6 Steps to Creating a Useful To-Do List

I am a big fan of to-do-lists because they help me to remain focused. When I see everything crossed off at the end of the day it give me a sense of accomplishment.

Each person has their own method, but I’d like to share what works for me. Keep in mind that the main thing to having a successful day is not the perfect to-do-list. It is allowing God to lead and direct you.

I have had to, on many occasions, put the list down and spend the day rolling around on the floor with my children, lying in bed with my husband or in prayer with the Lord. The main key is being open and flexible to allowing God to order your steps.

Prayer and surrender is what led me to began using the following method. I prayed and asked God to help me do the job that he has asked me to do which is to keep the home. No one taught me how to be a homemaker growing up, so I’ve learned to depend on the Lord and He hasn’t failed me yet. Try Him and see if He won’t do the same for you.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:4-6


My to-do-list is broken down into topics which consist of household chores, errands, home school and requests from husband. My To-Do-List is limited to 6 items or less. If there is anything else that needs to be done it will become the basis for the next day’s list. Once I am done with the six things on my list, that’s it. I don’t create a new list for that day. My number is six yours may be more or even less, but you have to find what works for you. With practice I have learned that I can get six significant things done each day that will allow me to do my housework effectively but still have energy to facilitate the other facets of my life such as being a wife, mom and friend.

So the first things that I put on my list are the daily chores. I mop and sweep all floors on Mondays, so on Monday that would be first on my list. Next are the quarterly chores, which is usually one task such as change AC filters or clean fan blades. I don’t always have a daily chore or quarterly chore. For instance, on Wednesday’s the only daily chores are to bring the trash can to the back of the house which is a chore that belongs to my children. So I can use this open slot to work on a hobby or I can use it to catch up on another homemaking task such as preparing a freezer meal or doing an extra load of laundry for the week. This leads me to the next thing that I add to the list.

At this point I have listed my daily and quarterly jobs. Now, I will add things that I see needs attention. This portion of the list is usually reserved for tasks that will accomplish a future goal. For example if it is Friday I’ll add something that pertains to preparing for church on Sunday such as washing and styling the girls hair or marinating the meat for Sunday dinner.

This portion of my To-Do List helps to prevent me from being overloaded with work when Sunday arrives. Each day I try and complete at least one task that will make my job easier in the future.

Here’s a look at my typical to-do-list so far…

1. Daily Job
2. Quarterly Job
3. Needs Attention

Below is what my list would look like on Thursday’s. It looks like this because I have two ‘Daily Jobs’ which are to sweep kitchen and dust furniture in one room.

1. Daily Job
2. Daily Job
3. Quarterly Job
4. Needs Attention

Now, I ask my husband is there anything that he would like for me to do or him. Some may put their husband’s requests first on the list; I’ve listed my jobs first because I know them in advance because I have been doing them for so long.

His wishes come before or somewhere in the midst of my tasks simply depending upon the urgency of his need. He usually doesn’t need for me to do much. He’ll say something like “Can you take out my gym clothes for this evening?” or ask me to be sure that his work pants are clean, which is usually already done. So this is an easy “To-Do” for the most part.

So this is my list so far…

1. Daily Job
2. Quarterly Job
3. Needs Attention
4. Husbands Needs

The last two slots are usually reserved for me and the kids. One slot is reserved for me to carry out my own personal to-do and the other is for me to carry out one of their personal to-do. The kids needs will consist of solicited and unsolicited needs. An example of a solicited need would be my daughter asking me to wash and style her hair in the middle of the week, and an unsolicited would be me taking my son to the doctor once a week for his allergy shot.

So this is what my list looks like now…

1. Daily Job
2. Quarterly Job
3. Needs Attention
4. Husbands Needs
5. My Needs
6. Kids Needs

If you are overwhelmed with the never ending tasks that seem to call your name, then consider trying this method to see if it helps.

Do you make to-do-lists? Of all of the many things that need to be done, how do you decide what gets put on the list?


  1. says

    It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have long to-do lists. Just looking at it is intimidating.

    So, I only write FOUR things on my to-do list.

    That’s it. Only FOUR.

    But these aren’t just ANY four.. these are the MOST IMPORTANT four things I need to get done today.

    If I do my four things then I have had a PERFECT day, regardless of what else got done.

    If you get your four things done early, great! Go ahead and do more things..

    But, before you go to bed tonight.. write out the FOUR things you want to do tomorrow.

    I guarantee that you’ll be a lot more productive in every day if you concentrate on only your TOP 4.

    Good Luck!


    The Proverbs Wife Reply:

    @David – Debt Free Marriage,

    Thanks for the great advice David. To-do lists can be a very tricking. People often think the more the better but it’s just the opposite. Our days shouldn’t be burdensome. I will be checking out more of your blog in the near future thanks for stopping by.


  2. Melanie says

    It’s neat to see how you do your to-do list! I usually only do one list for the whole week and use it throughout the week. It mainly will have phone calls/appointments I need to make, paperwork type chores, errands, special items to buy like for birthdays, etc, anything unique for that week, but I rarely write down what household chores I need to do. I guess I assume I’ll do them automatically, however taking a look at my house I realize that it may not be so automatic!!! I probably need to list these chores as well to keep me accountable. Thanks for the post!


    The Proverbs Wife Reply:

    Hi Melanie,

    When I first became a stay at home my I kept a list like yours but soon found that if I didn’t have it on my to-do-list, that it usually didn’t get done. I find that when I write things down it becomes one less thing I have to clutter up my memory with. As I’m getting older (maybe it’s just the numerous responsibilities) I forget things more easily. The to-do list seems to help.


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