Stop Downloading Productivity Apps That Don’t Work and Tackle the Root Causes of Procrastination

3 Effective Strategies To Improve the Aesthetics of Have-To-Do Work

Kaki Okumura
8 min readAug 12, 2019


What are aesthetics of Have-To-Do tasks? To get a full explanation, read my article here.

But here’s a short recap:

MDA Framework for Video Game Design

The MDA framework was developed by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek, as a way to define a clear way we can approach engaging video game design.

MDA stands for Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics. Game designers will establish the rules and boundaries of a game (mechanics) to create a certain sort of playing environment (dynamics) which will invoke certain feelings, such as fun or thrill, in the player (aesthetics).

Using video game design to optimize for productivity and motivation, this framework can help us structure our thinking to prioritize, make decisions, and find meaning in challenging ourselves.

There are two kinds of tasks we procrastinate with: Have-To-Dos and Want-To-Dos


Have-To-Dos lack in aesthetics, which lead to poor dynamics — meaning, our feelings toward Have-To-Dos are comprised of negative thoughts like dread and anxiety, which cause us to stress and fear completing these tasks, so we procrastinate and instead choose unimportant activities that make us feel better. Examples include writing papers, studying for exams, completing projects for work, and submitting applications.

  • To combat Have-To-Dos, we need to change the aesthetics of these tasks, to stop associating feelings of dread with them.


Want-To-Dos lack in mechanics. We must set clear rules and systems that will keep our task boundaries narrow enough that we can construct a clear vision of what we want, what we need to do, and when to complete it, if we are to…



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