Clear lingering tasks by using choices

If you are like me, you have a handful of tasks moldering on your To Do list. These are tasks you need/want to do ... just not enough to actually DO them. Likely because they seem too challenging for the amount of time/energy/interest you have at the moment.

Anyway, I've managed to get some of these albatrosses done lately by putting a pair of them on my list on days that are otherwise fairly light on To Do tasks with the understanding being that I only have to do ONE of them to consider myself successful.

For example, I have today off. On my list are A) dig dandelions out of the yard for an hour or B) totally clean out the hall closet. Since it has turned out to be a nice day, I think the dandelions are doomed.

The trick of it is, I think, that having a choice keeps you from kicking into that "I don't want to, you can't make me, not going to do it" 5-year-old emotional reaction. (Yes, it's stupid to react that way to a task you are imposing on yourself, but still....)

Of course, the other task doesn't go away. It'll get paired with another Albatross on a future To Do list. Over and over, if need be. I figure eventually I will be left with only the one MOST LOATHED task -- and then I'll see if I can get someone else to do it, perhaps by doing THEIR least favored task, perhaps by hiring it out.

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The other common suggestion is to always do the worst first. Get it over with and out of the way. That way you can't drag out your other tasks and suddenly "not have time for" the ugly one. The pick-me-up from accomplishing the albatross can also help motivate you to get more done that day.

Think about it

If you eat a live frog in the morning, nothing worse will happen to either of you for the rest of the day

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

This only works if you have the willpower to do it.

Sometimes my willpower is swamped by my inner two year old shouting "NO!"

i totally agree

My partner is moving in with me, we have a 5 month old puppy and our to-do lists are out of control. For some reason, I can't see to muster the "get-up-and-do" it powers I used to be able to summon. :/

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I use this


I use this technique with my 3-year old twins. When they balk at doing something I want them to do, I give them *two* unpalatable choices (get out of bed and pick out your clothes or I will pick them and dress you lying down like a baby). Usually they will select the item I want them to choose and begin motion. Sometimes I have to give them a third choice (dire consequences like a spanking) before the motion starts.


If only the to-do list would strong-arm me the way I do the kids. :)