Tell me if this sounds familiar – you wake up, flip open your [ laptop | organizer | cell phone ] – and find dozens of unpleasant tasks staring you in the face:
- Complete Project “Motif” For Jack
- Follow up with Deb, Make Decision About [random scribbles]
- Organize paperwork (what does this even mean?)
Have you been there – waking up to a bunch of items on your todo list, and you don’ t know where to start? Imagine how much better you’d feel if you could get started on it right away, and knock off a couple of those tasks – instantly, guaranteed.
Immediately crossing some tasks off my todo list every morning is one strategy I use to kick start my day. If you’ve got a todo list that doesn’t seem to budge, it just might work for you too. I call it using “gimme” tasks.
What The Heck Is A Gimme Task?
In golf, players aim to hit the ball onto the green and then putt it into the hole. In casual play, when one player’s golf ball is close enough to the hole, he can elect to “gimme.” If the other players agree, the player just picks up the ball and adds one stroke to his score.
Basically, there’s no need to waste time lining up for a putt that a player will almost surely make.
A gimme task is along the same lines: it’s a task that I am guaranteed to complete. It’s something that I know I can do, and regularly accomplish on a daily basis – but I put it on my todo list anyway. My gimme tasks include:
- Brush Teeth
- Take Vitamins
- Practice Guitar
This way when I start my day, I can immediately check a couple (arguably productive) things off my todo list – and then using that momentum, work on the rest of my task list.
Hey, Suddenly My Todo List Doesn’t Look So Bad!
Part of it is a psychological trick too – if I wake up, and there are 40 items on my todo list that looks daunting. If I immediately knock 10 of them off because they’re gimmes, suddently 30 doesn’t look so bad (since I started out with 40).
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