Ideas: The Power of External Commitments

Ideas: The Power of External Commitments

Today I cleaned up the back patio at my house. It's early June. Late spring, almost summer. I pulled some weeds that were coming up through the mulch and stone. I cleaned up some leaves from last fall. Today I also cleaned out my pantry, fridge, and freezer, getting rid of expired ingredients and food.

I had been meaning to do those chores for a while. But I didn't do them until today. Which is ok, because it wasn't the last responsible moment yet. But I'm going on a long trip and needed to take care of those things so they won't get out of hand while I'm away. So today was the last responsible moment before there might be more drastic consequences. Thinking about it another way, my commitment to take a trip was a forcing function to cause the last responsible moment to occur for these chores. And while that's not why I'm going on a trip, it's a commitment that's helping me to get some chores are done that needed doing.

And not only did I make a commitment to myself, but I made a commitment to other people. I've made reservations, I've paid money. I'm committed to doing those things. I'm committed externally to those things. I'm accountable to other people and businesses. It would be a lot of work for me to cancel my trip. So I'm comitted and I appreciate that. Making external commitments are a helpful form of accountability for me. And I got some chores done too.  

-Adam