Is your to-do list so long it’s running off the table and down the hall? Having a to-do list and a schedule for tasks can be helpful, so long as you’re doing the work.

Often, we let our to-do list pile up as we procrastinate on certain things. Usually, it’s the toughest, big tasks that get passed over as we take care of the smaller easier things first.

The problem is that when it comes to working, those significant and sometimes mentally challenging can have a considerable effect on your business and lead you to make substantial progress. While being your own boss means you have individual freedoms and flexibility, it also means that you have to buckle down and motivate yourself to finish big tasks.

This can seem overwhelming at first, so consider using these tips to help you get started.

Set a Deadline

Deadlines can be extremely useful when trying to motivate yourself to finish big tasks. If you thrive on deadlines, you’ll feel motivated to get your assignment or project completed by the assigned time. It’s no longer good enough to have tasks on your list.

You need to fill in your calendar with projects and responsibilities by assigning a deadline. Even if you don’t thrive on deadlines, setting one will put some pressure on you to get it done.

Also, be sure to prioritize the deadlines you give yourself as a commitment. Too often, we don’t value the commitments we make to ourselves. Promising to do something for your business is just as important as a commitment that you make to someone else.

View your deadline as firm and just get started even if you don’t have much motivation. It will come.

Break It Up

If a task or project seems too big or overwhelming, break it up so you can complete it over time. This is what I do with very time-consuming projects. For months, I had told myself I was going to work on a project, but I just never got around to it.

I realized I was unintentionally dodging the work because it knew it would be time-consuming and I didn’t think I had the time. After deciding to break the task up, I was able to get it completed in a single weekend.

Start by determining how long it will take you to do the task. Then, break it up into chunks and fill in your calendar. For example, if you think something will take you five hours, break it up into three-time chunks on three separate days and get it done.

Who knows, you may even be able to complete the task quicker than anticipated.

Choose a Reward

Adults can still thrive with a rewards system. You probably had one at your last job, and you may even have one in your business today. In one of my previous jobs, we could earn bonuses if we accomplished certain things.

To motivate yourself to finish big tasks, choose a reward that you’ll obtain once you finish. It always doesn’t have to be a monetary reward.

You can reward yourself by taking an afternoon or morning off. Or, you can treat yourself to a nice meal or catch up with an old friend. When I was setting weight-loss goals for myself, I decided to reward myself with a professional massage when I hit a particular milestone.

Rewards give us something to look forward to once we put in the effort and hard work.

Change Up Your Environment

Sometimes, switching up where and how you can be exciting and motivating. If you usually are working from a desk at home, head to a coffee shop for a few hours, or an outdoor patio.

Surround yourself with other people who are working hard and are motivated. Motivation will rub off on you. I started going to a coworking space, and even though I don’t know most of the people in the office yet, the change of scenery helps me eliminate distractions and stay motivated.

Plus, since I work from home most of the time, I feel I do get too comfortable with my work setting and procrastinate on specific tasks. Working outside of the house for even a few days can help you motivate yourself to finish a big job and move on to the next thing.

Just Get Started

This is one of the simplest ways to jumpstart your motivation. Sometimes, we let our thoughts and mindset psyche use out of working on a project. Maybe we think it’s too hard, too boring, or will take too long.

In reality, those are just thoughts, and you never know until you get started and try. Commit to starting a task and working on it for at least 20-30 minutes. Stay focused during this time and ignore all distractions.

When time is up, you’ll likely have more focus on the project and be willing to continue working on it. Even if you aren’t, you’ll have made progress during the 20-30 minute time streak.

The thing is, once you get started, it’s not too hard to keep going and finish up. You’ll often transition to a state of intense focus, and even if it’s not for long, you’ll get closer to finishing the big project nonetheless. Also, if getting started means doing 10-15 minutes of research and outlining, it’s better than nothing and will push you forward in the right direction.

What do you do to motivate yourself to finish big tasks?