It’s 6:30 a.m. and I’m in the office, working on things I dislike doing but know must be done when Author Seth Godin’s daily blog pops up in my inbox.
It’s a good excuse to stop what I’m doing—transcribing a recorded interview from last week—and I open my email to see what Seth has to share today.
His headline is ridiculous… “If you need deadlines to do your best work…make some up.”
What? Make some up? I already have plenty of deadlines, and who needs more, I reason. But I read on, and what he shares begins to make sense.
To get motivated to do the things we dislike or put off because they’re difficult or just drudgery, Seth says to set up a method of reward or punishment--the proverbial carrot or stick.
“(Put) money in escrow that would go to a cause you abhor. Public congratulations. Whatever the method, the point is the same,” he says, adding, “you’ve been trained since childhood to respond to external deadlines.”
Well, that’s true. Growing up, I loved being outdoors on the farm and even doing chores. But practicing the piano daily? Not so much. First, Mom tried the stick strategy: “No practice, no TV.” I didn’t budge. But then she tried the carrot—50 cents for every 30 minutes of practice. I was quickly compliant.
Today, I find that a few dollars here and there are still an effective reward for doing those things I don't like doing. The money is earmarked for things I want but that aren’t accounted for in our family budget. My specific weakness: fishing gear, especially pricey trout flies and lures.
Maybe, like me, you put off some things on the farm you don’t want to do but know need to be done. If so, try setting some deadlines and figuring out a small reward that will get you off the starting block and into the race. By the way, if you’re wanting that next killer lure send me a note. I know some excellent places to buy great gear for your next fishing adventure.