How to Improve Action Plans with To Do Lists

To bring your Action Plan to life, create a To Do list in MS Excel. Once you have developed your Action Plan, you need to allocate time to each activity. To Do lists are one of the simplest ways to track, monitor and improve your Action Plan’s tasks.

Action Plans: Creating To Do Lists

The key to creating To Do lists is to setup a simple system in MS Excel that is easy to manage. The easier is it to use, the more others will use it. Don’t go too high-tech!

  • Create a column in Excel for your daily “to do list”.
  • Create a column to prioritize the tasks you want to achieve each day.
  • Create a column to show the High, Medium and Low priority tasks.
  • Filter the list.

Writing To Do Lists

When writing the To Do lists, follow these writing guidelines:

  • Use positive language – don’t write what must not be done, instead write what must be performed. For example: Call ten companies in five days.
  • Use simple words – don’t use pretentious words or phrases that sounds important. Write as though talking to a good friend.
    Don’t write: ‘Utilize electronic communications to search information systems.’
    Write: ‘Use the internet to send emails’.
  • Use direct phrasing – In other words, don’t write what must not be done, write what must be performed.


Use the spreadsheet to keep track of your tasks. If you find that you cannot perform the tasks in the time periods you entered, then be realistic and update the file.

Excel – Performance Indicators

Once tasks as completed change the status from Draft to Final or Completed. Use can also jazz up the template by color coding the columns and tabs.

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