Ever see that hilarious beer commercial with the office swear jar? Everyone has to put in a dollar every time they drop a profanity bomb. What will they do with the money? Buy beer, of course. Great motivation, and an even better reward. Soon the whole office is eff-ing off.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN90wtk01WU
It is a superb example for a little jar I’m starting this year as part of my goals and resolutions. The Procrastination Jar. Let’s face it. I can come up with a hundred excuses, some of which are listed in the archives, to not sit down and write. The kids, my husband, the season premier, the list goes on and on. Which got me thinking. How much of my writing time gets sucked into this vacuum?
The jar was born. Here’s how to make your own and make it work:
- Find your nearest dollar store and buy the least attractive, most gaudy receptacle you can find. The more outrageous and hideous, the better. Must be large enough to store a good amount of stuffed paper.
- Place the receptacle in a prominent area in your home where other members of the household and all guests may see it. WARNING: Do not let this step prevent the crucial first step!
- Make a widely spaced list of all of your very favorite things and activities. Here are some of mine: Grey’s Anatomy, The Closer, Entourage, Julia Quinn novel, hour on the phone with my sister, chocolate, coffee.
- Shred or cut list of items into pieces of paper. These are your rewards. NOTE: These may also be ways to procrastinate.
- Set a doable daily goal. This can be a to do list, a word count, both. IMPORTANT: Start small. We are not out to flog ourselves lives here.
- Separate you items. Put half in the jar/receptacle, half out.
- Every day you meet a goal, you get a goodie out of the jar. Every day you don’t, a new favorite item listed on a piece of paper gets stuffed in.
- As you progress, you increase your daily goals and your rewards, keeping in mind that we all have limits.
This works on the honor system but how honorable can we really be when we’re the ones putting off our own dreams here, right? Which is why prominently displaying the jar is ideal. The more people that know, the more likely we are to keep honest until the Pavlov dog reward system of getting back our favorite things and keeping them works.
I dare you to try it!