Try this technique with your to-do list?

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Did you notice that the title of this message is phrased as a question? It’s done that way on purpose, to illustrate a “hack” for breathing new life into tasks that are languishing on your list. 

The idea is that by phrasing the task as a question, you will think about it in a different light. You’ll either see the value of doing the task or give yourself permission not to. 

Let’s say you have a task you know you should do but don’t really have to do and have been putting off. Something like calling a professional contact to get caught up.  

On your list: “Call Joe Johnson”. Re-written: “Call Joe Johnson?”

When you read the task as a statement, it leaves you cold. You see it as a chore and your attention wanders off to other items on your list. 

Phrased as a question, however, you may start thinking about an interesting aspect of the task or the value of completing it. 

You may think about a case Joe told you about and be curious about the outcome. You might remember something interesting about his personal life. You might recall your last conversation about football, the referral you gave him last year, or a marketing idea you and he discussed. 

In this light, you may be inspired to make that call. 

In the words of the author of the article, phrasing the task as a question can help “Rekindle the excitement that made you write it down.”

Sometimes, converting a task into a question is as simple as adding a question mark, he says. Sometimes, you need to rephrase the task. And no, this doesn’t work for everything and it is subject to losing its effectiveness if you use it too often. 

But worth a try. Or rather, worth a try?


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