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How To Get Motivated To Complete Your To Do List

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We all have to do lists, they just come in many different forms.  I try to keep mine all in One Note, but I don’t always remember to add a to do task there.

My mother keeps bits of paper all over the place… how she can keep up with them is beyond me.  Personally, I hate my to do list sometimes!

I spend a few hours knocking things off it and get so excited, then do a brain dump and fill it right back up again.

Now, we are going to learn How To Get Motivated To Complete Your To Do List and stay that way!

How to Actually Complete Your To Do List

The point is that everyone has stuff they need to be doing.  So, how can we get (or stay) motivated to keep plugging away at that never ending to do list?  Here are a few helpful tips to get you off your bum (or on it if necessary, LOL) and crossing off the things on your list!

Complete The Small Tasks – Look over your to do list and choose 3 super easy, super small tasks then do them!  You have now completed 3 things that took virtually no time.  For me, this helps to get me in the mood to tackle some of the more pressing items.

Re-Write Your List – It is amazing to me how much I can get done just by re-writing that list, especially if it is a long list.  I find that I will get up and do something just to keep from writing it again.  This is actually one of the best kept secrets.  Writing it on paper puts it in your head and can make you dwell on getting it done.  Plus, if you have multiple check-marks or lined out things, it can get cluttered and make it hard to really decide what else needs doing.

Break It Up – Do you have a large task that needs doing but you keep putting it off?  Grab a blank piece of paper and brainstorm all of the smaller tasks it will take to actually complete that task.  For example:  Write Hickory Farms Review:

  1. Photograph Hickory Farms
  2. Eat Hickory Farms
  3. Find Twitter and FaceBook links
  4. Look up prices
  5. 10 minutes drafting my ideas
  6. 10 minutes on post

That gives me 6 tasks and they all seem pretty easy.  So, if I just start with number one, before you know it the post is done!

Find a To Do List Buddy – There are many places to find a to do list buddy.  Someone to motivate you and keep you accountable!  I actually have a small accountability Facebook group.  We post a new accountability thread each day and everyone posts their lists.  The accountability is a HUGE motivation to be able to mark off things.  Plus, everyone is very positive!  Come join us!

Start a Competition – Challenge some of your Twitter friends or FaceBook to knock out their to do list for a few minutes.  Get creative and even challenge them to something specific like:

  • Go clean every toilet in your house then rush back to say it is done!
  • Tell us the 6th item on your to do list, then run do it.
  • Work on your to do list for 30 minutes, then come back and tell us everything you accomplished!

It could be really fun and motivating to try to out do everyone else, or be the first one back. Smile

Use Your Timer – How long can you work?  Set a timer for 10 minutes or even 5 minutes and start something on your list.  Chances are you will find that you are really into it when that timer goes off.  Keep working!  Or, if you are waiting on that timer, then stop for 5 minutes then come back.

Play a Game – When I just don’t want to do anything on my list, I grab a sheet of paper and cut it into small squares.  I write a task on each square and draw one.  I do the timer thing in conjunction with this.  So, I tell myself that I can do anything for 15 minutes.  I grab a task and set my timer for 15 minutes.  When my timer goes off, if I have completed the task then I can throw away the piece.  If I haven’t completed the task, it goes back into the bucket.  To make it easier (and a bit more fun) I try to add 1 fun thing for every 5 non-fun things.  Just don’t get sidetracked with the fun thing and not get back to work!  Make sure you set the timer for the fun parts, too!

To Do List Accountability Resources:

The following affiliate links are a few of my favorite things that I use to keep me going when my To Do list is just too overwhelming!

My Timer – Chef’s Quad-Timer Professional

Fun Pens – Staedtler Triplus Fineliner

Best Highlighters – Zebra Highlighter Mildliner

My Favorite Notebook – Leuchtturm 1917

Best Lined Sticky Notes – Redi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes

To Do List Pad – There are many options on Etsy

Best Holder For Most of the Above 🙂

What about you? How do you get motivated?  Do you have a great trick that will help you get out of your to do list rut?

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Tawnya Sather

Friday 17th of December 2010

I love it! Thank you for all the great ideas! I have been the worst procrastinator lately!

Eric Graham Review

Tuesday 14th of December 2010

To get motivated, a positive thinking should be include also in order for the tasks to be completed. I agree that taking the small tasks first is a great way to keep your activities going until you've reached those tasks that are more difficult to deal with.

Medical Conditions

Tuesday 14th of December 2010

when I plan for a certain tasks, I always have this to do list on my notes. But I all end up unfinished them all. Taking slowly to perform such list is a great way to complete them.


Monday 13th of December 2010

What great ideas. I'd never have thought of some of those myself. I rarely use to do lists actually, I just remember most of what I need to do. I'd probably use them more if I had Outlook or a better way to handle them.


Saturday 11th of December 2010

Nice read. I just keep following my spreadsheet, where each cell tells me what to do and when. I make adjustment from time to time. After all you need a discipline to complete all your todos in time.

Thanks again, couponboa