I noticed a major flaw with the way to-do lists are presented. I have a solution too.
Read on and you’ll find your to-do lists a little bit closer to “working as intended.” In other words, my redesign will package motivation into the product.
The problem is that to-do lists are written as rote tasks.
- “Go shopping.”
- “Find the kids a daycare.”
- “Go to the gym.”
BORING. How much motivation do you get from that? You’re only going to be thinking of the costs! Instead, write your items as pleasant sensory reminders.
- “A full plate of food just an hour ahead. Yum.”
- “Picture the kids smiling and laughing with their new friends from daycare!”
- “The pump feels good. Go get it!”
Can you feel how much of a difference that makes? By describing a pleasant part of the action, you’re associating the reward with beginning the action later. And you’ll re-associate the good feeling every time you read the list to start a task, or check something off.
You can optionally put the simplified instruction afterwards, but your brain’s work figuring out what you meant might also be important. Try it and see.
One of my pet peeves is seeing people dole out advice on what to do without giving them tools to do it.
You have to figure that if a person knew how to motivate themselves to do something good for themselves, they would have already done it.
So today I am going to give you one tool that will work to create motivation. I don’t guarantee it will work, but I do promise that it is worth trying. Please use the tool to make good decisions. That’s all I ask.
I won’t bother explaining why I think this works. You’re welcome to ask if you want to. The technique is as follows:
Suppose you want to produce motivation for something. We all know that if we get together with a bunch of people we care about, and they make fun of us for something, that’s going to get a reaction of some kind. Similarly, if the same bunch of people tell us we have a great plan and encourage us to do it, we’ll get another reaction — probably a motivating one.
My suggestion is that you pick five or six people whose opinions matter to you and store those people in your head as a committee. They could be friends, family members, or people you look up to.
When you need help getting motivated, imagine yourself explaining it to them individually or as a group. You could show them a picture if that works for you. You can have them react positively to the idea.
This is a technique I got from a book, which was probably describing some kind of business figure (hence the “committee”).
You might keep consulting them for motivation as you try out your idea. Try it and see how you feel afterwards.