I only recently started using master lists. Previously, I kept all my lists on my weekly or monthly pages in my planner: weekly for things that had to be done in a particular week, monthly for reminders of things that needed to be done any time that month.
But lately I’ve had a lot going on, so I started making categorized master lists. Now I have lists of things I need to do for each work project; holiday preparations; home projects, etc. I’m finding these types of lists 1) help me see the chronological progression of next actions, and 2) help me realize what all the steps are.
Karen told me she works from a master list on a Word document that is five pages long (single spaced!) which she adds to and checks things off from every day. She reviews the list often and picks out things to work on, and adds them into her schedule.
The key with a master list, as with any task list, is to work the tasks into your schedule. When you look at your master list, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the large number of tasks in front of you. Pick out which tasks you can do sometime this week, and which ones you can do on particular days, and write them into your schedule. Getting your tasks written into your schedule hugely increases the likelihood of them actually getting done.
The danger of master lists is that because they can be long and intimidating, it’s tempting to put them away and ignore them. By looking at them often, and moving tasks over to your daily schedule, you’ll be able to systematically work through your tasks on your master list over time.