How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

Learn how to easily create a to-do list in WordPress.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

Creating To Do Lists In WordPress

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressWhen you run a growing business, there is never enough time to get things done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never stops.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily activities.

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to regain control is to use a “to-do” list.

Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to do” list can help to keep you on track and measure your progress when trying to achieve specific objectives. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of tasks that need doing today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of using to-do lists:

To Do Lists Create Order

A to do list helps you create order, keep things organized and reach goals faster.

Better Strategic Planning

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you break down your workload into more doable tasks and formulate a strategy to get tasks completed on time and on budget.

Keep Work Logs

A to do list allows you to maintain documented logs of what work has been done. This can be used as evidence of work to employers or clients, or simply as a method of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.

Reduce Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it all in. Using to-do lists allow you to prioritize urgent tasks that need to be completed immediately, and push out items that can be worked on later. This can help reduce stress.

Better Delegation Of Work

To-do lists help you better assign tasks to others. This is also important if you plan to collaborate on a team-based project (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to-do list, then prioritizing tasks and working systematically improves your business efficiency and productivity.

What about using a to-do list on your WordPress website?

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add to-do lists to WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin provides users with a to do list feature.

Plugin Features

Note: the features described below are discussed in more detail in the tutorial section.

You can configure the plugin with private to do lists for individual users, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to the user) and optionally to have those items be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your lists and the to-do list can also appear on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to do list items on your site. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use the to do lists plugin to create custom to do lists for your post editors if you also own the Post Planner plugin from the same developer.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your site’s admin area and choose Plugins > Add New …

Install WordPress Plugin

In the Install Plugins section, type in “cleverness” into the search field and hit Enter on your keyboard …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Cleverness WP to-do lists plugin - Install To-Do List Plugin

Locate the plugin in the Search Results section and click Install Now

WP plugin to-do list - Cleverness plugin WordPress - Install Cleverness To-Do List

Activate the plugin …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - to-do lists plugin - Activate To-Do List Plugin

Note: You can also activate this plugin in the Plugins area …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - Activate To-Do List

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

WordPress plugin to do lists - to-do list plugin Cleverness - To Do List Settings

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Plugin

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ screen is divided into 4 sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – Here you can specify the plugin’s main settings.
  • Advanced Settings – Here you can customize your to-do lists, assign tasks to other users and perform plugin database maintenance tasks.
  • User Permissions – This section lets you configure user permissions and capabilities for Master and Group List types.
  • Import/Export – This section lets you export and import to-do plugin and list data settings.

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness - To Do List Settings


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your lists into categories, otherwise leave this option set to ‘Disabled’.

Note: If you enable this option, a ‘Categories’ item will be added to the To-Do List menu …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - To-Do List Menu

This lets you add categories that you can use to organize your to-do lists (see ‘Plugin Usage’ section further below for more details) …

Cleverness WP plugin to-do list - To-Do List Categories > Add New Category

You can set up ‘public’ and ‘private’ categories for your to-do lists.

Categories set to ‘private’ will not be visible using sidebar widgets or shortcodes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View allows you to specify how to-do lists are viewed. There are three types of to-do list views you can select:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

plugin to-do lists - To Do List Settings Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to sort list items.

If you choose ID, Alphabetical, or Category options, items will be sorted first by priority.

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which users have added an item to your to-do list.

Note: This setting only works when ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

If enabled, you can specify deadlines for to-do items …

WP to do list plugin - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

WP to-do list plugin - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

WordPress to do lists plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

WordPress to-do lists plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do list items.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a collaborative site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

Visit this site to learn more about this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner

After you are done configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress button save changes

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

to do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This brings you to the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness to do list plugin - To-Do List Advanced Settings Tab

In this area you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and perform database maintenance tasks.

Let’s take you through how to configure the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Customize The To-Do List

Here you can customize your To Do List …

WordPress plugin to do list - Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, refer to the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize the labels for highest, middle and low priority items …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Priority drop-down menu

high priority items are color-coded in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin WP - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), the items’ IDs show up on the to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added shows up on your items table …

plugin to do lists - Date Added column

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

If you have chosen ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the options in this area and assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To Do Items Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Assign To Do Items to Users

Note: This setting must be set to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Author displays the type of users that can be assigned items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When this option is enabled, WordPress will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - Assigned To-Do Items Email

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the other items in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If you have enabled categories in your plugin settings and select ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Add Category to Subject

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails.

