Mastering procedural processes and repetitive tasks with checklists allows you to focus on the larger goals at hand. It’s the minutiae of the workday that can be easily forgotten at the detriment of other important projects.
You may find it easier to compile several checklists (covering personal, study, and workplace, for example). Try different approaches and use the best for your own situation.
Or, imagine you’re in a sales role and have a long list of people who you need to talk to. You write out a checklist of everyone you need to call and every client you need to see, and start prioritizing.
To do lists shouldn’t take hours to set up, nor should they be complicated. Every second you spend setting up your task list and preparing for the work ahead is time wasted instead of getting out there and eliminating items from your schedule. You should be able to jot down your tasks, have just enough flexibility to work how you need to, and then get on with it. After all, isn’t the point of a to do list to help improve your productivity?