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Playing Tricks: How To Prank Yourself To Be More Productive

how to trick yourself into being more productive

When it comes to getting things done, each of us is ultimately in charge of our own destiny. We can choose to get things done in a timely fashion or we can drag things out and make certain tasks even more dreadful.

For some people it means “eating their frog for breakfast” and for others, it’s about knocking out the easy-to-accomplish tasks first. 

Sometimes you need to “trick” yourself into getting things done by creating an environment that forces you into action. 

Tactical Tips To Motivate Yourself Today

But how can you effectively trick your brain into focusing and finally getting through your long to-do list?

Turn Your Due Dates Into “DO” Dates

We’re all familiar with the good old deadline. We set it and often, we forget it. Why is it that we have such a hard time getting started?

Often it’s a long lead time. If it feels like you have what seems like forever to complete a task or project, you're more likely to move it down the to-do list in lieu of other more “urgent” things. 

This is when productivity hacks like the Eisenhower Matrix may come in handy to help determine which things on your list matter the most at this moment and how to prioritize them.

To help yourself achieve your goals in a timely manner, why not trick yourself by setting an earlier-than-necessary deadline to keep yourself on track?

In Trello it’s up to you to decide when you want to be reminded of an upcoming due date, you can choose anywhere from two days to when the task is actually due. So next time you're mapping out your projects and tasks, set that "do" date well before it's actually due. 

Get An “Accountabilibuddy” And Check-In Regularly

An accountabilibuddy (also know as an accountability buddy) is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a relationship designed to help keep the participants accountable in a friendly way.

It could be one person or a group of people that you meet with regularly to check-in on progress towards your outlined goals. 

The most important thing in this relationship is transparency and trust since participants must be willing to be open and vulnerable in service of meeting their goals. Some might find it helpful to build out a Trello board for these check-ins. Using a format like the classic one-on-one can be helpful because it’s set up for consistent and continuous communication and feedback.

Meet With Yourself

If you scheduled a meeting with your boss, you wouldn’t skip it, would you? So why skip a meeting with yourself?

It’s imperative to set aside time for yourself to accomplish the things you need to move forward. 

Can I Schedule An Appointment GIF

You can do this by blocking off time in your schedule and on your calendar so others can see that you are setting aside “maker days” for deep work. Okay, so maybe you can’t set aside an entire day, but most people can make an hour or two a few times a week to commit to themselves. Now send that calendar invite and schedule that "me" time in this week! 

Reward Yourself To Move Forward

As children we are often told that if we do something well we will get a reward. That used to mean a few extra minutes of television or a sticker—something small but special. As we get older we stop doing this, but why?

Rewards are a proven method for increased productivity and motivation, according to Gretchen Rubin, author of best-selling book, Better Than Before:  

“When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command—and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.”

Think about some ways you can reward yourself for a job well done. It could be a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, or a special coffee order during your afternoon break. However small, setting up these small rewards can help keep you moving towards the finish line. 

Person With Trophy GIF

Gamification is also a good way to implement this reward methodology. Setting small milestones helps you reach your goals, and when you reach them a celebration of any sort helps reinforce that you’ve done good work—ultimately helping you build that habit for the future. A lot of gamification is about building more willpower so that you have the drive and self-control to make things happen by habit over time. 

Trello Tips To Trick Yourself Into Task Completion

There are tools that can help you achieve your goals and here are a few of my favorite features in Trello for getting you started. 

Hire A Butler To Automate Your Tasks

Butler is Trello’s built-in automation bot to help you with every single one of your boards. Ship off your tedious and repetitive tasks to make space in your brain for the things that matter.

Butler is here to help and automations are easily created using natural language, no coding required. From setting due dates to tagging team members and even moving cards for you, if you can dream it, Butler can likely do it! 

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Repeat After Me

Trello’s Card Repeater Power-Up is there to help you remember to do things at a specific cadence. Turn it on, set it up, and let the magic happen. From monthly reminders for reporting, to weekly reminders for one-on-one meetings, the possibilities with Card Repeater are truly endless. 

Template Your Way To Success

Save yourself time and give yourself a head start by starting out with Trello board and card templates. Once you’ve refined and optimized a process, you shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel each time you need to repeat it.

A Trello board template is basically a master copy for creating boards based on the same structure. Ideal for things like when a new hire starts on your team, or one-on-one team meetings. If you’re looking for examples of great templates look no further—we put together a community-inspired Trello template gallery where you can peruse and copy any templates you like to use right away.

Trello card templates are another great way to standardize processes. Adding any necessary information, including things like Custom Fields to be filled out allows for a seamlessly repeatable workflow that is clear and consistent. 

All In Good Time

Sometimes it takes a visual cue to remind us that action needs to be taken. That’s where the Trello Card Aging Power-Up comes in. Get an idea at a glance of which tasks need your attention immediately and which ones can be dealt with later. 

It's Been 84 Years - Titanic GIF

You can choose from two options for how your cards look as they age, “Regular” and “Pirate”. In regular mode, cards become more transparent over time and “fade out” the longer they remain untouched. In pirate mode, cards will tear, yellow, and crack like an old pirate map. When you can see that a task has slipped there’s no denying it’s time to take action. ✅🏴‍☠️

Find A Fool-Proof Way To Focus

At the end of the day, you're doing your doing your best to focus and stay productive. Different methods work well for different types of people and there is no “right” way to get things done.

As the old saying goes “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So why not try a new method for “tricking” yourself into productivity? The results may surprise you ✨


Good or bad, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello) or write in to support@trello.com 

Next: 8 Blips, Tricks, And Stellar Trello Tips To Try This Week