Getting up the energy to tackle your to-do list can be a struggle even on a good day. To combat this, entrepreneur Robyn Scott sorts her tasks by the emotion or reward she’ll get by completing them.
By having all of her to-dos sorted into categories that have specific outcomes or emotional benefits, everything she does has a tangible reward attached. For example, her task categories include:
- Triumphant: Client pitches, investment presentations, hiring plans. Mission critical stuff.
- Supremely satisfying: Inbox zero (aided by Tony Hsieh’s lovely “Yesterbox” technique), making a tricky phone call, research.
- Massive relief: Tax return, sorting out insurance, booking flights.
- Highly helpful: Intros, advice, intros, intros.
- Basic decency: Thank you notes, keeping promises. I’ve found this list surprisingly revealing. It shows the conflict between two things I value greatly: generosity and integrity. I tend to promise too much. Seeing my impossibly long list in “basic decency” helps me avoid over-promising and jeopardising integrity.
- Delight: I’d been meaning for ages to get a print of Raphael’s School of Athens for my office, calling a friend out of the blue.
- Fit for Battle: A daily run, 10 minute morning meditation. (I’ve been reading books on war recently, hence the description.)
Of course, your mileage may vary on specific tasks. Robyn’s categories may not work for you as they are. However, it shouldn’t be too hard to create your own. How does a clean house make you feel? Comfortable? Relieved? Accomplished? Whatever it is, keep that attached to your to-do list as a reminder of why you do what you do.