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Gotta Do’s That Aren’t Wanna Do’s

May 17, 2021 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

“I gotta clean my room, but I don’t wanna. But if I don’t, Mama is going to throw all my stuff away”. Proceeds to clean room.

“I gotta go for a run, but I don’t wanna. Meh, no one will know but me.” Sits on couch and eats cookies and watches Netflix for 7 hours.

“I gotta read this book, I love the opportunity to learn but I’m so busy I don’t know how I will ever get it done!” Gets book read, learns something, and completes all other todo’s.

Without accountability and consequences, gotta do’s that aren’t wanna do’s turn into not gonna do’s. 

This is not an article about self-motivation. It’s not about how to find your oomph. Rather is it an article about extrinsic motivation. It is about why we as people do things that we don’t necessarily want to do. We are really good at justifying not doing something. “I forgot.” “I’m too busy”. “It’s not important to me”. But when that proverbial carrot is in sight, or we fear repercussions, that is when we act. 

So how do you get an employee, your child, a teammate, oh and especially your spouse, to do the job when they are not committed to the task at hand?

  1. Set your expectations. Let them know that it is not optional, this thing to do is not an ask. It is a requirement as part of the organization. 
  2. Explain the why. “This is important because…”, “Doing (or not doing) this will cause…”
  3. Provide motivation, especially when commitment from the other person is lacking. I don’t necessarily mean you have to be a cheerleader nor the warden, but make sure the benefits of compliance are known, as well as the consequences. 
  4. Stick to your guns. Allowing excuses devalues the task. If you say, “Do this, then.” or “Do this, or else.”, then  “then” or “or else” needs to happen. Warnings or promises without action will make you untrustworthy, lose clout and diminish the significance of the job requirement. 

We have all been there before, whether it be in your personal life or a work setting. You read the book because the boss says to. You dreaded it and thought you would suffer page by page, but in the end, if you learned even one thing, then your time was well spent. You wear the safety glasses even though they get foggy and make your nose hurt. But when you don’t get a sharp stick in the eye, you most definitely see life a little clearer. 

For my task makers: Be fair. Understand that what you are asking should provide a benefit, either to the individual or the organization. Be realistic. 

For my task excusers: Even though that human brain of yours may lead you to chase the carrot and avoid the stick, try to take action based on the culture of respect and the desire for personal and/or organizational growth.


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