cell C4 – “Owner”
  • Cell D4 – “Task”
  • Cell E4 – “Priority”
  • Cell F4 – “Status”
  • Cell G4 – “Due Date”
  • Cell H4 – “Notes”

Your spreadsheet should now look something like this.

Spreadsheet Column Names

Step No. 2 – Create a Table

To create a table with our headers, go ahead and highlight cells C4 through H7.

Highlighting C4 through H7

Navigate to the “Insert” tab in the ribbon on top of your spreadsheet and click the “Table” button.

Clicking the Insert Table Button

A “Create Table” dialog box will pop up. Be sure to check the “My table has headers” box and then select “Ok”.

My Table Has headers

Now that you’ve got your table, you can style it whichever way you would like to. For me, I will use the “Table Style Light 8”.

Applying Table Style Light 8

Step No. 3 – Add Background Color to the Spreadsheet

To make our table stand out, we are going to add some background color to get rid of the distracting gridlines surrounding the table.

First, click the little gray triangle in the top left corner of the spreadsheet between row 1 and column A. This will highlight all of the spreadsheet’s cells.

Highlighting All of the Spreadsheet Cells

Next, click the “Fill” button to add a background color to all of the cells. I will be selecting, Gray – 25%, Background 2, Darker – 50%.

Selecting the Proper Fill Color

This will add color to every single cell including the cells in our table. To get rid of the color in our table, simply highlight the entire table and remove the fill color from the table.

Highlighting the Table

Selecting No Fill for the Table

Step No. 4 – Fill Out the Table with Your Task Information

You now have a simple excel table ready to act as your to-do list. I will go ahead and give you a quick overview of what type of information you should place in each column and then the rest is up to you.

The best part is, since you are using an Excel table, you can utilize all of the powerful features tables have to offer. If you are curious what all you can do, I cover tables in greater detail in my post “Turn the Tables.”

The Owner Column

In this column, you simply add whoever is to be responsible for the task. If this is your own personal to-do list, then the owner will almost always be you.

This column is useful to have because you will always know who is to be held accountable for a given task.

The Task Column

This column is pretty straight forward. This is simply where you will document whatever task you would like to accomplish.

The Priority Column

This column allows you to assign different priorities to different tasks. You can also make your priorities whatever you want.

For instance, you could use priorities such as “High”, “Medium”, and “Low”, or you could simple use the numbers 1 through 10. It’s totally up to you.

Either way, this column is important because it allows you to determine which tasks are more important than others. Once you’ve got the most important tasks identified, you should almost always get those done first.

The Status Column

This column is where you can document if a task is complete, open, or still being worked on. You can also identify other statuses if they are necessary.

For example, if you need someone else to review whatever work you did on a specific task, you can mark the status as “In Review” or something similar.

The Due Date Column

This column is just what it sounds like. You place due dates for given tasks in this column.

Due dates are very important because tasks without deadlines very rarely get completed. A due date provides you with a sense of urgency, and this is one of the most powerful tools in the battle against laziness and procrastination.

The Notes Column

This column is simply there to provide you space to add any extra notes or comments about any of your written tasks.

Sometimes a few small notes can go a long way in reminding you of the extra details that will help you complete your tasks with ease.

Well there you have it! A simple and quick spreadsheet to-do list that if used can make your life a lot more organized and much easier to manage on a day-to-day basis.

Also, if you would like a to do list spreadsheet that you can use in Google Sheets, see our Personal To Do List that we offer for free!

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