Have you ever felt more motivated to do something after talking about your commitment to people? Social media is usually flooded with such kind of posts and stories where people talk about their present or future commitments. “I am gonna workout for a month in a Gym”, “I am gonna do the Keto Diet for a fortnight”, “ I am not gonna use social media for a week now”… etc etc.
The question is: Does this commitment trick work?
To save you some time: Hell, yes. Productophiles (A term I coined for Productivity-lovers) like to call it, the ‘Power of Accountability’. And it works like magic.
Accountability is the glue that ties commitments to the result -Bob Proctor
Accountability is something everyone should give a thought to if the old-school motivation and willpower does not work for you. By simply commiting to tasks by writing them down somewhere or telling someone about it openly, you grow more accountable to the tasks. The task suddenly seems less personal and more like a duty to someone. Your mind has a weird wiring that makes you think again before letting down someone and hence you are more prone to getting the task done quickly.
There are mainly three ways of doing this proactively:
- Social Media Commitments: Yes! Pretend to be some sort of celebrity and show off your commitments. It could be something as small as completing a school/university project within a week or working out at the gym for a month. Mention your goals clearly. If you are working out, what weight/muscles you want to gain/lose, if its a school project, what or how the project is supposed to look or work like.
- Open commitments to Friends/Family: If you are not a social media guy, no worries. You can talk about your commitments to your friends or family memebers and hold yourself accountable. Also you are more prone to be adviced and critized by friends/family members in case you don’t hold yourself up to it than strangers on social media sometimes.
- Writing it down yourself: If you are not ok with talking about your commitments to anyone other than yourself, that’s okay too. You can put it down on paper or use some app on your smartphone. But make sure, you do put it down somewhere or else you won’t feel any more accountable than before. This is perhaps one of the best of the 3 methods as the more you get down something on paper, the clearer your mind becomes about the task and you will have more attention span to devote to other things. There is a famous quote by someone (who I can’t recall at the moment) which says that your brain is not meant to store information but actually think of new ideas.
Author Cal Newport and the authors of the book “4 Disciplines of Execution” have something to add on this topic. Here is an excerpt from “Deep Work” that talks about one of the four disciplines of execution:
The 4DX authors elaborate that the final step to help maintain a focus on lead measures is to put in place “a rhythm of regular and frequent meetings of any team that owns a wildly important goal.” During these meetings, the team members must confront their scoreboard, commit to specific actions to help improve the score before the next meeting, and describe what happened with the commitments they made at the last meeting. They note that this review can be condensed to only a few minutes, but it must be regular for its effect to be felt. The authors argue that it’s this discipline where “execution really happens.
It all boils down to commitment and how actionable your decisions sound in front of your team members/co-workers/friends etc. Your team-members or co-workers could also lead you on to better ideas that you might not have come across.
So next time you find yourself less motivated to do something on your To-Do list, you know who to find accountable for it and how so.
Post Takeaway: By talking about your commitments openly you are more prone to complete a task effectively and quickly.