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Task List Template

Journalist and comedy writer H. Allen Smith once mused that the passion for making task lists is what separates humans from lesser primates. While we aren’t disputing the many other qualities of our specie, the ability to run mental scenarios and plan our tasks in advance has probably given us a major evolutionary edge throughout the millennia.

As the complexity of our society and interactions increased, so did the need for a system that ensures we can handle our responsibilities effectively and within the allocated timeframe. One such solution is the task list timeline, which is also the answer to the question “what do you get if you cross a to-do list with a calendar?”.

Why do we love making daily task lists so much?

If you were to ask Dr. David Cohen, the popularity of lists is deeply rooted in our psychology. Therefore, they are the perfect tools to:

  • Reduce anxiety caused by the uncertainty of daily life;
  • Confer us a sense of structure;
  • Prove we achieved something.

And that’s not all, as other studies show that people handle tasks more effectively if they are allowed to note down a list with the activities beforehand. There are very few who still believe that tracking time at work using a task list template stifles creativity. In actuality, the lack of structure is the real enemy of productivity, because unfinished tasks will pile up with the speed of a snowball rolling downhill, and mounting anxiety is the real showstopper.

How do you start a task list?

When you decide to simplify your life by creating a task tracking list it’s important to start out on the right foot, as this ensures your list will not just be a never-ending catalog of activities you feel guilty over. Here are some pointers that can help:

  • Try out a time tracking free app or two before you find one that matches your needs. Even the best app for tracking time can be too complex or too basic for your purposes, and it’s important that you feel comfortable with it, otherwise you will probably stop using it altogether. On a side note, digital daily task list solutions are superior to their paper counterparts thanks to features like reminders, easy customization, collaboration, and cloud storage.
  • When you need to make more than one list – and you will – look for apps that allow you to create a reusable task list template. Task management templates allow you to spend less time fiddling with the design and items, and more time on crossing off said item.
  • Use project tracking tools that allow you to set due dates for the tasks rather than simple checklist whenever you can, even if not all the items really require a hard and fast completion date. This allows you get a sense of how to prioritize the activities and make adjustments in case of schedule conflicts.
  • Don’t use the project tracking software for big picture objectives or desirable outcomes that are difficult to estimate and quantify. Instead, focus on tangible tasks that can be completed and crossed off.
  • Check your task tracker app frequently. Even a perfectly compiled schedule won’t help you improve productivity if you don’t stick with the plan and start working on random things.

Project management tracking with task lists

Using task lists to monitor project progress is not entirely different from employing these tools to optimize your own schedule. If your task management template is in the task timeline format, you just need to ensure is that you’re setting attainable due dates for the activities at hand. The main difference in the case of the group project task list is that each activity needs to be assigned to a specific member or team.

You can also create an employee task list template to simplify the job of allocating everyone tasks by hand every single time. At the same time, make sure that the relevant information for each task is available to the team; cryptic annotations might work for personal task lists, but you will end up being constantly prompted for clarifications if the instructions are confusing.

Advantages of teams tracking on a task timeline template

When it comes to picking the optimal project management time tracking solutions, we think nothing beats timelines and Gantt charts. Adding swimlanes to these data visualization solutions makes it so much easier to figure out immediately which team is handling which side of the work, if they are on track or if rescheduling is required, the impact of changes on other stages of the project, etc. Communication between the PM, collaborators, stakeholders and executives is also facilitated by these project time tracking tools, thanks to their intuitive nature, and using a professionally designed timeline template can really speed things up.

The task list template can be downloaded free of charge and you can update the default items with your project’s specifics in PowerPoint, but it’s much easier and quicker to do so with the Office Timeline add-in. Avoid falling behind on your work projects, stay up to date with the progress of the teams you’re managing or simply bring more structure in your life with the help of our task timeline!

FAQs about task tracking and task list templates

Get to the heart of task tracking and task list templates with the following clear, short answers to the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

What is the purpose of a task list?

A task list is a project management tool that helps professionals keep track of their team’s tasks. It usually documents details such as the primary contact for the project, the parties working on it, along with the deadlines and status updates of the tracked activities.

The format of a task list varies depending on the size of the project. For a larger project, it often includes a timeline that visualizes the sequence of tasks to be done over a specified time duration. Our task list template is one of the many timeline examples that you can use to plan, schedule, and monitor a project’s activities.

What are the components of a task list?

These are the typical components of a task list:

  • Task ID

  • Task name

  • Due date

  • Task owner

  • Task status

  • Task importance (priority)

  • Additional notes

Get a practical example of how task lists are structured with our customizable task list template, which can be easily modified to reflect your project specifics.

What is an employee task list?

An employee task list represents a document that details the duties that the employees of a particular organization or project ought to complete. Apart from the tasks that need to be done, an employee task list also includes a timeline of how these activities will be completed.

Usually prepared and provided by a line manager, an employee task list has the purpose of ensuring that employees effectively manage their work without delays.

