I know that I share all day every day about productivity and home organization, but let me be honest with you: I’m prone to putting off tasks that are difficult and that I don’t enjoy doing.
I mean, aren’t we all!?
But, I’ve developed a quirky little trick to help me get super important things done. This trick is something I’ve been utilizing for several years now, and I honestly didn’t think anything of it until a friend of mine saw me doing it and thought it was low-key genius.
Click the video below to watch:
The best way for me to explain it is to give an example.
So, let’s say I have a subscription I need to cancel. Maybe I signed up for a free trial of some streaming service, but didn’t want to continue with the subscription after the trial ended.
What I would do in that case is set a reminder in my phone for the day I need to cancel by. Now, normally when people set reminders for tasks like this they simply say something like “cancel subscription.”
Um – let me tell you – that reminder is going to get snoozed, dismissed, or totally ignored by me real quick.
Sure, it’ll jog my memory, but there’s no urgency behind it.
So instead, I word my reminders like this: “Cancel subscription to xyz OR by charged $18.00 a month.”
It’s a subtle difference in wording, but it’s incredibly impactful. By telling myself what will happen if I don’t get the task done, I give myself that little extra boost that I need. I’m reminded of the consequence that will come if I don’t get this incredibly important task done, and that motivates me to go do the thing, even if it’s something I don’t want to do.
Now, if you’re one who is more motivated by positive reinforcement (or you simply don’t love the idea of your phone bossing you around!) you can also use this the opposite way. You could put in your reminder as: “Go to spin class at 6:00 PM and imagine how great you’ll feel when it’s done!”
So, pick whichever way is more motivational to you – whether it be reminding yourself of a consequence or reminding yourself of a reward. Whichever you choose, when you set reminders in your phone, make sure you include you WHY behind the reminder. If you start doing this today, I can guarantee your completion rate on daily tasks will skyrocket.
It may be tempting to take this strategy and start setting reminders for everything! Making dinner, unloading the dishwasher, sorting the laundry, and turning out the lights in the office before bed!
But let me caution you – if you have reminders popping up all the time, multiple times a day, you’re going to start ignoring them. It’s that classic principle that if everything is important, then nothing is important.
So I encourage you to be really selective about which things get to live in your phone as a reminder. I’d recommend not setting reminders for daily routine tasks or for things that aren’t all that important. Instead, train yourself so that every time a reminder pops up, you know it’s something you need to give you attention to and not ignore.
Another thing that can detract from the power of reminders on your phone is having too many notifications turned on on your phone. I’d encourage you to turn all but the most crucial notifications off. Facebook, Instagram, gaming apps – even some basic utility apps want to send your constant reminders, and you don’t need all that added noise in your life.
I only allow notifications for phone calls, text messages, reminders, and alarms. The rest can all wait until later when I have time to intentionally open up my email or social media to check on likes, comments, and messages.
Speaking of alarms, they can also be used strategically to help you get important tasks done. The nice thing (or the annoying thing – but annoying in a good way!) about an alarm is that it Will. Not. Stop. Buzzing. Until you hit the stop button.
This is ideal to use for things that absolutely must happen at an exact time. I have a daily alarm set for picking up my daughter from school. You might think I could just remember what time to pick her up, but it’s easy to get lost in my work, and she also has early dismissal one day a week which I could totally see myself overlooking, so every day when it’s time to pick her up, my phone starts buzzing. Having an alarm set that won’t turn off until I give it attention is a great way to make sure time sensitive tasks get done at the proper time.
I hope you found these tips helpful! If you want even more inspiration on how to get the best things done, click below to check out our recent video on The Ultimate Guide to Getting the Best Things Done.
Organization that actually sticks for busy, happy lives.