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How to Organize a Master To Do List Using a Brain Dump

I have had this post sitting in my draft folder for a very long time.  Today, I received an email that pushed me to actually complete my Brain Dump (aka: Master To Do List), get it all organized, and complete my post.

A couple weeks ago, I bought Christy Love’s Gold Package on her Simple Organized Sanity site.  The gold package also got me her Weekly Organizing Challenge (it is 5 dollars for 1 year of emails!) emails.  Today’s 9 minute MP3 message was all about using a Brain Dump to complete your Master To Do List (ahh great minds think alike!).  Using some of her products, I sorted and organized my household notebook and started using my master to do list.

how to organize a master to do list

I am going to walk you through how I did it. :-)

Step 1:  Gather Your Supplies

  1. I got my Mead 3-ring Notebinder(which I completely love!)
  2. A pack of Avery Big Tab Insertable Pocket Dividers
  3. My Weekly To Do list
  4. 3-Hole Punch
  5. Post It Repositional tabs
  6. My Customized Daily Planner Sheets (also included in the Gold Package)
  7. Personal To Do Tracker (for keeping your master to do list)
  8. Around The House To Do Tracker (for keeping your master to do list)
  9. Business To Do Tracker (for keeping your master to do list)
  10. My Weekly Menu Sheets
  11. Our Tried and True Meals checklist
  12. My Monthly menu planner sheets


Grab a notebook or lined paper, set a timer for 15-20 minutes, and start writing down every thing that needs doing.  EVERYTHING!  Maybe it is a post you have been meaning to finish (ahem *cough), a window that needs a blind, or just cleaning out the fridge.  Write it down… don’t stop to think, just WRITE!

Step 3:  Begin Building Your Master To Do List

Now, you want to organize it into a more manageable list.  Christy’s To Do Trackers are perfect for this because they have two columns.  One for short tasks and one for longer projects.  I sorted all the tasks that I had brain dumped onto each sheet: Personal, Business, Around the House and put them in the correct column. :-)

So, what to do about the long projects?  Later, you could begin breaking down those projects!

Step 4: Combine Into Your Notebook!


I have the 8-divider pack sorted into the following sections:

  1. Daily To Do List – I have a month’s worth of pages already printed and have a blank sheet at the end.  If something comes up, it goes automatically onto the date it is due.  If it is so far in the future that I don’t currently have a page printed, then it goes onto my blank sheet of paper.  Each month, I have a note to print more sheets and update the list.
  2. Master To Do List – (see above)  I mark them off as they are complete and add more as I think of them :-)  Please note, my Master List does not include those normal everyday tasks, weekly tasks, or monthly tasks.  I put those onto my daily list.  They contain things like:  put together shed, get Tank a hair cut, complete cross-stitch blanket.
  3. Menu – In one pocket I have our tried and true recipe check list and in the other pocket, I have all the print outs, ripped, pages, jotted notes, etc of recipes we would like to try.  If we try it and like it, the recipe goes in my recipe box and the title gets added to our check list.  In the rings, I have my monthly and weekly sheets.
  4. Reference – This is just a generic section for all the junk that comes up. :-)  I have several blank sheets of paper there so I can scribble reminders.  For example: right now it says, “Project section – S.O.S sheets”

As I was putting my binder together, I couldn’t think of sections that I would really need to fill all my tabs.  Some people like to include their address book, school section, calendar, etc here.  I do not. :-)  I have a plain calendar in my first pocket and a monthly to do sheet in my second pocket.  That is enough of a calendar for me.  Otherwise, it gets written on the calendar on the wall… or if it is blogging related, it goes in my BusyBodyBook.

But, then I decided that I really need a project section.  I always have a million projects going on at one time and need to get them a bit more organized.  As time permits, I will make that section and any others that I think of. :-)

Step 5:  Use Your New Notebook!

Good luck using your notebook!  Maybe you should set a Google Calendars or Outlook reminder to pop up each day reminding you to check your notebook.  It only takes 29 days to make a habit.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be better organized before the craziness of summer hits!?

*Disclaimer- every product mentioned in this post was purchased with my own money (well, with my husband’s money :-))!  A couple items link to Amazon, if you purchase through those affiliate links, I make a couple cents.  The Simple Organized Sanity links are not affiliate links, so I make nothing but you get organized and super sweet Christy makes some money. :-)

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This post may contain affiliate links - any opinions stated are strictly my own!

About Kelli Miller

My husband (Ricky) of 15 years, our three wild and wonderfully different little boys, one totally spoiled little dog named Annie, and I live in a small town on the coast of Southern Alabama.


  1. Crystal & Co says:

    How awesome is that? Very impressive!
    .-= Crystal & Co´s last blog ..Blogger Appreciation Day =-.

  2. Love this. I came here from Crystal & Co. You sounded so knowledgeable with your comment left there.

    I am also a homeschooler, and have 3 boys. No dog.

    It’s a pleasure to meet such a savvy woman. Hope some of it rubs off on me!!

    Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  3. I ran across your blog as I was researching Google for anyone writing about “to-do’s” or brain dumps. I found yours and and included a link to your blog in my new blog. Great minds do think alike!
    Angela Lieb´s last blog post ..Take Action 4- Take A Brain Dump

  4. Found your site when looking for other websites I could direct my readers to. Found this blog. Great minds DO think alike! I provided a link to your blog in my new blog 111 Ways to Take Action. Your Brain Dump is much more organized than mine :)
    Angela Lieb´s last blog post ..Take Action 4- Take A Brain Dump

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