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I’ll admit it. I am a sticky-note, scrap paper-jotting to-do list person.

I thrive in my own chaos (I have three half-completed to-do lists floating around at any given time.) But you know what? It works for me. And ultimately, the “best” to-do list is really whatever works for you, and your brain. It shouldn’t be hard. It shouldn’t take you an hour to make. It shouldn’t stress you out. For many people, to-do lists are what keep them organized and (mostly) sane. Knowing what you need to do, and when, is a key part of any job, and being able to meet deadlines is crucial in any career. That’s where to-do lists come in.

In case you haven’t found the right to-do list method, we rounded up a few of our best bets—templates included.

CALENDAR COMPARISON LIST

How many times a day do you check your calendar? In the amount of time you spend in remembering what time your meetings are, you could probably have finished two or three tasks. Some people create a two-for-one situation with their to-do list, choosing to create it in line with their daily schedule. This results in some major clarity re: scheduling and project management. If you’re an online calendar person, plug your planned tasks in line with your meetings, and any priority projects in your free time or open windows. You could even go as far as to commit to timeframes for your tasks. If you’re more of a pen and paper person, you could create a list like this:

CALENDAR COMPARISON LIST

How many times a day do you check your calendar? In the amount of time you spend in remembering what time your meetings are, you could probably have finished two or three tasks. Some people create a two-for-one situation with their to-do list, choosing to create it in line with their daily schedule. This results in some major clarity re: scheduling and project management. If you’re an online calendar person, plug your planned tasks in line with your meetings, and any priority projects in your free time or open windows. You could even go as far as to commit to timeframes for your tasks. If you’re more of a pen and paper person, you could create a list like this:

This template is a bit hard to make online—so if you’re interested, just download our To Do List Templates (at the end of this article), and you’ll get a color-coded list for free!

COLOR-CODED LIST

Think of a stop light. Green, yellow, and red. Green projects, not time specific. Yellow projects, get done by the end of the week. Red projects, get done by the end of the day. Full stop. This is a great way to manage your workload for those of you who are big-idea people, where nit-picky tasks might overwhelm or annoy you. If you just need to keep yourself on track for the day or week, and don’t need to micro-manage your time, try this out.

IVY LEE LIST

The Ivy Lee Method (named after it’s creator, Ivy Ledbetter Lee) is super simple. You’re going to write down six tasks. That’s it. You write them down the day before, and when you get to work the next morning—you take out your list, and get going. (Okay, fine—maybe you start after you’ve checked your inbox.) Prioritize these tasks so that the first one is the most important, followed by the second most important, and on and on. When you work through the list, you only work on one task at a time. And, you can only move on to the next task when you’ve finished the previous one. Whatever you don’t finish gets moved to the list for tomorrow. Pretty easy, right? Here’s what the list would look like:

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