How do you motivate yourself to achieve your To-Do list?

Ruby Watkins
I think of the app as my training partner/coach. I don't want to let the app down because then I know I've let myself down.

Marie Rasmussen
Motivation has been a difficult thing for me over the years. I used to write these to-do lists that had so much on them I never could finish them in a day. I tried all sorts of tricks for limiting additions or prioritizing, but I always felt like I was failing or being “bad” if I took a break.

I grew up in a family that had so many mixed messages about to do lists. It took until I realized a few things for me to be happy with my achievements in a day. Also, to do what I put on my to do list.

I had wildly ridiculous expectations of myself. I learned that’s everyone had to be taken care of and all things on the to do list done before I could focus on me.

All the chores should be done before I could have fun. I should grocery shop at numerous stores because these were better at this one and that was better at the other. Also… if something was nice don’t let it get worn (like pots and pans) which meant hand washing a lot of things. Pots are replaceable. I am not.

So… over time I’ve figured out something that works fairly well for me.

First: only three semi-mandatory tasks for a day. I say semi mandatory because days don’t always go as planned. Sometimes things take longer than expected. Sometimes something comes up. I do not want to “fail” over things I can’t control.

Second: the thing that is hardest or least fun to do is the first thing if possible. I have more ability to do something I don’t like when fresh.

Third: I build in lots of self-care time. Reading. Playing games. Taking a nap. Taking care of me is priority number one.

Fourth: I work on what causes the hard things to be hard. (Dislike of phone calls, whatever).

For me if motivation is that hard to have it’s a sign that something isn’t right. I can’t motivate myself to jog. I can’t motivate myself to go to the gym. That’s because I don’t like those. I can motivate myself to walk, because I enjoy it.

Find what works for you and motivation becomes less a “force myself to…” thing.

Alicia David
I use timer. I start small and it motivates me to keep going. When I achieve one goal, it feels good and it motivates me to do the next task.

Loane Morel
I try to think of the satisfaction I'll get when I'm done! It really helps having the to-do lists in one notebook because it shows me how much I've already accomplished. It also helps me prioritise because I can see the tasks that never got done which means they weren't important.

Pauline Bourgeois
I dont think much about it. I just think that this need to be done, and I just do it. It's not always work, however, and I'd like to find another way

Jonathan Thomsen
I go slowly. If I give myself too many things to do and accomplish I won’t want to do it. But if I go small I tell myself “hey, it’s just a small task, it won’t take too long” and day after day it’s easier to complete. After that I can give myself one big goal. If I can’t accomplish that single big goal, I break it down in multiple small goals. I would say to push yourself but never too hard. Or you will just procrastinate. If you go small and easy, you will see that by the end of a couple month your goals will be bigger and you won’t be too lazy or afraid to tackle them.

Julie Larsen
I remind myself of how easily I get distracted and then get behind. I think of the pleasure of ticking off completed tasks

Julie Christensen
I do on days where I feel the time and mindspace is available. If my morning schedule were in a different order some days it may feel less daunting but the fact of the matter is I need to incorporate the time into my schedule so there is no question— I need a set schedule as in what time I can wake on which days.

Marcus Jørgensen
By simplifying my checklist down to three major priorities, I find it easier to motivate myself to finish it each day and celebrate my success. I essentially utilize two checklists. An ongoing master list that never ends. As things pop up they’re added no matter how big or small (don’t forget to mail a letter/clean out refrigerator/schedule a conference for work/etc.). It’s divided into home, work, volunteer responsibilities and self sections. Each day when I write my list for the day I select three things from my master list. It forces me to prioritize and focus on doing the most important (and usually most unappealing) and/or most time-sensitive tasks first. By limiting my list to three key tasks per day, I’m leaving room for my regularly scheduled work/home activities and tasks which ensures I will actually have enough time to do my tasks. On days that I have extra time I just keep pulling from my master list. This is a confidence builder and motivates me. Instead of having a list of ten items that I was only able to complete eight tasks from —which for myself increased feelings of failure and anxiety, its newly framed as I have completed my daily list AND was able to do an additional five tasks. This method helps me to keep a positive outlook and I find it to be especially motivating on those “if anything can happen it will days.” With a much smaller list I find it more manageable to complete even when life gets in the way. Best wishes to you!