Daily Things To Do List Guidelines

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 
Dr. Howard Masuda
Revised August 2004
Why do I need to use a things-to-do list?
A things-to-do list is a simple memory device that will help you to remember and keep
track of the numerous day-to-day (academic, personal, social, family, work, etc.) tasks that you
need or want to complete. By writing down what you need or want to do, you can focus your
attention on completing tasks rather than worrying about trying to remember them.
A things-do-do list has many more uses. (1) You can create specialized things-to-do lists
to break down a larger, more difficult task (e.g., writing a research paper) into smaller, more
manageable ones (e.g., each of the steps in writing a research paper); (2) You can write down in
one place library references, telephone numbers, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, and any
other important information; (3) You can tear out a page from your tablet to give another person
information; (4) You can write down your thoughts and feelings when you are having difficulty
concentrating because of an emotional or distressful situation. Writing about what you are
thinking and feeling, much like talking about it, may help you to “get out” your thoughts and
feelings allowing you to feel better and more able to concentrate; and (5) You can write down
those “brilliant” ideas or solutions whenever you have them.
What do I use for a things-to-do list?
A 3” X 5” tablet along with a pen is a convenient and practical way to do this
since the tablet and pen can fit easily into your pocket, purse, or backpack and be
readily available when you need to write down or check something on your list.
How do I start my things-to-do list?
First, write down the date you start to create your list (e.g., Monday, October 10 or Mon,
Oct 10). You could do this regularly in the morning and/or at night, and when you think of a
task you need or want to do.
Second, number and write down each task that you need or want to do in no particular
order at this point. You can use your things-to-do list in conjunction with your quarterly and
weekly schedules to identify tasks. Use short, abbreviated sentences that start with an action
verb (e.g., buy, call, write, study, go, see, read, etc.). Be as specific and detailed as necessary.
For example, if you need to “call dentist,” write down the telephone number also.
Third, write down a “Do by” date, if necessary to know the exact date when something
needs to be completed.
University Tutorial Center
John F. Kennedy Library, Palmer Wing, Room 1039—(323) 343-3971
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