How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressIf you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team, time always seems to be in short supply.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have clients to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to end.

Now … add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new content and things can start to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, monitor your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, delegate tasks to other people efficiently.

A simple proven method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to-do” list.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help you track your progress as you complete tasks. Your to do list can be very detailed and specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

Here are some of the benefits of using to do lists:

Free The Brain

Creating a to do list means you won’t have to memorize things or clutter your mind with details. Once things are recorded on a to-do list, your head is free to process other information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Better Time Management

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can gain a clearer perspective on what is more important vs what’s not, and what tasks should be completed first.

Quickly Reschedule

To-do lists help you better deal with changes in circumstances. If a meeting gets cancelled or extra time is made available when a task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule and continue working with little to minimal disruption.

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and impact your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off your to-do list gives you a feeling of accomplishment and allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is getting done and that milestones are being reached.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Creating to do lists, prioritizing tasks and working in a focused way increases efficiency and productivity in your business.

Let’s turn now to using to-do lists on your website or blog. More specifically, adding to do lists to WordPress.

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to do lists

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List to have private to do lists for each user, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list option has a variety of settings available. You can assign to-do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable 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 included as well in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your list and your to-do list can also be displayed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to-do list items on your site. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessible through the back-end.

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

In your WP administration area, scroll down the main menu and select Plugins > Add New

WP Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

Note: You can also activate this plugin from the Plugins screen …

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

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

Let’s configure the plugin …

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Screen

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness - To Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Add Category

You can create ‘public’ and ‘private’ categories for your lists.

Private categories are not visible when using widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View allows you to choose how your lists are viewed. There are three to-do list views:

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - To-Do List Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how your to-do list items will be sorted.

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

This option lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

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

Once you have finished configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness WP plugin to do list - Advanced Settings

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

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

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

In this area you can customize your To Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, see the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

Here you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest, normal and low items …

Cleverness plugin WP - Priority Labels

Items given the highest (important) priority are color-coded in red and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

WP plugin to do lists - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows item IDs on the to-do list …

to do list Cleverness - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will display the date the table of items was added …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Date Added column

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

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

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

You can configure the following settings in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option lets you assign tasks to other users …

to do lists plugin Cleverness - 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

Enable this option to display tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends users an email with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you don’t want to send out emails to users, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Note: If this option is disabled, skip other settings 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Add Category to Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If 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 …

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications. Add your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Enter 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 to do list - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

This function is useful if, for example, you see that previously deleted to-do items are still appearing on your site.

The following tasks can be performed:

  • Delete Tables – Remove any custom database tables that you are no longer using.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Remove all of your to-do items.

Useful Information

Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to perform your own backups, then consider hiring a professional service, or use backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

WP to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab


If you have chosen the Individual List type, the only permission applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions - View To-Do-List

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to be able to perform for each option …

Cleverness WordPress to do list plugin - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List

The default general capabilities for each user role are configured as follows:

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

Note: When using the Master list type non-administrator users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - User Permissions

Let’s go through the settings in the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable the selected capability to view to-do items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

This enables the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow 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 setting permits the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This permits the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from an existing list to another website, or export your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Import/Export Settings

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

WP to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or download your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

In addition to exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress admin menu and selecting Tools > Export

WordPress Tools > Export Menu

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

WP Tools > Export Menu - Export To-Do Data

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 …

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

Select the previously saved to-do list data file and click ‘Open’ …

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do Data File

After uploading your data file, click on the ‘Import Settings’ button …

to-do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do Data File

The data from the existing to-do file will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

This brings you to the ‘To-Do List’ page …

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List page

Add New Items To Your List

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

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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, as the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

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

All the above methods will bring you to the ‘Add New To-Do Item’ section.

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, some options may not display when adding new to-do items.

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

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

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

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

You can also make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

Cleverness plugin - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Adding New To Do Items

Repeat this process to add new items to your to-do list …

Cleverness - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

to do list Cleverness - Assigned To Do Items Email

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view the list when logged into their own user dashboard …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - View To Do List User Dashboard

When users assigned with completing an item tick the item check box …

WordPress to do list plugin - Complete To Do Items User Dashboard

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Complete To-Do Item

And displays in the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the main screen of the ‘To-Do List’ plugin …

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your site using widgets, and insert lists into any page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Plugin Widget

The to-do list will appear wherever the widget was inserted (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

The Cleverness plugin also lets you display to-do lists and checklists on your site with shortcodes.

To access the documentation on using short codes, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from the dashboard menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your content.

Once you know what type of information you would like to add to your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content editor …

Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your post or page and you will see the list displayed where you entered the short code …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a to-do list to your WordPress site or blog.


"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya