Introduction: Create a Simple, Effective To-do List Using Excel Filter Feature

Nowadays, it's easy to find "time management" and "multi-tasking" skills on many job posts. The certain fact is that employers are now requiring you to juggle many different tasks in different time frames to get things done. So how can we stay organized and let nothing fall through the cracks? Most often than not, you will need a good system to track your task and to remind yourself of upcoming deadline.

There are different apps available for this purpose on all platforms. However, why complicating things while we can create something quickly on our own right? For my work purpose, I created a simple tracking system in Excel, and use the Filter feature to help me sort through different task. Creating a to-do list in excel only takes minutes. It is simple to add or edit tasks, you can format it any way you want, and it works! So let's take a look at how to create a simple, efficient to-do list in Excel, using the filter feature.

Step 1: Open Excel and Add Some Column Headers

First, open up your Microsoft Excel (I'm using Excel 2007 but the steps should work with any version. This is a very classic feature of Excel)

Entering some headers for your column. Here I have Task name, Status, Deadline, and Note. Depending on the nature of your work, you can add as many column as you need. For example, for your tasks, you may want to note Contact Person, Required Tools, or even Budget notes and so on.

Step 2: Fill in the Content of Your Tasks

In this step, we just fill in the tasks you need to do. I like to have the file open all day long on my laptop and add tasks immediately when it comes up. This way, you don't forget any assigned tasks. Remember to save the file after you add or edit any tasks. A major plus to this method is that Excel uses up very little memory and the file is very portable, usually nowhere near 1 MB.

Note that the name of the tasks and status columns should be filled out. This will help to filter them later. Other columns can be filled or left blank at your discretion.

Step 3: Add Filter to Your List

Here is the fun part: adding filter to your list.

To do so, just click on any of the headers (first row). Then select Filter under Sort & Filter menu.

This will add filter to your list. You only have to do this once. After you save the file and open it next time, the filter will still be there.

Step 4: Use the Filter to Sort Through Your Tasks

After you added the filter, you will see little arrows next to each of your column headers.

I like to sort through my tasks by the status of the tasks. When I fill in the task content, I assigned a status to it, either Done, Pending, or On Going.

I like to see only the Pending and On Going tasks, but don't want to delete the Done tasks. The Filter option can let me do so. Simply click on the little arrow next to Status, I can select or deselect any of the option. Here, I select only On Going and Pending

Step 5: Finish!

Once I applied the filter, you can see that my list is shortened to show only Pending and On Going tasks.

When I need to look at previous tasks that I have finished, I can go back and select Done in the filter options.

Thanks to this feature, I can quickly visualize my tasks without removing anything from the record.

This is a very simple list, but can be developed to fit your needs and style. I can add as many fields of information as I want, and customize the font and colors to make it prettier. It's very flexible and super easy to use!

Comments

author
HeartMama7 (author)2017-03-14

I like the simplicity & flexibility of this plan. I also just spilled about 24 oz. of water on my Franklin planner this morning (that I had mostly used a non-waterproof fountain pen ink to write in) ... and not I'm thinking of switching to a cloud-based option. :)

author
seamster (author)2015-02-24

Great tips. Thanks for sharing this!

author
vpham89 (author)seamster2015-02-26

Thanks Seamster, glad you like it!

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