How do I create an employee task list?

Here are the key steps to creating an employee task list:

  1. Write an itemized to-do list including all underlying tasks and activities. You could divide them into a daily, weekly, or monthly structure.

  2. Include a status tracker element (such as not started, ongoing, completed, etc.)

  3. Set due dates for each listed task.

  4. Assign task owners.

  5. Define budget and costs of tasks.

To get started faster with yours, use our easily customizable task list template that uses a timeline format to organize the sequence of tasks by teams against a monthly timeband.

How do you manage tasks in Excel?

You can manage your tasks in Excel by creating an editable, trackable task list that you can format according to your preferences.

Here are the main steps to creating such a task list in Excel:

  1. In a new Excel spreadsheet, add your column headers (e.g., Task Name, Status, Deadline, Owner, Note, etc.).

  2. Fill in the details for each of your tasks.

  3. Apply filter to your list so you can later sort out your tasks based on it.

    For instance, you can add a filter to the header Status by clicking on it and selecting Filter under the Sort&Filter icon on the top right corner of your taskbar.

If you want to illustrate your tasks in a timeline format in Excel, learn how to do so using our tutorial on how to create a timeline in Excel.

How do I create a task list in Google Sheets?

Here is how you can create a task list on Google Sheets in 4 easy steps:

  1. Open Google Sheets.

  2. Click on the up-down arrow controls next to “Template gallery” in the top right corner.

  3. Double-click on “To-do List” from the Personal category of the gallery.

  4. Customize the template with your own task entries.

The Google Sheets pre-formatted to-do list provides a quick structure for simple projects but can prove limited for more complex initiatives that require a visual display of tasks over time. For this kind of timeline layout, we recommend that you simply customize our task list template that was designed as a native PowerPoint slide so you can quickly share and present it to relevant parties.

Does Google Docs have a checklist template?

Yes, Google Sheets does feature a to-do checklist template in the Personal category of its Template gallery. To open Google Sheets checklist template, simply double-click on it.

You will notice that the template is equipped with:

  • Checkboxes to tick when you finish a task.

  • A simple ready-to-use list to which you can add all your to-do items.

  • Pre-set columns of “date” and “task” from which you can start faster.

Google Sheets also allows you to build a task list under the shape of a timeline, a format that displays your activities over a given period of time. To learn how to do such a visual task list, check out our tutorial on how to make a timeline in Google Sheets.

Is there a To Do list template in Word?

Yes, Microsoft Word does include a few basic to-do list templates that you can use to create simple checklists. To access these templates, do the following:

  1. Open a new Word document.

  2. Go to the New section of the platform’s home screen.

  3. Type “to do list” in the search box at the top of the page.

  4. Double-click to open the preferred model.

Keep in mind that these to-do list templates are structured as text files, which makes them more suitable for tracking small, personal activities. If you work on larger projects and need a more elaborated output, you can opt for a visual timeline layout like the one offered by our PowerPoint task list template.

How do I create a task list in Word?

These are the 4 main steps for creating a checkable task list in Word:

  1. Type your task list.

  2. Add the Developer tab to the Word ribbon from File > Options > Customize Ribbon > Main Tabs.

  3. From the Developer tab, select the Check Box Content Control at the beginning of the first line.

  4. Copy and paste the check box control at the beginning of the other lines in your task list.

If your task list is more complex and involves multiple participants, you might consider representing it in a more graphical way. Using a visual format like that of a timeline works best because it displays your tasks and due dates along a timeband, which makes it easier for you to track their progress at a single glance.

Create a visual task list timeline in Word with the help of our tutorial on how to make a timeline in Word, or simply customize our PowerPoint task list template, which not only visualizes activities over a set time duration, but it also categorizes them in separate swimlanes associated with separate teams.

How do I create a task list template?

To create a task list template, you first need to clearly organize your project’s data. Here are the main things to do in this respect:

  1. List all the project tasks that need to be carried out.

  2. Break big work into smaller tasks.

  3. Batch similar tasks.

  4. Set due dates for each of the tasks.

  5. Organize tasks in chronological order using a timeline format.

  6. Prioritize work based on workflow, importance, and due dates.

  7. Assign owners for every listed activity.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can structure these details in a standardized format by using our task list template. Built as a native PowerPoint slide, the pre-formatted sample can be easily updated using the 14-day free trial of the Office Timeline add-in.

An automated task tracker, Office Timeline helps you import your task lists from productivity platforms like Microsoft Project and Excel right into PowerPoint and turn them into presentation-ready visuals. It also comes with dozens of other professionally designed timeline templates to start from.

If you need more samples that you can edit for your task management needs, browse our collection of timeline examples.

Project Schedule Template
Project Schedule


Project Plan Template
Project Plan


Sales Plan Template
Sales Plan


Updating your template is simple and fast.

Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.

Free PowerPoint Timeline and Swimlane Maker