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Why Attaching Emotions to Your Weekly To-Do List Could Be the Ultimate Productivity Booster

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

At this point, your weekly to-do list is kind of a masterpiece. Everything’s sorted and color-coded. Heck, you’ve even made the effort to time-block in order to ensure you have time to do things like exercise and sift through your email. There’s just one issue: At the end of the day, you still don’t feel like you’ve gotten anything done.

According to Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse and author of The New Rules of Work, there’s a reason for that: You’re not tuning in to the emotional impact of the work on your plate.

It’s a concept she picked up from entrepreneur Robyn Scott: Basically, in order to get sh*t done, give an emotional context for why you’re doing the things you’re doing. 

In other words, with each item on your to-do list, ask yourself a single question: How will knocking this out make me feel

“A lot of times, when people say they feel unproductive about their day, it’s usually because they’ve avoided something hard,” Cavoulacos explains. “The stuff you’re dreading hangs over your head, and even if you don’t realize it, it’s bringing down your daily energy.”

The upshot? Once it’s done, you almost always feel relieved. Which is why Scott recommends setting up what she calls her “Melodramatic To-Do List.”

Here, she categorizes items based on the feelings behind them. That tax return? File under “Massive Relief.” Inbox zero or making a difficult phone call? That goes under “Supremely Satisfying.” Printing photos of her kids is something she labels “Delight.”

Notice a theme? Every emotion she assigns has a positive bent, enabling her to visualize how she’ll feel on the other side.

You see? That closet reorg seems less daunting already.

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