How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WP Plugin Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressAs a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team, time is always in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new content and everything can start feeling unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and manage your daily activities.

A proven tool that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to regain control is to use “to-do” lists.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to achieve certain objectives. Your to-do list can be very detailed or specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Free Up Resources

Creating to do lists means you don’t have to try and remember stuff or store extra information inside your mind. Once tasks are written down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on other areas that are more important.

Better Strategic Planning

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you break larger projects into more doable tasks and come up with a strategy for getting tasks completed effectively.

Reorganize Quickly

To-do lists help you better handle changes in circumstances. If you find that an appointment has been cancelled at the last minute or extra time becomes available because a task got completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and keep working with little to no loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

Without accountability there’s no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and impact your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off to do lists not only makes you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that progress is being made.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a focused manner and efficiency and productivity in your business is sure to increase.

What about adding to-do lists to your WordPress website or blog?

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add a to-do list to WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to-do lists

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

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


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

You can set up the plugin to have private to do lists for each user, to have all users share your to-do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list provides a number of settings. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to assigned users) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to enable the display of 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 help you manage your list and your to-do lists are also listed on a 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 list administration. Category management is accessed via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to do lists for your post editors if you also own the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Plugin Installation

Log into your site’s dashboard area, and in the main menu select Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin

In the Install Plugins screen, type in “cleverness” into the search field and hit the Enter button …

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin in the Search Results tab and click Install Now

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

Note: You can also activate the plugin from the Plugins section …

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ section can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the dashboard menu …

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

How To Set Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – The options in this section let you specify the main plugin 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 tab is where you configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types.
  • Import/Export – Here you can export and import to-do list data and plugin settings.

Let’s now take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your list 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 …

to do lists plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how your to-do lists will be viewed. There are 3 list views you can choose:

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

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your members has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do items …

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled, you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List WYSIYG 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 multi-author website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same plugin developer to help make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

For more details about this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

When you have finished configuring your plugin options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Advanced Settings Tab

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

WP to do list plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

In this screen you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform plugin database maintenance.

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

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

Here you can customize the labels for important, normal and lowest priority items …

Cleverness - Priority Labels

Items given the highest priority are colour-coded in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness to do lists - color-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display the items’ IDs on the list …

to do list plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Date Added

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

If you have chosen either ‘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 …

WP to do list plugin - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To Do Items Settings

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign to-do items to other users …

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

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - 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 on the subject of your emails …

plugin to do list - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want categories to appear the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

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 is a useful option if your website has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out emails. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

Cleverness plugin to do list WordPress - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, 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.

plugin to-do list - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area lets you carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This is useful if, for example, you notice that to-do items you have previously deleted are still showing on your site.

You can perform the following tasks:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do your own site backups, then get support from a WordPress professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

In this section you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - User Permissions

Useful Info

If you have selected the Individual List type, the only item that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions - View To-Do-List dropdown menu

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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

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

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab

Let’s go through the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit the chosen 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

Here you can enable the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option allows the selected capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from one website to another, or export the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Tab

Now you can export or import your data and plugin settings …

plugin to do lists - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a window allowing you to download and save your data as plain text to a storage device …

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

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

Tools > Export WP

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 selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your storage device…

WordPress Tools > Export Menu - To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a previously saved to-do list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start creating and editing your to-do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

To create a new to do list, go to your WordPress dashboard menu and select To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - 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 WP dashboard toolbar …

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

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

to-do lists plugin - 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 contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

Cleverness plugin WP - Adding New To Do Items

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin’s settings, some options may not display when when you add new to-do items.

Configure 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 new item to your list …

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

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

Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

Once you have added an item, the item will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - How To Add New To Do Items

Repeat the above process to continue adding new items to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Add New To-Do Items

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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

Edit And Delete To Do Items

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

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

After creating your to do list, users can view the list when logged into their own user dashboard …

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

When users responsible for the item complete the task and tick the item check box …

Cleverness plugin - Complete To Do List Items User Dashboard

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

plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do List Items User Dashboard

And gets added to the ‘Completed Items’ table located in the ’To-Do List’ screen …

plugin to do lists - Completed To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin provides additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your site using widgets, and display lists on any page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Plugin Widget

To learn more about how to use widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:


The plugin also lets you display lists on your site using shortcodes.

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness WordPress to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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


This documentation section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists on your posts and pages.

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content editor …

Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list showing where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a to-do list 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