I work better (at all?) when there’s an audience.
Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s something else, all I know is I’m a fool to keep fighting it.
I’ve always noticed how motivated I am by others. I’ll work very hard given the honor to solve someone else’s problem, but I have a history of neglecting my own. And not just problems! With other people around, I check in often, want to know that they’re doing ok.
Hungry? Wanna go to the beach? Yoga? Play a game?
But alone, I’ll allow myself to skip those things. Things I know I like, and are good for me.
It’s embarrassing to admit! Am I show off? A hypocrite? Desperate for approval?
I’m proud of the things I’ve said no to in my life. I don’t spend foolishly, I quit drinking after a decade+ of an every day habit… But the most recent, and most difficult, has been quitting the unhealthy relationships. Living alone now, and a 20+ min drive from civilization, I’ve learned a lot of valuable info about my motivations and habits when they aren’t being influenced by others.
Until I met a girl… and we started doing video chats. A lot. The strict routines started getting interrupted. I could feel myself slipping back to my old ways. My work, my mission, was again taking a back seat. Again I was “never too busy!” And so, again I had to make that hardest of decisions to protect my other goals, and end that relationship.
Back to work?
I regained my focus. The habit apps, the bedtimes, all the systems were back to Go. But something wasn’t right. For example, without my daily-skype-yoga-buddy, I noticed I was taking shortcuts. Together we held that pose for 5 breaths. Alone 2 seemed good enough. I had regained my focus in some areas, and lost it in others.
The weeks passed, and I couldn’t escape the reality that no matter how much I cracked the whip, when alone, I just wasn’t giving my best in some areas.
The Minimum Effective Dose
I turned to reddit.com/r/getmotivatedbuddies and have since tried a dozen or so configurations with as many people and habits. The shared app, shared document, the daily text, the weekly call..
I love these relationships. They are founded on a shared intention. And the boundaries are built-in; I don’t even know the names of some of my buddies! We may check-in briefly, but nobody is canceling any plans to drive the other to the airport or watch their dogs. That’s efficient!
Still I couldn’t find the right approach to solve the above-mentioned yoga pose problem. How could I “be watched”, daily, without convincing / inconveniencing someone else to show up at the same time? Enter the most efficient accountability buddy of all, the livestream.
Livestreaming my activity provides the ultimate accountability. I’m broadcasting to the whole world! I can’t do a half-hearted upward dog, 7 Billion people could be watching! But 99% of the time, NOBODY in the entire world is watching. And therein lies the magic: just the thought that they could, works for me.
To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.
Who knows how long I will continue this experiment. It evolves every week. It’s super weird and super working for me. If you think it could help you too, you’re welcome to join me, or just do something similar for yourself. Oh I just heard a timer go off, gotta run, can’t keep my Schrodinger’s-audience waiting.