3 Unconventional Ways to Categorise Your ToDo List (+1 Conventional Way)

How exactly do you determine how categorise your todo list? In this post, I'll go over and explain the 4 that I've often used.
Four Ways to Categorise Your Work

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You’ll be lost without prioritisation.

Not knowing which tasks require your attention or what categories they fall into will be detrimental to your productivity, focus and overall mission.

But how exactly should you label and prioritise tasks? Well, that’s for you to figure out which works best for you.

But here are four methods that I use that may help you.

You’re welcome…

By importance, urgency & value

One way you can categorise your work is by the value and how important that work is. Evaluating each task’s potential impact can help you assess and understand its value.

You do the most important tasks first, and the least important ones you might not even do at all. Because the aim is not just to tick off a box. The focus is to add value. Something must be better, improved, or different because you completed a task.

The bigger the difference before and after, the more important it is.

Ask yourself: “What changes if I finish this task? How does this impact or contribute to the overall mission?” If the answer is “a lot, ” it’s a high-value task.

I’d categorise it from most important to least as:

  1. critical/high
  2. useful/medium
  3. marginal/low.

Time to Complete

You might want to organise your tasks based on how long they will take. I don’t think this is a common or advisable way of organising tasks, but it has its place.

It is usually overlooked because completion time is not the most accurate indicator of value or priority. Time to completion is arbitrary and doesn’t mean much.

Taking two minutes to email a potential client can add a new client to your CRM and dramatically grow your revenue. On the other hand, for example, spending hours on a document might not make any difference at all. You see how time doesn’t mean anything?

But there is a fact that we shouldn’t neglect or overlook: ticking off one task makes you want to tick off another. If we tick off one task, we will feel better and be more motivated to tick off the bigger ones.

So, the task itself may have made no difference or had little impact. But zoom out, and it empowers and motivates you to tackle the bigger ones.

It’s also useful when planning what you do around your schedule. When you only have small pockets of time, you know you can tick off these tasks that take only a few minutes. But when you have bigger blocks of time, you know you can dedicate more time to the ones that take longer.

Honestly, this is not a strategy I would advise using a lot, but again, it has its place.

I usually organise my tasks into three groups.

  • Work that takes a couple mins to do.
  • Work that can be done in under an hour.
  • Work that will take a couple hours or more.

Domain of life (Work, Business, Personal)

This is one of my favourites.

There are many areas or domains in our lives. Work. Relationships. Domestic. Admin. They all require our attention, and we can’t afford to neglect any. But that’s what often happens if we aren’t careful.

This method helps to solve that problem.

When I split my work by the domain it belongs to, it allows me to separate my life into three sections rather than everything being modelled into one big mess. It allows me to split my day, life and tasks into three distinct buckets with a specific focus.

I call these buckets domains:

  • Work
  • Business
  • Personal.


Splitting my day like this allows me to allocate the most time to the most important and ensure each domain gets its relative attention.

The last thing I want to do is spend my whole day or even days on end, only really working on my work, but neglect cleaning my bedroom and writing my content and leaving other areas of my life abandoned.

So, for example, anything to do with writing, business finances, marketing, or websites will be under the business domain. Cleaning my bedroom, depositing cash and buying food would be under personal. This way, I can group tasks that are related to each other.

Need to, Should do, Want to

I have left this one last for a reason. This one, for me, basically ticks all the boxes. It’s a mix of all of them.

I’d like to think that it is pretty self-explanatory: You split your work into what you need to do, should do and want to do.

  • Identifying what you need to do ticks the box of value and importance. It reminds me that nothing else matters unless these things are done. Whether I like it or not, there are some things I need to do. It makes it clear and nonnegotiable.


  • What I should do, are the younger brother of what I need to do. In the sense that it’s okay if I don’t do that, but it’s in my best interest that I do. If something happens and I haven’t got enough time, these are the ones that can be postponed to another time. Other ones were if I fell and got extra time, then I’ll take off these ones too.


  • What I want to do brings the fun back into the work. If I had to fight to do what I needed to get done, then doing what I wanted was my reward. Listing out what I want to do gives me something to look forward to when there’s friction to work otherwise. It’s with the balance of working and living as well. And the best part about this one is that the only qualifying fact is that I have to love and enjoy doing it. It doesn’t have to add value or have a big impact; it just has to be fun.


I like to have a ratio of 3:2:1. So every day, I do 3 things I need to do, 2 of what I should do and 1 of what I want to do. That’s not strict, and sometimes it deviates a bit.

What would your ideal ratio be?

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