Bi-Weekly Newsletter

March 20, 2017

Carrots and Sticks and Sticks and Sticks

If you haven't read the book, Carrots and Sticks, by Ian Ayres, you've missed out on some great tips about productivity and commitments.

The basic idea is that all people are motivated by two types of incentives, rewards that reinforce positive behavior (carrots) and punishments that are designed to prevent negative behavior (sticks). Different people react differently to these incentives, which makes it important for everyone to know the best method of forcing themselves to stop procrastinating and get something done. 

For some, it's mostly carrots. For some, it's mostly sticks.

To me, it's definitely sticks.

I already shared my experience with pledging $100 that I'd pay to people that I was scheduled to meet with if I was late, even by a minute. This, by the way, was a big success for me—as it virtually eliminated my tardiness.

This time, I want to share another routine that is working magic for me.

I belong to a mastermind, and as part of that mastermind, every week I have an accountability call with 3—4 accountability buddies. We share what we've accomplished in the week behind us and reveal our plans for the upcoming week.

Here's what I do to make the best out of my weeks.

I typically jot down 6 to 10 major tasks that I break into digestable subtasks that I hope to accomplish by the end of the week. Then, I highlight 3 most important subtasks that, if completed, would have the most value for me and my business.

Here's the kicker. During the call, I pledge that I will pay $500 to one of the buddies for each of these highlighted subtasks if I don't complete it in the next 7 days.

The theory is, if the task is really not that important, it shouldn't be highlighted. And if it is important, then I should reward myself for working on it rather than spending my time on less-productive activities.

I started doing this since February.

Guess what. I'm writing this issue of the newsletter on the last day of Q1, which happens to be 53% better than any quarter Trademark Factory® has ever had. I don't think it's a coincidence.

P.S. In case you're wondering, a couple of times, I came close to paying out the $500. But was able to struggle through it and actually complete the tasks, even if a few minutes prior to the call. I know for sure that if I didn't pledge the money, I would never have completed those tasks in time. 

P.P.S. To me, it's more about humiliation than about losing money, but hey, money makes it so much more measurable!