Working on projects can be a true challenge. As there are many different tasks and to-do’s involved with each project, it’s easy to lose the overview of your progress. Especially when you’re juggling multiple projects at the same time it can become chaotic pretty fast.
As the battle with keeping track of your progress and determining your best next actions continues, feelings of frustration and overwhelm kick in. Before you know it, you find yourself procrastinating.
The solution to this struggle?
Create a Masterlist.
What Is A Masterlist?
Essentially, a Masterlist is one big list in which you collect all the items that need to be completed in order to finish the project. You can compare it like a to-do list, but then for a specific project instead of for your day.
For example, if your project is to write a book, launch a new product or finish a course (like I’m doing at the moment), you can create a Masterlist specifically dedicated to that project. On your Masterlist, you capture all to-do items that come to mind so that you create a clear overview of what you need to do.
Whenever you finish an item of your Masterlist, visually cross it off so that you can clearly see the progress you’ve made. This way, you see exactly what has already been completed and what still needs to be done. Based on this clarity, you can pick your next point of action without feeling stuck or overwhelmed.
Over time, it may be that you come up with new items that need to be completed, simply add these to your Masterlist as you go.
Giving your projects this structure provides clarity — and clarity is one of the keys to high levels of productivity.
How I’m Using A Masterlist Right Now
As I mentioned before, I’m currently creating a new course, which is a big and intimidating project with many moving parts involved. It takes multiple months to complete and it has many different stages — making the outline, recording the videos, creating the sales page and many others. Especially for projects like this, a Masterlist is a true life-saver.
The Masterlist for this project is multiple pages long, so I’ll only share a part of it to avoid it becoming messy:
Part of my Masterlist for the Peak Productivity course — only showing the items that are this month’s focus
As you can see, this list conveniently provides an overview of all the things I have already done and all the things that still need to be done in order to finish the course I’m working on.
Despite the number of different tasks that I still need to do, I’m feeling in control over my work simply because this list gives me clarity and structure. If I wouldn’t have created this Masterlist, I would’ve definitely gotten stressed out and overwhelmed — which would’ve negatively impacted my productivity.
Why A Masterlist Makes You Highly Productive
I’ve been using a Masterlist for all of my projects for years now — no matter how big or small they are. Before using the Masterlist technique, my projects were a complete mess. I’d quickly lose an overview of my projects as I didn’t really know what still needed to be done and what next step I should take.
This made me feel out of control, which quickly led to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Especially when I was juggling multiple projects at the same time, this feeling would get worse and worse.
I’m sure you can relate.
However, ever since using a Masterlist, things are different. I’m feeling in control over my projects as I know exactly what has already been done and what still needs to be done. This feeling of being in control over your work is key to prevent feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
A Masterlist is a great tool to keep momentum going and avoid procrastination or time-wasting. Whenever you feel stuck on a project, you can just grab your Masterlist and pick a few items to tackle next.
Personally, I used to get frustrated whenever I was stuck on projects. This usually resulted in procrastinating on my work by watching an episode of Modern Family. Nowadays, however, a Masterlist helps me to stay productive in times where I would’ve normally procrastined.
Furthermore, looking at your Masterlist fuels the motivation to work even harder on your projects. By looking at the progress that you’ve already made on certain projects, you’ll likely feel confident and good about yourself — and these positive emotions are scientifically proven to make you even more productive. On the contrary, you can also clearly see whether or not you’ve been slacking on a project, which serves as a call to action to do more.
Last, but not least, a Masterlist helps you to save valuable mental resources. Instead of trying to mentally track your projects — which leads to mistakes, stress and a lack of clarity — you’ve got it all clearly onto paper.
Keeping an overview of your projects in your mind is one of the worst things you can do. Not only does it occupy the brain’s limited working memory — which is actually needed for important things like focusing, discipline, problem-solving and decision making — but it also leaves you prone to mistakes and unnecessary stress.
Now Do It
I invite you to create a Masterlist for the project(s) that you’re currently working on so that you can experience the benefits for yourself.
Start by picking a project and then simply write down all the to-do items that you can think of right now that are required for finishing the project. Don’t worry about whether or not you’ve got all the items, as you can always add more on the go.
Then, pick a few items of the Masterlist and place them on your daily to-do list (or better, your daily ‘Success list’) and cross them off whenever they are completed.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab