How to Achieve More with Your Master List

A master list is essential to capture all of your tasks in one location. Do you feel overwhelmed with what you have to do?

Keeping a mental list of what you need to do can be draining!

Rather than keep your tasks in your head...or for that matter on different scraps of paper....a master to do list allows you bring all your tasks into once central location.

Here I provide you with 5 steps to achieve more with a master to do list.

1: Capture everything in your master list

Think of all the stuff that you need to do your horizon and start to list them down.

Write your actions down. Don't apply filters to what you need to do. For example: 

  • don't hold onto any judgement about them, 
  • don't group into personal or work or 
  • don't try to determine what are short or long tasks.

Just try to brain dump everything.

master list

Consider the paper on your desk

You may need to go through you papers on your desk and extract any actions that are sitting in these. 

Review your calender over the past 2 weeks

Jot down any actions that you committed to but did not complete!

Were there any meetings that you have gone to that have actions you need to do that are not on your master document? 

Look into the future of your calendar

Look at your calendar over the next month. 

Jot down any actions that you have committed to and that may require preparation. 

2: Create your daily to do list

Now that you have put down all the actions that are on your immediate horizon, ask yourself the following question:

"What do you want to do today?"

Being as specific as you can be, move these from your master list to your to do list.

to do list

3: Review your to do list

Make sure that you are committing to things that are moving your towards your work and personal goals. Typically this is a good spot to prioritize.

2 Tools to prioritize

There are two tools that I find useful to prioritize. You can use:

1. The four quadrant approach used by President Eisenhower and made popular by Stephen Covey

2. The Pareto Principle that harness the 80/20 rule that applies to much of work

4: Schedule your daily to do list

About 50% of to do lists are ever completed!

How frustrating!

No wonder many of our to do lists carry onto the next day and eventually grow to encyclopaedic proportions.

Scheduling avoids you taking on to much!

It does this by providing your with a visual map of what you can achieve with your time. You can easily look at your schedule and decide if you are over committing yourself.


Once you have put times against the actions and decided how long each of them are going to take then it is time to plot them into your calendar.

Here are 6 steps to effective scheduling.

5: Be OK with flexibility

Demands throughout the day will change what is a priority.

Be OK with flexibility in your schedule as long as it is built on solid foundations of achieving what is most important to you, your family, and your business.

Here are some more related articles to time management:

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