Are you one of the many people who have massive TO DO lists but really never get them all done? Solution? Create a realistic Master Plan and get organized! Whether it’s buying a house, having a baby, deciding on a new car, planning a vacation, writing a book, moving, or even starting a new business or job, if you organize to get it done, you can make your dreams come true! One day at a time.

Here are 8 neat ideas to get you started on your way to getting things done.

  1. Create a Master Plan. Review your To Dos and identify the projects or goals they enable you to achieve. Now make a Master Plan by listing the 3-10 major projects / things you’d like to accomplish in the next year. For example, you would include big picture goals like “buy a house,” “read 10 books on a given subject,” or “establish a vegetable garden.” Do not includes tasks, decisions, or steps like “find a Real Estate agent” or “choose a neighborhood.”
  2. Prioritize Your Master Plan Goals and Set Timelines. For example, you many want to buy your new home in the fall when prices tend to be a little lower. Or buy in the Spring, so you can move while the kids are out of school. With a timeline in mind you can then set mini-goals and deadlines along the way to make sure your project gets done when you want it done.
  3. Keep Your Master Plan Where You’ll See it Often. On a wall or white board, in your calender or a computer file or make it a screensaver on your computer!
  4. Make a Separate File Folder or Binder for Each Project. Your file folders can be paper or on your computer, or both! Keep your special project folders or binders together in a handy drawer, shelf, step file or portable file box. Make sure the files or binders are well labeled and near where you will do most of the work so you can easily access the information you collect and put related documents in them. If you have a file folder on your computer, keep it handy by creating a shortcut to the folder and put it on your Desktop or Quick Launch Bar (if you use Microsoft Windows.)
  5. Break Down Each Project into Tasks. Use natural milestone decisions to be made, like finding the right agent, as your guide. Create a document listing all the steps you can think of to make each part of the project a reality. Put this list in your file folder or binder and update the list as you work each project. For example, here is where you would put the task of “find a Real Estate agent” or “choose a neighborhood.” To accomplish each of those tasks you will then have To Do’s. To Do’s should be only those things that can get done in a single day during the week like: – Call Nancy, Scott and Jen to get referrals of agents. – Set up interviews with 3 agents. – Research 3 neighborhoods on the net.
  6. Record Your Progress. As you make progress and do research, put your notes, brochures, web page printouts, drafts, ideas, etc. into the project folder. TIP: Record any particularly helpful related websites and phone numbers on the front of your folder for easy access!
  7. Schedule Time. Mark time out on your calendar each week to make progress on your projects. You can just put a block of 1-2 hours that says SPECIAL PROJECTS or schedule time for each project every week. Then you only need to refer to your Special Projects Folders to pick up where you left off on whichever one needs attention.
  8. Park New Big Ideas in a Parking Lot. Along the way you will get new ideas that could distract you from achieving your Master Plan. If you don’t want to change your Master Plan, create a parking space for them! This could be a folder, a computer file, a section in your calendar, a special little notebook or any single place to write down all your ideas so you can get them off your mind. When one of your projects is done, you can always go to your idea file for inspiration for the next project. I call mine – IDEA FILE (Original huh? : )

Remember to be realistic. Each day, only put 5 – 6 things on your To Do list. Only put things you MUST do that day plus one or two others that move you toward getting your special projects done. You really can’t do more than that in addition to your everyday chores and work! But if you keep at it, everything WILL get done!

Would you like to simplify your life and get more organized? Ariane Benefit is a Life Coach, ADD Coach, organizing expert, author and coach who has been quoted in Psychology Today, the Wall Street Journal, and more. Visit her popular Neat & Simple Living Blog at Ariane has over 25 years experience helping businesses and individuals get the results they want. Take a peek inside her book, Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Office at