How to Organize Your Time: Make Lists

Happy Monday everyone!! Today is the first post in my Organize your Time series (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, hop on over to this post.), and I could not be more excited. Today is the most important post in the series, and we are talking about lists!! Specifically, we will talk about four different kinds of lists that will corral you could-dos, should-dos, and must-dos. Because if you want to be organized, you must make lists!!

Now, this is not a new concept. Making lists have been on every blog, time management book, and organizational anything, so I’m not going to take credit for the ideas in this post. Hundreds of other people have used this method as well, and someone much smarter than me came up with it I’m sure.

I’m also not a psychologist- I just listen to what they have to say. And for me, and many other people, our brains work better when we make lists. Our time is better controlled when we make lists.

So, let’s jump in and make some lists!!

****This post contains affiliate links. This just means that if you buy something from one of my links, I will make a small commission. This is at no extra charge to you! I only link to products and brands that I believe are quality items.**** Today is the first post in my Organize your Time series, and we are talking about lists. Because if you want to be organized, you must make lists!!

Master Task Lists

While list making is good in and of itself, making lists usually works better if you have your lists organized (one reason I love bullet journaling!) I found this method in Eat That Frog! by Tracy Brian. You start with a big master task list. Everything goes on that list. Absolutely everything. If you’re a student, that includes everything from “buy toilet paper” to “get a job” to “write English paper.” If you’re a mom, you’re list may include signing up your daughter for soccer, making a doctor’s appointment, and researching private school options. Whatever situation you are in, every last task you could possibly have goes on this list.

Now, if you have over a page worth of items, feel free to divide your master task list into categories. I have several categories for to do items that are projects (based on the Getting Things Done definition of a project being any task that has multiple steps). You can also have a bucket list, a “don’t do” list, or a thousand other lists to break down your master task list. Honestly, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep your lists together.

It looks daunting, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. It will get more manageable.

Monthly Task Lists

Now, get out your master task lists and examine them closely. Ideally, you do this at the beginning of every month. But, if it’s not the beginning of the month for you, don’t sweat it! Get out a fresh piece of paper, open a new document, or whatever you are doing. Then, take items from your master list that you want to get done this month. Don’t categorize these or anything just yet. Just transfer them from one list to another.

Now, look at the items on your monthly task list and add any that have popped into your mind that need to happen this month. If any task pops into your mind that doesn’t need to be done this month, add it to the master task list.

Before moving onto the next step, prioritize this list by what has to get done versus what you want to get done.

Way to go!! We are making progress.

Weekly Task Lists

Now, we are moving on to the weekly task lists. Again, ideally you do this at the beginning of the week, but no sweat. This process is to make your life more manageable, so don’t stress out about it. (Unless you- like me- have realized you have to read over twenty books this semester, including the Chicago Manual of Style. Then we can panic together!!).

Anyway, once again, you are going to move tasks over from the monthly list to the weekly list. But, this time, only move over items that have to get done. You don’t want to move over anything that is not a have-to until those are all finished. If any items on your monthly list are big projects that would take more than a week, feel free to break them down here.

Daily Task Lists

This is the last step where we actually make lists. Just pull over from your weekly task list what you will do today. Only move over what you have to do today. Add anything that has come to your mind that must happen today. If you accomplish all of those tasks, you can always pull over more!! Or you can celebrate your productivity with ice cream or something. I usually go for ice cream.

Congratulations!! You just completed a crash course in how to make lists that work, and you are one step closer to organizing your time!! I’ll be back later this week or early next week with your next challenge in our Organize your Life series!! What other lists do you keep to help you stay organized?




  1. What a beautiful online home you have here!

    So I am very, very good at making lists. The problem is I leave the list at home or in the car or on the counter or…you get it!
    Amy L. Sullivan recently posted…Fanny Crosby Enrichment Guide and Playlist for Your Gutsy GirlMy Profile

    1. rctuggle

      I used to do that all the time too! Luckily my bullet journal is pretty portable so the lists come with me now!

  2. Great posts! I started bullet journalling in December. The lists system has made me feel so much more on top of everything! It’s been great! Love your lists. I’ll have to reexamine mine using your plan to see if I could be doing it any better 🙂
    Megan Gonzalez recently posted…An Inside Scoop on Sketchy Tacos: My Year in MexicoMy Profile

  3. This is so me. I love lists! I also have master lists and break them down from there.

  4. LOL I’m the opposite, I think I need to rip UP my lists! I have lists for everything. Lists for every room of my home, a list for birthday or Christmas wishes for presents, a list of addresses, a “to-do” list for my blog, a today list for myself, way-too-many-lists. I actually have to actively ignore my list sometimes and say, “Yes, I said I would do that today but I’m going to relax and enjoy myself instead”!
    Leah recently posted…Dear Freckles: I Miss the Simple ThingsMy Profile

    1. rctuggle

      Haha at the rate I’m going, I feel like I may need a list for “what I’m going to do when I don’t want to look at my lists!” Maybe add that to your collection ❤️

  5. I love this!! I make lists all the time!!! This is a great post!

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