Today, Richard Branson's Virgin Group controls over 400 companies worldwide. An iconic entrepreneur, Branson is an inspirational leader with a global brand that competes in almost every major industry.

Whether he's rewriting the rules for customer service in hospitality, building the world's first commercial spaceline, or kite surfing with Barack Obama, Branson seems capable of just about anything.

Some even consider Branson the most important living entrepreneur.

But there's something else about Branson that separates him from other CEOs. He possesses an undeniable panache, a joie de vivre that is unmatched in the corporate world, as well as an unparalleled sense of humor.

Looking at Branson's life, it's hard to imagine how one person can accomplish so much.

But like many great leaders, innovators, and business moguls of our time, Branson uses a number of methods to stay on task. However, there is one very simple strategy he recommends over all the rest.

He uses this strategy not only for things he needs to get done, but also to track progress on goals he still wants to achieve.

Here is his advice, in five simple words:

Make lists--lots of them.

In a Virgin blog post, Branson describes the benefits of the deceptively simple strategy.

I have always lived my life by making lists. These vary from lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. I also have lists of topics to blog about, lists of tweets to send, and lists of upcoming plans.

Branson's lists encompass both minor and major project goals. Also, by keeping this running tally, he is able to continually make progress and solidify plans over time.

So, if the simple act of list-making can benefit someone with a life as complex as Richard Branson's, it can greatly increase anyone's chances of bringing their dream company, life, or project into existence.

Here are Branson's top 10 tips for making good lists:

  1. Write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small.
  2. Always carry a notebook.
  3. Find a list method that works for you. Doodles, bullet-points, charts--what suits you best?
  4. Make a list of small, manageable tasks to complete every day.
  5. Mark off every completed task. You'll find making each tick very satisfying.
  6. Make your goals measurable, so you know if your plans are working.
  7. Set far off, outlandish goals. What do you want to have achieved by 2020? How about 2050?
  8. Include personal goals in your lists, not just business.
  9. Share your goals with others. You can help motivate each other further.
  10. Celebrate your successes, then make new lists of goals.

You should pay special attention to tip No. 10.

In our busy lives, we often forget to celebrate each individual success. Whether big or small, you must take time to recognize a job well done.

And after that...well, it's time to start making more lists.