4 reasons why to-do lists improve your daily life

organization study skills
By Ozioma

If you tend to forget things, miss deadlines often, feel overwhelmed by tasks, or have generalized stress or anxiety, to-do lists are the solution for you.

To-do lists can serve a variety of purposes: they are incredibly flexible tools and can serve as a compass for many people.

Here are 4 ways in which to-do lists can improve your life:

Increase Your Productivity

Having a to-do list helps you to prioritize your personal tasks and work. By organizing and completing your most important tasks first, you learn how to better manage your time.

Improve Memory

To-do lists work as a visual reminder of goals and tasks that need to be accomplished. This is important because they serve the purpose of unloading your memory system (essentially serving as an external memory bank). To-do lists also remind you at any given moment which next step or task to tackle. With this, you can improve your overall memory by reinforcing your short-term memory. 

Provide Some Motivation

Having too many tasks can bog down your determination to get them completed. With a to-do list, you have the opportunity to prioritize tasks. Also, to-do lists provide a strong visual of what you've accomplished at the end of the day. This can either be motivating or gives you great feedback about your trends and tendencies.

Create Accountability

Writing something down brings a task to life: when you write down a task, you are adding it as a tangible part of your life. Therefore, it is now up to you to complete that task. With a to-do list, you are giving yourself a tangible goal to accomplish.

You won’t regret having a to-do list. 

Whether you use a journal or something more portable like an application, to-do lists are incredibly effective. Personally, I have been using some form of a to-do list for roughly 8 years. The last four years, I have been the mobile/desktop app, Todoist. Pro-tip: the free version of this app has everything you need. 


academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing college admissions English MD/PhD admissions GMAT LSAT GRE writing strategy chemistry physics math biology ACT graduate admissions language learning law school admissions test anxiety interview prep MBA admissions academic advice premed homework help personal statements AP exams creative writing MD career advice study schedules summer activities Common Application history test prep philosophy computer science secondary applications organic chemistry economics supplements PSAT admissions coaching grammar law statistics & probability psychology ESL research 1L CARS SSAT covid-19 legal studies logic games reading comprehension dental admissions mathematics USMLE Spanish calculus engineering parents Latin verbal reasoning DAT excel mentorship political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches academic integrity case coaching chinese AMCAS DO MBA coursework PhD admissions Social Advocacy admissions advice biochemistry classics diversity statement genetics geometry kinematics medical school mental health quantitative reasoning skills time management Anki English literature IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs algebra algorithms art history artificial intelligence astrophysics athletics business business skills careers cold emails data science internships letters of recommendation poetry presentations resume science social sciences software engineering study abroad tech industry trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Academic Interest DMD EMT FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Health Professional Shortage Area Italian Lagrange multipliers London MD vs PhD MMI Montessori National Health Service Corps Pythagorean Theorem Python STEM Sentence Correction Step 2 TMDSAS Zoom acids and bases amino acids analysis essay architecture argumentative writing brain teaser campus visits cantonese capacitors capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chess chromatography class participation climate change clinical experience community service constitutional law consulting cover letters curriculum demonstrated interest dental school distance learning electricity and magnetism enrichment european history executive function finance first generation student freewriting fun facts functions gap year genomics harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science hybrid vehicles hydrophobic effect ideal gas law induction information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning intern international students investing investment banking lab reports logic mandarin chinese mba mechanical engineering medical physics meiosis microeconomics mitosis music music theory neurology neuroscience office hours operating systems organization pedagogy phrase structure rules plagiarism pre-dental proofs pseudocode psych/soc quantum mechanics resistors resonance revising scholarships school selection simple linear regression slide decks sociology software stem cells stereochemistry study spots synthesis teaching technical interviews transfer typology units virtual interviews writer's block writing circles