5 reasons why you must have a master to-do list

There’s something so powerful about a central place to store all of your ideas, thoughts and to-do items.

You don’t feel distracted and scattered because everything is in one place.

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I make a master to-do list of everything I need AND want to do.

My current list contains things I have to sent out in the mail, business projects I want to work on, and documents I need to update, like some e-books and coaching tools.

So why a master to-do list?

What’s wrong with the back of an envelope and millions of post-it notes?

1. Writing it all down frees up your brain for big picture thinking so you don’t have to concern yourself with remembering details.

2. It eliminates all the bits and pieces of paper, post-it notes, backs of envelopes, etc.

3. There is something about the act of actually putting pen to paper that seals things in your mind. If you’ve ever been on one of my goal-setting workshops, you know exactly what I mean.

4. Once you see it in black and white, you can deal with reality so much better rather than imagining how bad it all is.

5. You can choose the exact number of tasks you want to tackle every day (I don’t recommend more than 6) without feeling overwhelmed. Move these 6 tasks to your daily to-do list.

My challenge to you

* Download my paper-based master to-do list from my website or use Outlook if you like the electronic version. The method doesn’t matter much; what does matter is that you have a central place to collect your tasks.

* First brain dump everything – go wild, you can sort it out later.

* Now, make categories and then start attacking that list.

Happy organising!


Over to you – do you use master to-do lists?


Marcia Francois is a time management coach and speaker who inspires busy women to break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and take purposeful and focussed action so they have the time and freedom to live life to the full.

Visit  http://purposefultimemanagement.com  for your free Time Management Purpose Pack.

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  1. #4. To me, it’s all about #4!

  2. Marcia Francois says

    It’s the same for me, Chloe! I’m great once I know what I have to work with.

  3. Charmaine says

    I have used a Master Task list for a long time and I love it. Currently I have been using an digital version but you hav e inspired me to have a paper back up copy as well. Thanks

  4. Nothing quite so satisfying than the master list! I LOVE the feeling of a clutter-free brain!

  5. #4 for me too! I need to see it all so I can plan it all.

    Also, I am guilty of writing things down just for the satisfaction of crossing them off. *shame*

    • Marcia Francois says

      Nothing to be ashamed of – crossing that first thing is setting yourself up in a success state. Right??? 🙂

  6. Marcia,
    I can’t seem to find your master to-do list on your website.
    Can you please point me in the right direction?


  7. This is terrific; I make lists all the time but I love your “brain dump, sort it out later” idea. Making categories is a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you look at your “brain dump” and see everything there is to do!

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