Beating Procrastination, A Piece of Cake!

The other day, my kids, my Lady, and I were sitting at the family table having supper. And for some reason, whereas I was delighting in this delicious meal, my kids weren’t feeling it. Bringing their forks to their mouths was like lifting a 25 pounds kettlebell. They were doing all sorts of things but eating. More than once, I had to bring their focus back to the “task” at hand: “Eat guys… Eat!”

When I was done eating, I got up to prepare juice for everyone. Before I returning to the table, I pulled dessert from the fridge: a fudge cake of some sort that my wife had baked while the older kids were at school. When I sat at the table with my piece of cake, a wave of energy went through the table. It was palpable. These kids of mine, who were playing with their food and procrastinating on the task at hand (eating), had an epiphany.

Eyes wide open, they contemplated this piece of delectable. As a choir in unison, they said, “Wow! Mommy made cake! Yeah!” You can imagine what came next: they blurted out, “I want cake! I want cake! I want cake!” You can imagine what I said: “You must finish your meal first.”

Swoosh! In less than three minutes plates were clean, clean, clean, vegetable and all. Nothing left on the plate. Nothing.

That’s the power of a great incentive: the carrot that gets the donkey to move, so to speak.

The right incentive can set anyone into motion, doing things that they would otherwise procrastinate on. Sometimes, to beat procrastination, you must find a “piece of cake” to incentivize you to get in motion: you use what you love to get you to do what you must.

When it comes to incentives, you must find what works for you. Your incentives are personal; things that drive you may have little impact on others and even repel them.

Your incentive doesn’t have to be as shallow as a piece of cake. I love consuming educational and inspirational YouTube clips and podcasts. In the past, I have used both as an incentive to get me in motion: “Once I’m done XYZ, I’ll check this YouTube clip…”

The other side of the coin: the “stick” is also a powerful incentive. You can’t certainly threaten the donkey to get it to move. You can certainly flash before your eyes the harsh consequences of not taking action. This can work wonders as well.

Threatening my kids to finish their supper would have worked. But somehow, I don’t think they would have cleaned their plates as fast and that the experience would have been as pleasurable for them—and for me.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.