Force Your Hand

Is procrastination a problem? Are you avoiding something you really need to do? This happens to all of us, but perhaps a real-life example will help us get this thing done!

In the summer of 1830, Victor Hugo was facing a nearly impossible deadline. A year earlier he had promised his publisher a new book, but he had squandered that time by doing anything but writing. Frustrated, the publisher gave him 6 months to finish the book – until February 1831.

Hugo concocted a plan to beat his procrastination. He asked his assistant to lock all of his clothes away in a large chest, leaving him nothing to wear but a large shawl. Without any suitable clothing to go outdoors, he remained in his study and wrote furiously. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was completed by its February 1831 deadline.

This is called “a commitment device” and it is a choice you make in the present that controls your actions in the future. This device is a way to automate your behavior beforehand rather than relying on willpower in the moment. Can you think of ways you can use this device to force your own hand? Clearly, it’s incredibly effective!

With Gratitude,
Beth

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