Today I want to discuss a mind-shift practice that can help individuals make it through a long list of tasks.
The problem with motivation
Motivation can be in short supply. The activities and challenges of the day can quickly wear anyone down, and soon we may find it hard to do the simplest of actions. Family, work, volunteering, and other responsibilities will and do wear down our inner strength which makes it harder to do less critical activities on our to-do list such as “wash the dishes” or “read for 30 minutes.”
Motivation is a significant topic that I will cover in a later series of posts. For a quick overview, motivation encompasses willpower, emotional control, fortitude, zeal, and a deep understanding of who we are and what we want to do. However, even with all of these elements, it can still be challenging to push through a long agenda of tasks and responsibilities.
The “get to do” solution
We all create (or should be creating) to-do lists because they give us a firm understanding of what we wish to accomplish within that day. To-do lists, for short and long-term thinking, are crucial to creating the life we want.
The problem lies in accomplishing everything on that list. We may start the day energized, but by the end of the day we’re tired and want to relax. This causes many smaller goals to remain incomplete.
To me, a quick solution to this problem is to reimagine the “to-do” list as a “get-to-do” list. This shift in mindset takes all tasks and reimagines them not as burdens but as privileges.
For example, “washing the dishes” seems tiring and cumbersome. By comparison, if I view washing the dishes as a privilege, I begin to see how blessed I am to have food to eat, utensils to eat the food on and with, and running water for cleaning.
Another example is writing a blog post. I may not want to write the blog post for this week, but I have to remember how blessed it is to have this opportunity. In order to do this blog, I need web design and web development skills, reading comprehension, writing talent, and the free time to do so. These are all things I’m humbled to have. Through admiration of the abilities I have to do the tasks in front of me, I am more reflective of my personal journey as well as more interested in what lies ahead.
Excellence through gratitude
As Daily Stoic put it, “there’s a big difference between seeing life as something you have to do versus seeing life as something you get to do, but there is. A huge, magnificent difference.”
Never think about what you have to do but what you get to do. It is a privilege to have the skills, abilities, and facilities to pursue our goals, and we should be eternally grateful. This gratitude will give us new found energy to continue with our tasks even when we feel mentally and physically tired.
This simple mindset exercise isn’t flawless, and sometimes we really do need to take a break. Additionally, we may be trying to do too much in one day, and a simple record of our daily tasks may show us where our time is truly going.
However, there are moments where we can push just a little more. By focusing on how amazing it is to be able to do the things that we as individuals are capable of doing, we can find renewed energy and passion for the most mundane activities.
- What’s one thing you’re not looking forward to today? Why do you dread doing this activity?
- What’s one thing you’re looking forward to doing? Why do you want to do this activity?
- Take your one activity you don’t want to do. What skills are required to do this activity? What opportunities? Does this activity improve you as a person?
- When reflecting on the things you do not want to do, ask yourself what benefits are gained if you do them and what is lost if you fail in your duties.
- This post was inspired by Daily Stoic’s Here’s How To Have Your Best Week Ever: 7 Practices From The Stoics. It’s an insightful and amazing post, and I suggest reading it as well as following the Daily Stoic.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.