Turn a have-to into a get-to

About two years ago, a good friend of mine (Mark Schulman) shared a simple philosophy that changed my life: Turn your have-to-do activities into get-to-do activities.

This is especially valuable on a Monday, when you feel like you have to do so many things – and you feel burned out or overwhelmed.

Here’s the idea: reframe your tasks into opportunities. Seth Godin also advocates this mental approach to daily ‘chores’. He once quipped that he didn’t have to blog everyday, he gets to blog everyday. By reframing, you can find more joy in your day to day responsibilities.
If you think about it, most of our activities are really opportunities that we’ve lost our gratitude for. We think of work as something we ‘have to’ go do, but when we first got the job, we thanked our lucky stars that we ‘got to’ have this career opportunity.

Is there a have-to on your list that deserves a reclassification into get-to? Pick out three big tasks you ‘have to’ do this week and pretend that you’ve been fired from them. Imagine you no longer get to manage your team at work. You no longer get to drive your son to baseball games and sit in the bleachers cheering for his team. You no longer get to attend creative meetings to hash out details on the new product. Think about it. Doesn’t that make you feel a little silly for complaining about these types of ‘duties’?

Tomorrow I get to blog, do three hours of phone work promoting the new book and then drive to Pasadena to meet with the web design firm working on my new site. I get to do these things and I’m blessed to have these opportunities. With that attitude I just may be productive, innovative and nice to be around. Try it yourself and you’ll see.