Power-Up Your To-Do List with Action Verbs

Language makes the difference

Adolfo Ramírez Corona
3 min readMar 11, 2022


To-do lists are one of the most common power and popular uses for writing, particularly for not-taking.

There are different methods, systems, apps, services…

And what about levels of structure?

From the simple to-do list on a post-it or a napkin, to very complex systems with hierarchies, folders, tags, colors, dates…

Whatever level of structure you keep in your notes or whatever napkin or complex app you use, there is a simple linguistic trick you should apply.

Photo by Torbjørn Helgesen on Unsplash

A mindset shift

Writing — as a human activity — perhaps began with some kind of to-do list: to list who was going hunting, how much food was stored, or the song to chant.

Code of Hammurabi is a to-do list in a certain way (like any set of rules). Buddhism scriptures are full of lists (Four Noble Truths, for example).

Today, using to-do lists is part of our daily activities.

In any case, beyond structure, method, or tools, we use to forget the importance of the words we use for our to-do lists.

Let's see an example. You have to write an email to John, test a new software called NeoApp, update a…



Adolfo Ramírez Corona

Author, psychotherapist, coach—Human behavior, UX, media & audiences—Father, husband, meditator—Courses & coaching: antifragilewriting.com—More adolforismos.com