do list ready

You’re probably wondering what a subject such as this is doing on a website about spiritual growth.

Wonder not!

Here at OhMyGod Life, we’re all about tools for Radically Joyful Living.

These tools include meditation, affirmations, and gratitude.

These tools also include ways to be more effective in every area of your life.

In other words, how to Get Shit Done Complete All Tasks In An Efficient And Orderly Manner.

After all, what’s more spiritual than having a life that works?!

blog.guy with great life checks

Recently, I hit upon an amazing effective way to Get Shit Done Complete All Tasks In An Efficient And Orderly Manner, and I wanted to share it with you.

I call it the Tom Sawyer Technique, aka TST.

(It sounds a little like an explosive, right? And there’s nothing more effective for Getting Shit Done Completing-All-Tasks-In-An-Efficient-And-Orderly-Manner than something with explosive capabilities. Just sayin.’)

In case you haven’t heard of Tom Sawyer’s little trick, it involves manual labor and the manipulation of friends. Good times!

Here’s what went down:

Tom was a naughty little bugger, and one day his aunt sent him to paint a fence as punishment for his misdeeds.

Tom, in his naughty buggerishness, didn’t really want to spend his day painting a fence. So here’s what he did.

He pretended to love painting the fence.


He pretended that painting the fence was an incredibly prestigious task reserved for the Chosen Few.

Tom’s feigned enthusiasm was so infectious, before long the other boys were paying him for the chance to paint the fence themselves.

In the end, the fence got painted by everyone but Tom, and he got paid for it.

Tom’s take-away from this charade was that the best way to make something desirable – even something that’s not inherently desirable in the first place – was to make it difficult to attain.

A variation of this take-away inspired my technique.

Like Tom, I have things I don’t particularly want to do.

These things tend to accumulate dust on the edges of my To Do lists. They get grungy and sticky from neglect, which only makes them even less desirable.

dusty and sticky for blog

But I was able to use Tom’s story to catapult these items to the top of my Done list.

Here’s how I did it:

I realized that the only way I was going to complete these items was to trick myself into doing them.

I had a figure out a way to make the Dusty Sticky Tasks desirable.

In my case, the only way I was going to accomplish these tasks was if I had some sort of momentum and accountability.

In other words, I needed someone else there. 

Melissa and I have a few days a week that are scheduled office days. I never thought to bring the Dusty Sticky Tasks there, as they were things I could theoretically do by myself.

But that wasn’t happening.

I finally realized that just having Melissa in the room with me – and making the verbal pledge to tackle the Dusty Sticky Tasks – was all I needed to finally tackle them.

Some of these tasks have been on my To Do list for ages. Years.

Busting out the Tom Sawyer Technique enabled me to knock out all kinds of things.

to do list with strikethroughs and happy

In my case, I’m both Tom Sawyer and the kids he tricks.

The Tom part of me brings the Dusty Sticky Tasks into a new environment – in my case, an environment with Melissa in it.

Then the Other Kids part of me enthusiastically tackles the long-neglected task with the “trick” of having someone else there.

Everyone has their own method of tricking themselves.

Accountability and the presence of someone else are particularly effective tools for many of us. But everyone is different.

Maybe you’ve been trying to get something done with others that really needs to be done alone. Or maybe committing to someone else that you’ll do something – whether they’re physically present or not – is enough to get you to do it. (A technique called Bookending has you call someone else both before and after tackling challenging tasks.)

However it works for you, I highly recommend applying a little TST to the Dusty Sticky Tasks in your life.

The energy that’s freed up after such tasks are completed is amazing.

Indeed, some might call it . . .


blog.tst busting out

How do you use the TST – or a version thereof – in your life? Share your comments below!


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