A Simple Hack to Boost Motivation and Complete Your To-Do List

A Simple Hack to Boost Motivation and Complete Your To-Do List

Do you ever stare down an enormous to-do list and think: “Ugh. I don’t want to do any of this.”

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a long list of tasks that you lose all motivation to get started?

I have.

And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s super frustrating!

We know what we need to do.

And we often know how to do it.

But for one reason or another, we struggle to get it done.

I’ve talked about different ways to handle this productivity challenge in previous posts.

I shared strategies for single-tasking to help you stay focused and resist distraction.

I’ve talked about time blocking to help you work through your list efficiently.

And I’ve shared how “finding your why” helps you rediscover your motivation to get things done.

Well, today I’m excited to share with you another one of my favorite hacks to help you find your drive and complete your to-do list quickly.

A Simple Hack to Boost Motivation and Complete Your To-Do List

Boost Your Motivation and Complete Your To-Do List

This idea comes from the brilliant Nataly Kogan. I read about it in her book Happier Now (if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend checking it out!)

As Nataly suggests, when you are struggling to complete your to-do list (or if you haven’t started in the first place!) ask yourself this one simple question:

Who is this task helping?

So many of us are driven by the desire to help others, whether it’s our immediate family, our colleagues at work, or our greater community.

When we recognize that our actions often benefit others, we discover the spark of motivation we need to get started.

Yes, you might have to dig deep to uncover who you’re helping occasionally, but 99.9% of the time, someone benefits from your hard work.

How We Help Others With Our To-Do Lists

There are immediately obvious ways that we help, i.e., I’m doing my family’s laundry so they have clean clothes to wear this week.

There are also broader connections i.e., I am writing this blog post so that I can share the information and provide YOU lovely readers with motivation to complete your to-do list.

And there are tedious tasks, i.e., I am grading 60 papers, so my students receive valuable feedback and have the opportunity to grow as writers and thinkers.

By taking time to think about who I am helping, I quickly rediscover my motivation, and I sit down to work.

It’s a simple little hack, but it’s remarkably effective!


What do you think? Does this hack help motivate you to complete your to-do list? What other strategies do you use to get through your tasks? Share them below!

50 thoughts on “A Simple Hack to Boost Motivation and Complete Your To-Do List”

  1. I’ve never really thought to ask myself this question (though I certainly think about it when doing personal tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning the apartment). Mostly, I think I’d find it motivating when working on blog posts. Thinking of how my tips and resources will be helpful to readers is definitely more motivation to focus on creating content.

  2. I love that by changing our perception of doing our task to help others instead of just getting our job done can motivate us better.

  3. I love how reframing the motivation behind tasks can make you more productive. Every task helps someone and this tip helps to keep us on task while feeling good about what we are doing.

  4. I so enjoyed this read and your lesson to regain motivation by thinking about who we are helping when tackling a task is brilliant! This is a perspective I’ll be teaching my kids.

  5. This sounds great! I have had a hard time getting through my to do-list, so this was perfect to come across today!!

  6. Shannon Graham

    I think mindset plays a large role in motivation. So, yes, I definitely believe focusing your mindset on something positive will make a difference.

  7. I am going to try this hack next time i”m feeling overwhelmed. I like the idea of putting a purpose behind each task.

  8. I’ve never thought about this concept but it is so true. I naturally always feel more inclined to do the tasks that are clearly benefitting my loved ones (like making dinner). So true!

  9. Your opening sentence really spoke to me. Every day there are many things on my to-do list that I put off time and again because I don’t want to do them. Hopefully, by using this new mindset I can get more checked off my list each day. Thanks!

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