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Tasks list format

Tasks list format

The task list is an invaluable resource for personal organization, allowing us to review, process, manage and plan our tasks. Its success will depend a lot on how we use it, as well as some basic concepts and techniques.


Using the task list should be very simple, fast, versatile and efficient. You should take the shortest time possible to not lose focus or concentration in your tasks.

For years I have been tuning a task list format that is very useful and does not requires special tools. It can be used with a simple paper and pen, with a notebook or with a spreadsheet. This format is as follows:

[s] yyyymmdd hh:mm !iu @context TASK #label


  • [s] represents the tasks status (note: you can use a square instead of brackets):
    • [(empty)] UNINITIATED
    • [·] NEXT
    • [/] IN PROGRESS
  • yyyymmdd hh:mm represents the due date and / or time of to the task. If not known, leave a space for its possible later use. The time would be optional and would make sense for meetings, appointments, interviews, flights, etc.
  • !iu represents the level of importance (i) and urgency (u) of the task, represented by a single digit: 1 (low), 2 (normal) or 3 (high). A higher value of the two-digit number, greater priority has.
  • @context represents the place or the tool in which the task will be executed. The most common ones are the following: @oficina, @casa, @cliente, @telefono, etc.
  • TASK is the description of the task. This one must be very short, concise and clear, at most 10 words. I recommend starting with an infinitive verb followed by a name. Additionally, add an adjective to complement the name. Avoid, if it is possible, articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Each task should occupy a single line in our task list.
  • #label is a name used to categorize the task, and has similar function to the list. It must have a single word, and you should not use more than 3 labels for a task. Examples: #idea, #report, #meeting, #commitee, etc.


A complex task (o project) consists of several subtasks. Such tasks are represented as follows:

  • The first line will contain the name and the main properties. The name will be written in all capital letters.
  • The subtasks will be listed below, indented (tabbed) to the right of the complex task to which they belong. They will be written in lowercase.
  • A subtask can be, in turn, a complex task. In that case it will apply the first point. It is recommended a maximum of three levels of complex tasks.
  • Chances are that the subtasks share some properties of their complex task, such as the context or labels, so need not be repeated.


What is the format of your task list? Do you have any tips interesting and useful? Leave a comment.


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