If you don’t want categories displayed in the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your website has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out emails. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

plugin to-do lists - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

Add the email address that you would like to display as the “sent from” email address …

Cleverness plugin WP - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, type a subject field for the email that will be distributed automatically to users whenever new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

WordPress plugin to-do list - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

Cleverness - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can perform database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area itself without having to access your server …

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

This function is useful if, for example, you see that old items are still listed on your site.

You can perform the tasks below:

  • Delete Tables – Delete any custom database tables that are no longer being used.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Delete all to-do items.


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database operations in this section, then remember to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then hire a professional service, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

This section lets you configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab


If you are using the Individual List type, the only permission that applies in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - User Permissions - View To-Do-List

If you are setting up user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to perform for each option …

plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List drop-down menu

By default, general capabilities of each user role are configured as follows:

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When working with the Master list type make sure that you only allow non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to do lists - User Permissions Settings

Let’s review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This option enables the chosen capability to view items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This allows the chosen capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from an existing to-do list to another website, or store your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

To access this function, click on the ‘Import/Export’ tab in your plugin settings section …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export

Use this section to easily import and export your data and plugin settings …

to do list plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

To export and download your data settings click on the ‘Download Export File’ …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This opens up a new window allowing you to download and save the data in plain text format to an internal or external hard drive …

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Import/Export Tab - Export Settings

As well as exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress main menu and choosing Tools > Export

WordPress Menu Tools > Export

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘All content’ (includes everything – posts, pages, etc…), or selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

WP Menu Tools > Export - Export To-Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a previously saved to-do list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do File

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do File

Once the data file has been uploaded in your settings area, click on the ‘Import Settings’ button …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import File

Your file data will be imported.

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin create and edit to-do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

To create a new to-do list, log into your WordPress admin, then scroll down the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

This brings up the ‘To-Do List’ page …

Cleverness - To-Do List page

Adding A New Item To Your To-Do List

There are several ways to add new to-do items to your list.

For example, you can add new to-do items to your list from your WP admin bar …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Adding A New Item To Your To-Do List

You can also add new to-do items to your list inside the ‘To-Do List’ dashboard section by clicking on the ‘Add To-Do item’ link …

Cleverness - Adding New To Do Items

You can click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list already contains many items, since the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

WordPress to-do list plugin - Add New To Do Items

The above methods will take you to the ‘Add New To-Do Item’ area.

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when new items to your to-do list.

Configure the options you have enabled for your to-do items, enter appropriate values and information into the relevant fields and click on the ‘Submit To-Do Item’ button to add the new to-do item …

to-do lists Cleverness - How To Add New To Do Items

Note: If you are using a list type that lets you assign tasks to users, select a user from the drop-down list and assign them the item …

WP to do list plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

plugin to-do lists - Assign To-Do Items to Users

Once After adding a new item, the item will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

Cleverness to-do lists - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

Repeat the above process to keep adding new items to your list …

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - Add New To Do Items

Edit And Remove Items From Your List

To edit or delete an item, click on the ‘Edit’ or ‘Delete’ buttons associated with each item under the ‘Action’ column …

Edit And Delete To Do Items

Depending on how you have configured your settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness to-do lists - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Once you have created your to do list, users can view the list from their own dashboard …

Cleverness WordPress to do lists plugin - View To Do List User Dashboard

When a user assigned with the item completes the task and ticks the item check box …

Cleverness to do lists - Complete To-Do List Item User Dashboard

… the item no longer appears in the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - Complete To-Do List Item User Dashboard

And gets listed the ‘Completed Items’ table located in the main screen of the ‘To-Do List’ plugin …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - Completed To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin provides additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and add lists to content inside a page or post using short codes.


To add to-do lists to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the location in your sidebar menu where you would like your list to appear …

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Configure the settings in the widget and click the ‘Save’ button …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Widgets

Your to-do list will now display where the widget was inserted (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

to-do list plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

To learn more about using widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

You can also create lists to your site with short codes.

To access the plugin’s shortcode documentation, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your WP admin menu …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

Click on the ‘Help’ tab on the top right hand corner of your screen …

Cleverness plugin WP - Plugin Shortcodes

Click on the ‘Shortcodes’ menu to access the Shortcode Documentation …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes to display lists on your posts and pages.

Once you know what information you would like to add to your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the short code into the content area …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you will see the list showing where you have inserted the short code …

Using Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website for more information about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to create and add to-do lists to your WordPress site or blog.


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group