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5 Quick Fixes for Crossing Off Your Looming To-Dos

By The Editorial Team

Motivation can be a mosquito in the night. You can hear it buzzing in your ear, but when you reach out to crush it, all you catch is air.

You understand the importance of getting things done. You probably talked to one — or all — of your students about it in class today. And yesterday. And you probably will again tomorrow.

But let’s be honest. There are some things on your own list that you can’t ever seem to find the energy or motivation to accomplish — right?

We all have them.

Motivation doesn’t come easy. But mustering it up is totally doable with these five quick fixes.

1. Take a moment to evaluate what needs to get done. 

Each night, as you prepare for the next day, write down three need-to-do tasks that seem to always get pushed to back burner. And don’t be vague — get specific in what you need to do. Instead of “Grade essays,” try “Grade 15 essays by the end of the day.” Don’t include “Do laundry;” make a manageable specific goal: “Put in two loads of laundry, fold, and put them away by 7 pm.”

  • Be clear and specific about what you need to do. 
  • Make it clear and understandable. 
  • And make it manageable to accomplish. 

2. Shed some light on your world

When it’s time to get down to business, open the curtains and let the sun in. Or, if you can’t, turn on the lights. Light is a natural influencer on the human brain. Darkness slows our system and begins the process of sleep. Adding more light to your work environment can help energize your mind and keep you motivated to get things done.

3. Focus on the end game

Often when we think of tasks, we know they need to be done, but the end result isn’t always clear. So make it clear. Write on your to-do list why you need to accomplish this task. Do your children need clean clothes so their peers won’t make fun of them? Are there no forks left in the drawer and your sink is starting to smell? Do your students need feedback so they can do the next assignment? Make a choice to focus on why your task needs to be done and you may find yourself more motivated to do it.

4. Identify your adversary 

You need to address whatever it is that is stopping you from finishing your tasks. Is it fear of failure? Fear of success? Do you have too much on your plate? Are you too tired by the end of the day?

Identifying the adversary to your productivity can help you defeat it. If you’re stuck, check your gut. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you ask why it’s not getting done? Once you have the right answer, you can make a plan to overcome it. In fact, it can be one of your three items for tomorrow’s list.

5. Take charge

You’re the hero of your own story. And you need to take charge to move forward. Sometimes it’s easier to make excuses or blame someone or something else. But if you want things to change, it’s important to remember that you’re the only one that can make it happen. Despite all the frustrating ways that life gets in the way, you are in charge. Say it with me. “I am in charge!”

Drumming up a little motivation may feel like moving a mountain, but when you break it down and focus your intention on these five elements, you’ll be able to conquer even the most ominous of all your looming to-dos!

And when you do?

You will feel free as a bird, light as a feather, and ready to take on the world.

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