Dangling Carrots

In school, teachers are encouraged to use reward systems for inattentive students. We are told to tell them, for instance, if they do fifteen out of forty-five math problems they get to spend five minutes on the classroom computer. The idea is to get them to do what they don’t want to do in order to get to do what they would much more prefer to do. This is motivation. This works. Supposedly.

Today I had a lot on my plate. I had lesson plans to write for the coming week. I have an article to compile from the newsfeeds and I have to edit my short story chapter submission for my critique group.

“Get the lesson plans out of the way now and then you can have the whole rest of the day to write,” my husband encouraged.

I didn’t want to do my lesson planning. I wanted to write. I pouted.

“Do the unpleasant task first then you get to do the fun stuff,” he reminded me.

“Fine.” I stomped to the dining table and opened my laptop. The carrot was there, WRITING, dangling just out of reach taunting me from behind this nearly insurmountable wall of required work to be done. This is motivation. This will work, right?

Uh-huh. Have I told you I have ADD?

First I had to check email, that’s always important. Checking email led me to reading blog posts of people I follow.


Someone just entered the online writing chat room that stays open when I’m online. I clicked the tab to see who it was. It would be rude not to at least say hello. An hour later I was reminded it’s lunchtime.

I’ve still not opened my lesson plan book.

Who can work on a full stomach? Back to the blogosphere I went while lunch digested. I found a seminar on writing I wanted to sign up for, but then realized there were no specific directions of how to join the class, so I went back into the chat room to get answers.

An hour later, the monster calls, “Caffeine. Must. Have. Caffeine.”

You can’t drink a cup of coffee until it’s cooled sufficiently. Taste buds don’t take kindly to being burnt. Nothing tastes right for a week afterward. Might as well do something while you wait, right? So I checked email again. It had been a whole four hours since I last checked it, there could be something new. Nope, no new email so I went back to reading blogs while I drank my coffee. After all, I can’t write with my coffee cup in my hand. Made perfect sense to be on the computer instead.

Yes, I was stalling.

I finally stopped reading the last blog posting and got my lesson plans started around four o’clock this afternoon. It only took me an hour and half to get them done. I knew it wouldn’t take long; I just didn’t want to do them.

Now it’s time to cook dinner and I haven’t written one word on the news article I had to compile or even opened my short story to begin editing. The only thing I can cross off my to-do list for today is lesson plans.

My dangled carrot didn’t seem to work. I have not learned discipline. Sigh.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sirak98
    Jan 14, 2013 @ 00:02:11

    Balance. At my house it is balance. I take four college classes a semester and they only way it all gets done is to work at balancing things. I use an alarm on my phone to keep my time from going out of whack. I get up and do laundry or work on the stuff in the house before settling back in front of the computer. I found I can read blogs on the phone app- so I can do it when I am waiting. I could spend all day reading- but the house a wreck.


    • makergoddess
      Jan 14, 2013 @ 05:47:39

      Thanks for the tip! Yes, balance is key, and normally I have it. I love the timer app on my phone. My favorite actor yells “Stop it!” when the timer goes off. 🙂

      Yesterday was just one of those days where my ADD took over. “Some days are like that, even in Australia,” Alexander’s mother said. LOL


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