The Buddy System
April 30, 2007
Alcoholics Anonymous uses a “buddy” system to help alcoholics stop drinking. I think the same idea would work for procrastinators. Imagine a web site where you enter some short-term, realistic goals. Then you add the names of one or more buddies who will monitor your success. You check off a goal when you’ve finished, then you must show your buddy you’ve finished the task. The goal is complete when your buddy agrees and checks off the goal, too. If you’re late on some goals, the system sends an email to your buddy to nag you to finish. The idea is that it’s too easy to lie to yourself or make excuses for not finishing. But it’s harder to lie or make excuses with your friends. Also, there’s some small measure of shame in not finishing a task when your friends are watching. Hopefully, social pressure will help procrastinators finish their goals. I’ll mull this over for another month and, if it still seems like a good idea, try to build a little web site for it. But I’ll need a buddy to nag me to build the site. Could be a Catch-22.