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Learning Portal - Study Skills : Creating a Task List

Creating a Task List

A task list is a prioritized list of items that need to be completed within a specific amount of time, often in the immediate future. For students, it includes a mix of academic tasks (such as readings, homework, and assignments) and personal tasks (such as appointments and errands). In this module, you will learn why task lists are useful and how to create one.

Top Tips 

✓ Think about ALL your tasks. Your task list should include your academic tasks as well as anything you need to do in your personal life.

✓ Think about urgency and importance. If a task is urgent (must be done soon), or important (e.g., worth a lot of points), it should be a higher priority than tasks that aren’t urgent or important.

✓ Divide tasks by how soon they need to be done. Using the labels A, B, and C, split up tasks into things that need to be done today (A), should be done today (B), or could be done tomorrow (C).

✓ Prioritize the ABCs. Number the tasks in each category based on urgency and importance.

✓ Tackle your list by priority.  Don’t get distracted by low-priority tasks. Use your list to guide you so you can work on the highest priority tasks.

Creating Task Lists

Why is the task list important?

Task lists help you keep track of what you need to do and prioritize the most important tasks. Watch this video (The Learning Portal Ontario, 2020) to learn more about the value of task lists.

How to Create a Task List

Creating a task list is more than just writing down everything you need to do. Watch the video (The Learning Portal Ontario, 2020) or read the instructions below to find out how to create a task list. You can also download the How to Create a Task List video transcript.


How to Prioritize Items on a Task List

  1. Figure out what needs to go on your list. Check your semester plan, Brightspace, your agenda, college email, and calendars at home for this information. Be sure to include personal tasks on your list.

  2. Write the items in a list and estimate how long each task will take. If a task will take longer than two hours, break it down into smaller chunks.

  3. Divide the tasks into three categories. Write A, B, or C beside each task. Label those that must be finished today as A items, those that should be finished today as B items, and those that could wait until tomorrow as C items. For school tasks, consider how much each item is worth and when it is due. After the tasks are labelled, divide them by category.

  4. Prioritize each category. Look at each category (A, B, and C) and number the items according to the order in which they need to be finished (1, 2, and 3). Each item will have a different letter and number combination, guiding the order in which all tasks should be completed (e.g. - A1, A2, B1, B2, B3, C1, etc.)

  5. Rewrite the list so that the items are in order of priority. This could be done in an app, on a post-it, or in an agenda. Make sure that your list is nearby and easy to reference as you begin working on your tasks.


Unless otherwise stated, the material in this guide is from the Learning Portal created by College Libraries Ontario. Content has been adapted for the GPRC Learning Commons in June 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

All icons on these pages are from The Noun Project. See individual icons for creator attribution. 

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