How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To-Do List In WordPressThere never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done, especially when you are running a fast-paced business or managing a team.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with fresh content and things can start to become unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, monitor your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to team members efficiently.

One simple proven method that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you monitor your progress as you work towards completing tasks. Your to-do list can be very detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free The Brain

Creating a to do list means that you won’t have to keep remembering stuff or clutter your mind with details. Once things are jotted down on a to-do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on other areas that may be more important.


Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you break your workload into doable tasks and create a strategy to get everything done on budget and on time.

Keep Documented Work Logs

To-do lists allow you to maintain documented logs of what you have done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a method of helping you assess your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Relief

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there are so many things that needs to get done and so very little time to do it all in. Using to do lists let you prioritize important things that have to be completed immediately, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help you stress less.

Collaborate Better With Others

Using to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved on some of your larger or more complex projects.

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 systematically and efficiency and productivity in your business will increase.

Let’s turn now to using to do lists on your website. More specifically, how to add to do lists to WordPress.

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

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can set up the plugin to have private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share a 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 delegate to-do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to do items to users) 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 display deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are two shortcodes for front-end administration of your list. Category management is accessed through the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use this to do lists plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also use a copy of the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Plugin

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

WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the ‘Settings’ area by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the dashboard menu …

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

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

Let’s set up the plugin …

How To Set Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Categories

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 WordPress to-do lists - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

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

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness 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 website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same developer that helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

To learn more this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

plugin to do list Cleverness - 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 section you can customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To-Do List Advanced Settings - Customize To Do List Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

Here 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 how to format 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 your labels for prioritizing highest, middle (normal) and low items …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red in the lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option shows item IDs on the list …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin to do list WP - Date Added

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 to-do items to other users …

Cleverness to do list plugin - 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

WordPress to-do list plugin - 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 to-do items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then don’t tick its checkbox.

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 plugin WordPress - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

Note: If you disable this option, 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

plugin to do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to-do categories to show the email subject.

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 is a useful option if you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin - 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 distributed automatically to users when new items have been assigned in your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add into this field 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 - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area without the need to access your web server …

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

You can perform the following tasks:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to carry out database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do your own site backups, then consider using professional help services, or use backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to do lists - User Permissions


If you select the Individual List type, the only configurable item that is applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

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

If you plan to set up 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 - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List dropdown menu

The 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 non-administrator users should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

plugin to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

Let’s now review the settings for the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

This setting enables the selected 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 allow the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting enables 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 enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can permit the selected 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 transfer data from an existing to-do list to another website, or export the data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or download the data in plain text format to an internal or external hard drive …

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

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

Export WordPress

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

Export WordPress - Export To-Do

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 …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

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

After configuring all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start creating and editing to do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

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

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

WP plugin to-do lists - To-Do List page

How To Add New To Do Items

There are a number of ways to add a new item to your to-do list.

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Adding A New Item To Your List

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

to do lists Cleverness - How To Add 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, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

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

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

Depending on how you have configured your plugin settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when when you add new to-do items.

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

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

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

WP 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 remove users) …

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

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

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

Repeat the above process to continue adding items to your list …

Cleverness plugin - Add A New Item To Your List

Edit And Remove To-Do 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 …

Edit And Delete To-Do Items

Depending on how you have set up the plugin (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

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

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

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

When users assigned with an item complete the task and tick the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Complete To-Do Item

… the item is then removed from the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness - Complete To-Do List Item User Dashboard

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

Cleverness to-do list - Completed To Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

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

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 show …

Cleverness - Widgets

Configure the widget settings and click on the ‘Save’ button to update your settings …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - Widgets

Your list will display on your site where you have inserted the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

You can also add to-do lists to your site using shortcodes.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

This documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, create a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content area …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list displayed exactly where you have added the shortcode …

Plugin Short Codes

To learn more about this plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add a to-do list in WordPress.


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie