I don’t know about you… but I usually can’t stand to-do lists!
Most of the time, at least for me, it’s pretty boring stuff.
Sometimes it’s not! But usually it is.
But either way you’ve got to get it done, right? Whether it’s fun or not, whether you love it or hate it… “you gotta do what you gotta do”!
That’s one of my favorite sayings.
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Muhammad Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
This is a different context than a to-do list. But the principle is the same!
Just do the things that need to get done, do them with excellence whether you want to or not, and there’s a reward in it. No matter how big or small, there’s a reward in it.
I don’t know how I thought of this, but I recently did this hack on my own to-do list and it’s amazing what it does!
Whether I’m feeling super motivated or not, it’s just an amazing way to burn through that to-do list!
Are you ready? Without further ado or introduction, here it is…
Here’s The Hack
Like I said in the title, it’s so wonderfully simple!
This is it…
Check off the to-do item before you do it.
Yes, it’s really that easy!
Here’s how it works.
Normally, when we have a to-do list, especially if it’s boring stuff, we look at it, and then our mind goes straight to, yeah but I need to get dinner started, I can just watch YouTube for 10 minutes before I do that, ahh I’m too tired to do that right now I’ll get it done in an hour, I’ll make coffee then do that… or whatever else.
The bottom line is, it just doesn’t work very well! Right? Unless you’re one of those really special, very disciplined, motivated, got-it-all-together types. If that’s you though, you probably don’t even need this article!
I have a “to-do” list and I have a “today” list. Just in case it’s hard to tell what they mean, the to-do list are things I need to do that are not necessarily very urgent. The today list are things that I need and/or want to get done today.
I can’t even count the times that I’ve turned my today list into a “this week” and then a “this month” list. And I hate that!
It honestly drives me nuts. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that same thing has happened to you more than once, too.
If you check off the item right when you look at it without even giving it a second thought, you’ll probably think to yourself, well I’m not going to lie to myself and not do something that I said I did, and I don’t want to forget later on that I didn’t do it, so I’m going to do it right now!
You essentially give your own self no choice but to do it right at that moment, no matter how tired or lazy or distracted you feel.
It’s kind of like when the mother eagle loving shoves her young perilously out of the nest, affectionately giving them the chance to fly or die. It’s just that you’re lovingly doing it to your own self (and it’s not quite as dangerous :).
Trust me, this insanely simple hack will work wonders on your to-do list, and on your motivation and discipline.
You might not become a boxing world champion by getting better at checking off your to-do list, but I can almost guarantee you, you’ll feel less stressed, have more energy and in the long run have more free time!
A Word About Motivation
Motivation is an interesting thing, isn’t it?
Motivational speakers are very popular, and motivational books are really hot sellers. Social media is absolutely filled with influencers who are motivational speakers.
John Maxwell, whose books I’ve really enjoyed, quotes from a magazine he once read in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, “The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it… Do it without motivation and then guess what. After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
Well that’s certainly an interesting thought about motivation.
I’m not going to say I agree with it necessarily. But it presents another side of the motivation coin.
The problem with motivation is that so many think, “When I feel super motivated, I’ll do it and it’ll be great.”
Motivation is an awesome thing, for sure.
But we just can’t always wait until we’re motivated to get things done. If that were the case, we might get 50 or 40% of the things done that we need to.
When you don’t want to do something you need to do, sometimes you need a push. And you know what, it’s an awesome thing when you can give yourself that push!
But the great thing about motivation is that the more we do the things we don’t want to do and the quicker we do them, the more motivation we’ll feel in the future.
Here’s A Challenge
I love making things practical.
So even if you don’t regularly keep a to-do list, you can still try this trick…
Take something that you maybe “should” do or need to do, but you’ve left hanging for longer than you should.
Make a to-do list, and you can put as many items on it as you want. You can have just that one thing on there, or you could add five or 10 more things. It doesn’t matter.
Right after you finish your to-do list of one or more items… check the thing off!
Check off that item that you’ve been needing to do and haven’t gotten done yet.
Trust me, it’ll be wonderful. You’ll feel an urgency to be true to yourself and do that thing, and you’ll most likely get right up and do it.
If that’s your one item, then congrats. You’ve officially “crushed”, “smashed”, “demolished” and whatever else, your to-do list with ease.
If you have more items, then now you’re ready to breeze through the rest of them.
If you’re anything like most people, you probably have at least some tendency to procrastinate.
Don’t fear or fret.
I mean honestly, is it some kind of disorder to feel hesitant or unmotivated to do things we don’t want to do!? Since when is that something “weird”?
I’m not saying it isn’t good or that we shouldn’t work on it. Of course we need to work on it if we have trouble with procrastination.
But on the other hand, don’t beat yourself up for it if you have trouble jumping up with joy and instantly doing every single mundane or daunting task in your life!
If you do have trouble with procrastination, I’ll bet this hack will really help you out.
One of the best things about is that we won’t usually lie to ourselves.
So if you tell yourself you did something, then you’re going to want to be true to yourself and make that a reality.
And on another note, if you do need some motivation… coffee is always a nice motivator.
I’m drinking a delicious coffee by Koffee Kult that they simply call “Dark Roast”. If you want a delicious coffee, click below to purchase it!
And if you try this to-do hack, I would absolutely love to hear from you and know how it worked! Please feel free to write in the comments section, or if you have any other questions or comments.
Have a wonderful day, and coffee cheers to breezing through the to-do list, being more motivated and throwing off procrastination!!
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