Mindset Hack: Reframing tasks as opportunities
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The Secret

When it comes to the things you have to do for the day, don’t force yourself out of bed thinking you “have” to do these things. While some of it can be chores that you don’t want to do, it might also give you something great.

So, where’s the hack?

Oh alright, here you go:

Change your “have to” to “get to”

By changing your perspective on doing your tasks as just “chores”, you reframe it to take it as an opportunity to learn/experience/do something.

Don’t “have to” yourself. Life is short, life should be experienced to its fullest. Don’t fill your calendar with just obligations, fill it with opportunities.

Every day is a chance.

By getting yourself out of the “obligation/responsibility” space, you’ll be able to see what these tasks can give you for today.


  • I “have” to work on this feature → I get to learn how to develop this feature
  • I “have” to write an article → I get to write an article and research about the things I’m interested about
  • I “have” to get up → I get to start my day and have a good breakfast
  • I “have” to work out → I get to stretch my body or even try out a different machine

You can also do a bit of stretch conversion

  • I “have” to get a license → I get to drive to new places by myself by getting a license

Heck, you can even do seemingly unrelated things

  • I “have” to register my car → I get to visit a nice cafe on my way to registering a car

It’s about reframing your things as something you can benefit from. By doing this, you lessen the time you look at tasks as obligations and invest more in living your day.

Curiosity as a free motivation

While I’m not a fan of motivation, we have days when we are just so off of everything. In these cases, you can use your curiosity as a free driver of motivation. For example:

  • “I have to understand how x works” →
    • I get to learn how x works by understanding first the y
      • How does z work?
      • Can I use z for something else?
      • How did they come up with z?
  • I have to learn the ReactJS framework
    • I get to learn how ReactJS works
      • Why was ReactJS created?
      • What’s the problem it is solving?
      • Is it applicable for the x use case?
      • How does it work behind the scenes?

Leonardo Da Vinci takes this one step above. Instead of creating a “to-do list”, he creates “things to learn for today”. He has a list of things he wants to try out and experiment on, and people to ask about things he’s curious about.

Here’s the translated version of his journal:


As you can see, it can spiral downward when you start to ask the things you’re just curious about. When you start to see the height of the things you’re about to do, it might demotivate you instead. In these cases, you must understand that you can only do so much in a day. So:

  • Prioritize the things that are prerequisites to a lesson/task e.g. if you want to learn to draw a face, you must first learn to draw simple shapes. Bubble these tasks to the first of your list and make them your priority.
  • Prioritize the things that are huge in value. Now, this can be very different for everyone and it depends on how you factor “value” but I can give some examples:
    1. Eliminating things everyone is frustrated about. This can include automation, new software, or even new processes. If it saves everyone’s time or energy, it can be valuable.
    2. A feature that everyone/most was requesting.
    3. A task you feel passionate about.
  • Break down the task until it is easy enough for you. What’s important is that you get started, nothing is too small if it gives you the head start you need!

Coping with Negative Feelings

Varies from person to person naturally but the key thing is to not beat yourself up so much and if it is hard to even start at the smallest thing, take the day off and give yourself a day dedicated to resting. Think about the task tomorrow, for now, cozy up and rest but here are some of the methods that helped me if ever you need them:

  • Be kind to yourself, some people get a good amount of force by talking to themselves like a commando but some of us don’t work like that. It is also possible that you haven’t even discovered the healthy way to talk to yourself but a lot of times, being kind to our words for ourselves brings a healthier outcome. A good piece of advice I got is to talk to yourself like how you talk to your precious friend. Being kind and compassionate and keeping a good amount of honesty to yourself is a good way to bring forth healthier self-reflections.
  • Try it out for at least 30 minutes, this is a different approach from above. If you feel like you don’t want to do something because maybe you’re tired or feeling low on energy, try it out for half an hour, full focus, and if you still don’t feel good, then stop it and rest. Usually, that’s a signal for you to end the day!
  • Reframing, this one might be a stretch of a mental twist but thinking “How is this thing the best thing that happened to me right now?” often helps to separate the feelings from the thing you are stressing about, and in doing so, usually opens a clearer path on what can you do but also to not force you to live with big mental stress.

Reframing things are just a way to give a bit of light to your every living day and a way to make the most of the time and energy you put to the things you do. The key thing is to not “have to” yourself!