To-do lists are a great way to keep track of what we need to get done, but powering through each item can be intimidating. Writer Sidin Vadukut suggests mixing in rewards with your to-dos to keep motivation up (and procrastination down).
Picture: Robert Couse-Baker
The idea is simple: for every thing you want to get done on a given day, assign a reward to that task. This is particularly helpful if the "reward" is something you naturally procrastinate with anyway. By making Facebook games or catching up on blogs the reward for getting some work done, you not only keep productivity up, but you give your procrastination a place to live:
If you want to get five tasks done, my father always said, first find five additional but enjoyable tasks to do. My father's trick was to arrange my schedule in such a way that after each task I was rewarded with something. Today I still use the same micro-rewards system. But in a modified way.
First, I write down everything I need to get done that day. A piece of paper will do well enough.
Next, I populate the list with a whole bunch of rewards. This could be anything from "sushi lunch" to "research Bluetooth speakers."
Next, I plan my day in such a way that each serious task is alternated with a reward or a reward task. The tougher the task, the more enjoyable should be the reward that follows.
Of course, in giving yourself rewards, you'll need to ensure that you're budgeting your time well. An hour of Flappy Bird is a disproportionate reward for 20 minutes of work (not to mention it's only going to make you angry). Equitable rewards, however, can keep your spirits up.