How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create A To Do List In WordPressAs a business owner, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, project tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with regular content and everything can quickly start becoming unmanageable and overwhelming.

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

One ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability and allow you to take control, is to use a “to-do” list.


The Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

A “to-do” list can help you track your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to do list can be very detailed and very specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc..

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

Free Up Resources

Writing a to-do list means you don’t have to try and remember things or clutter your brain with details. Once things are written down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on other important areas.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you see the bigger picture and come up with a strategic plan to get tasks done efficiently.

Document Your Work

A to do list allows you to retain documented logs of the work you have done. This can be used as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a means of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Relief

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many things to do and very little time to do it all in. Using a to-do list lets you prioritize urgent tasks that need to get done immediately, and push out non-urgent items that can be worked on later. This can help reduce stress.

Delegate Better

Having to do lists help you better delegate work to others. This is also important if you plan to work within a team (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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and your business efficiency and productivity will improve.

What about using to do lists on your WordPress website?

Creating A To-Do List In WordPress

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to add to do lists to a WordPress site to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List


Download URL


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add to-do lists to WordPress.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

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

The shared to-do list option offers different settings. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to the user) and optionally to have assigned items only seen 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 in the front-end administration.

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

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

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

In your WordPress admin, scroll down the menu and select Plugins > Add New

WP Plugin Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

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

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

WordPress plugin to-do list - To-Do List Settings Tab


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do 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 menu …

plugin to do list - To Do List Categories

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

Cleverness - To Do List Categories > Add New Category

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

Categories marked ‘private’ are not visible using the sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you specify how your lists will be viewed. You can choose three to-do list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets each user create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets all users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to have a 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 (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

If you choose Alphabetical, ID or Category, ID, Category or Alphabetical options, items will be first sorted 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, completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

Enabling this option lets you 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 plugin WordPress 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 WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - 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

to do list plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in 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, from the same plugin developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

Visit this site to learn more about using this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

When you have finished configuring your plugin options in this section, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Advanced Settings

This section lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out plugin database maintenance tasks.

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’ screen allows you to customize your To Do List …

Cleverness to do list - Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates on your todo lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize your labels for highest (important), normal and lowest priority items …

to do lists Cleverness - Priority drop-down menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - color-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, the items’ IDs show up on your list …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date the to-do list was added will display on your To-Do Items table …

WP plugin to-do lists - 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 section and assign items to other users …

Cleverness 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

Enable this option to assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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 (‘Yes’) to display items 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 area Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its check box unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the remaining 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 …

WP plugin to-do lists - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to show to-do categories in the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

Cleverness - 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 email notices. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

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 lists - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you perform database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area …

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

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then remember to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then get professional WordPress support, or use backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate file and data backups here: Backup, Clone And Protect Your WP Sites With Backup Creator Plugin For WordPress

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - User Permissions Tab


If you have chosen Individual List, the only configurable option applicable in this section is the View To-Do List option …

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

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

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

By default, general capabilities for 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings

Below is a description of the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

This 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

This option allows the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This enables the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This allows the chosen capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting permits 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 option allows the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

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

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a window allowing you to view or save your data in plain text format to a storage medium …

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

WP Menu Tools > Export

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

WP Export Menu - To Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do Data File

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

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

Your file will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

plugin to-do lists - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

Cleverness - Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

to-do list Cleverness - Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

You can also 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 will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

WordPress to do list plugin - How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

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 …

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

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

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

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

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

Once an item has been added, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

Cleverness WordPress to-do lists plugin - Adding New To Do Items

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting 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 …

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items

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

WP to do list plugin - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item ticks the item check box …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do lists - Complete To Do Item

… the item disappears from the “To-Do” list …

to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin - Complete To Do Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and add lists to content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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 menu location where you want the to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Widgets

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - Plugin Widget

The to-do list will display where you have inserted the ‘to-do-list’ widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you add lists and checklists to your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

To access the documentation on using short codes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from the WP admin menu …

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

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

plugin to-do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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


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

Once you know what type of information you want to add to your site, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the short code inside the content editor …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list displayed in the location where you have added the shortcode …

Using Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, visit this site: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

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


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