Tin Can To-Do List

The problem with Current To-Do Lists

So I have been looking for a new method of to-do list's that brings a fruitful physical aspect to the mostly abstract To-Do list idea. What I have developed is the Tin-Can To-Do list. This list allows you to tackle your day one task at a time, versus current to-do lists that allow you to see the beginning and end of your day which isn't how life works, and it isn't how you should work through life.

You will need the following materials to do this:

So what the whole concept revolves around is taking things one step at a time. The problem with traditional digital or paper to-do lists is that you can see everything at the same time which can overwhelm us. Instead, what we can do is have this system that only allows us to see one simple task at a time. It even easily allows you to take leftover tasks you did not finish and organize it into the next day's schedule. It only takes 10 minutes to plan your next day so it's very easy to try. Try it for a week! See if it works for you.

Getting Your Tin Can To-Do List Made


  1. Get your 3x5 cards together.
  2. Use your scissors to cut the 3x5 cards in half to make 2 squares.
  3. Use as many squares as you want to make simple tasks, tip: start every day with making your bed.
  4. Organize these tasks in the order you would like to complete them.
  5. Take these tasks and place them in your tin can.

Ask yourself: could you make your tin can to-do list? Yes.

How to Use Your Tin Can To-Do List

 To use the tin can To-Do list method, you first have to abide by the critical rules:

  1. Organize your to-do list in the order you best see fit to accomplishing your day.

  2. Proceed to complete each task in order discarding completed task cards along the way.

  3. If you can't complete the rest of your tasks leftover in the can, roll them over to the next day

  4. If you accidentally complete a task before you reach it, just continue your order of tasks, and when you get to the one you already completed, just discard it.

  5. It is recommended, but optional, to use a glass jar to discard your completed tasks into serving as a motivational "cookie jar" of accomplishments, further validating your progress.

Ask your self, would you be able to use your tin can to-do list? Yes.

Why You Should Use Your Tin Can To-Do List

The point of this method is to tackle life one day at a time. And more specifically, each goal in life must be broken down into systematical steps that are simple and easy to conceptualize and cause as little stress as possible. The ability to organize your day, but limit your abilities to one task at a time keeps you calm and methodical. Everything is somewhat of a process if you are to get any sort of character development out of it. We can't just think about going from beginning to end when the middle is where all the work is done. This boils down to a philosophy of life that involves taking your time, and not so much worrying about all the tasks you have to get done (which is what a traditional to-do list forces you see) but instead limiting your focus to one task. By looking at life this way, it doesn't matter that there are only 24 hours a day. Everyone only gets 24 hours a day. It's what you do in that time that matters, and when it comes to getting where you want to go in life, how long doesn't really matter, it's how you get there and why you wanted to get there to begin with that matter most. Traditional to-do lists allow you to see your day from beginning to end, but life doesn't work that way, and we shouldn't work that way either.

Should you use this tin can method? Yes.

(Would you? Could you? Should you? This is a reference to the convincing nature of Sam I Am from Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Home" read more here)

Try it for a week, and see what it does for you.

As always, continue to think differently.


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