Why Your To-do List Don’t Work? A Comprehensive Winning Planner

I have been using a variety of tricks to stay productive and efficient. I have refined my technique over a period of time, taking inspiration from variety of productivity gurus.

#1 To-do list

Writing a to-do list every day is the grandfather of all productivity technique. I have always been inclined towards making bullet points and listing items. So for me to-do list sounded like an apt tool. Importantly, it helped to capture everything I want to do, or hope to do in one place, out of my head.

#2 Tomorrow to-do list

I have been trying, on and off, in writing a to-do list for tomorrow at the end of the day. Like most of you, I have been known to worry about my things I need to do, the project meet up tomorrow. Noting it down on a list that needs to be done tomorrow simply helps me to one remove out of my head, second to schedule whenever possible.

#3 6-Boxes To-do list

I think this is one of the best kept secrets of productivity world. Proposed by Peter Bergman, a management consultant I have effectively incorporated into my own ‘Winning Planner’ format. The greatest difficulty in a to-do list is organizing it or grouping it under context, projects, etc. 6-Boxes help you do that under 5 focus areas + 1 everything else others area. Anyone wishing to upgrade their productivity tool should try out the 6-boxes to-do list.

#4 Calendar

Lately, I have been exposed to migrating one’s to-do list on to a calendar. Productivity giants like Kevin Kruse and Cal Newport have been serious proponents of this technique – also called ‘Fixed Schedule Productivity’. The idea is simple. It suggests you to work from a Calendar where you have tagged your to-do list item to a specific time. With the advent of GCal, a simple notification on that time serves as a reminder as well.

Winning Planner

With all the gyaans briefed above, brings me to my own home-made productivity tool. I call it ‘Winning Planner’. It simply integrates the best of different productivity approaches I learnt so far.

Download it here

3 Big Goals

When Scott Adaams of Dilbert Comics fame recommends writing your goals helps you achieve, you better take it seriously. Various types of success literature have been proposing this in different forms. My other inspiration is ‘Dyna/Psych’ technique by Joe Karbo. So, the first item on WP is listing one’s 3 Big Goals.

4 Boxes To-do list

It is obvious that where I stole this idea from. It is my catch all list for the day under 4 Focus areas. But you know this isn’t enough.


This is where the wheel meets the road. I simply take the to-do list item from the 4 boxes and schedule it on to my calendar. Similarly, I try to put it on my GCal on my mobile so I get those (sometimes annoying) notifications.

The Ending

I have trying to routinize two important practices I learnt from Martin Seligman, Father of Positive Psychology – gratitude journal and better done list (inspired by Mark Forster). The

Download Winning Planner-Format and take 5 print outs, experimentation for the week. If you found it works (I hope you do), take multiple print outs for your usage.

Wishing you a productive week ahead!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *