Is a to-do list really the best to-do list?

Do you ever reach the end of your day and feel like you haven’t accomplished what you wanted to? You can fix that.

Your inbox has a well-known drawback for getting things done: it’s ordered by other people’s priorities, not your own. So each new email can interrupt what you think is important to do today.

Moving your action items to a to-do list lets you set your own priorities and, with some discipline, stick to them. Whether it’s a full-featured multi-device app or a post-it note, a good to-do list can help you shut out distractions and stay focused.

But a to-do list can be endless, while a single day is not. Our sense of productivity comes from how much we get done within the boundaries of our working hours.

That’s why at Macktez, our favorite to-do list is not a list at all — it’s a calendar.

A calendar’s visual blocks of time show you exactly what you can and cannot get done in one day — it’s a to-do list with limits. You may want to get ten things done today. But can you? Is it possible? If you don’t shape your to-do list to fit your day, you are setting yourself up for failure. You’ll go to sleep feeling like you didn’t get anything done no matter how much you did and how hard you work.

Your calendar should be comprehensive. Block out time for checking your email and for calling your mother. Your full life — meetings, lunch, classes, dinner dates, commute — should be represented here so you can clearly see how many hours there really are in your day, and how many hours your tasks will take. With better tools to help you prioritize, you’ll set better deadlines, accurately schedule your day, and feel much more productive.