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How To Eradicate Your Slothfulness

All of us, from time to time, get into a sort of funk. We lose our focus. We get “writer’s block.” We get lethargic. We lose our momentum.

I know an easy way to stay productive.

When you have a list of tasks that need to get accomplished, you undoubtedly write them down somewhere. Some put it on what’s called a “To-Do List” or something similar.

Whatever your method, once you write down your daily list of tasks to accomplish, consider assigning a reward to each item. The idea is that you allow yourself to splurge a little bit, based on the difficulty or importance of the task in question. An extremely simple task merits an extremely minor reward, perhaps you get to watch a TV show or do something similar that you find enjoyable. A more daunting task secures for you a more consequential reward, perhaps you allow yourself to go to a movie theater, or a restaurant, or some other amusing event such as a place that offers laser tag. Maybe even a trip to the beach. And a truly challenging task, something that requires Herculean focus, garners you an ever more substantive reward, perhaps a 90-minute massage at a spa somewhere, or a new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing.

But it takes true integrity for this system to work. Failure to achieve a given task means no reward. Only the actual achievement of a task results in the reward in question. So long as you write down the specific reward that is tied to a specific task, you have a clear line-of-site between accomplishment and consequence.

I used this method of self-rewards early in my career as a sales professional and as a result, I garnered a large number of rewards. This method kept me motivated. I didn’t always achieve every goal I set, and when I failed to do so, I walked away empty-handed. But I found those moments of failure few and far between. I actually accomplished a great deal in those years and secured quite a large number of rewards as a result.

This may seem gimmicky to you, and it probably is. But who cares? Try it out. See if it doesn’t motivate you to apply yourself with greater energy and urgency. And enjoy the rewards that you will undoubtedly earn.

I have more to say about this, but in writing this very column, I just earned myself some gourmet ice cream. Gotta run.

Ara Norwood is a multi-faceted and results-oriented professional. Spanning a multiplicity of disciplines including leadership, management, innovation, strategy, service, sales, business ethics, and entrepreneurship. Ara is also a historian, having special expertise on the era of the founding of our republic.
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