Getting Results From Our Compulsions: A One-Week Experiment

Your compulsions.

Not the obsessive compulsions. Just the irresistible ones.

They prevent you from doing real work. From getting results.

If you had to pay to do ’em, would you do them as much?

The Compulsions Jar — Paying for the Privilege

This week, let’s try a compulsions jar.

Anytime you want to act upon your compulsion, you FIRST put a dollar in the jar.

For example, “Oh, man, I really want to check Facebook. Here, Compulsions Jar, here is your one-dollar payment.”

And so the steps go like this:

Step 1: List ten compulsions. It’s a big number, but it prevents us from engaging in non-listed compulsions.

For the record and your reference, mine* will be:

  • Checking Gmail.
  • Checking Google Analytics.
  • Checking Avantlink.
  • Checking Twitter.
  • Checking Facebook.
  • Checking YouTube.
  • Checking Instagram.
  • Checking Google News (or all online news outlets, for that matter).
  • Playing with my dog Lucy.
  • Checking the fridge for snacks.

*Interestingly, the last two were the toughest to think of. No doubt, I’d have done both a bunch to avoid doing real work or paying for the privilege to act compulsively.

Step 1.5: Put said list near your workspace.

Step 2: Get a Mason Jar.

Step 3: Pick a charity to give to. Mine is ALS-TDI.

Step 4: Set a calendar appointment for Friday afternoon to count the money.

Step 5: Donate.

The Results

Two things can happen during this experiment.

  1. You get results by not acting upon your compulsions.
  2. You get results by donating some dollars to charity.

I will let you know how it goes for me next Monday.

Until then, let’s get some results this week.

6 thoughts on “Getting Results From Our Compulsions: A One-Week Experiment

  1. ljgale Post author

    For the record, THE SECOND I hit Publish on this post, I wanted to compulsively check Gmail.

    I didn’t have a Mason Jar ready, so didn’t even consider setting it all up and paying for the privilege. I just “shook it off” and jumped on here to write about what happened.

    That’s what I call results!

    Once I’m setup to pay the jar, I wonder what will happen?

    Will I even set up the jar?

    Procrastination is just a manifestation of laziness. But if procrastination requires setting up a Compulsion Jar, maybe I find myself too lazy to do that and go full-circle back to doing real work?

    This experiment is moderately mind-blowing and it’s only been fifteen minutes.

  2. ljgale Post author

    There I go again!

    Right as I was about to get up and do my morning routine, I NEARLY jumped onto Survey Monkey to check the results of questions I’m asking my Life is NOYOKE folks.

    (Shameless plug:

    Here is a link to the survey you are no curious about but will probably not actually take the 2 minutes to answer.

    End side-note)

    Interestingly, this compulsion was not on my list. JUST AS I PREDICTED. I am already going off list.

    What shall I do?

    I’m adding an eleventh item. Checking Survey Monkey results.

    Note: This is only compulsive because I decided the survey results are only okay to check after a week when most of the proverbial precinct is in.

  3. ljgale Post author

    A third time!

    “I wonder how many people have viewed this post!”

    30 minutes into the experiment: I’ve written three comments on one of my posts.


  4. ljgale Post author

    Now this is getting ridiculous.

    Adding a 12th item for which I have to pay during the workday:

    Bugging my girlfriend.*

    *If she bugs me, it doesn’t count.

  5. ljgale Post author

    So I just got back from going to the bathroom.

    I know, TMI.

    But while there, I scrolled through Instagram.

    IMHO, that’s was NOT succumbing to compulsions.

    But when I got back to my desk, I scrolled through more Instagram. And quick-checked my Gmail. And quick-checked Survey Monkey. And quick-checked YouTube. And quick-checked Google Analytics.

    It was a compulsion explosion.

    Didn’t pay in advance, though. Maybe that should be a penalty?

    $5 for five compulsions plus a $10 penalty for not paying in advance.

    $15 to the jar.

    Okay, back to work.

    1. ljgale Post author

      Now that there’s $15 in the jar, will it be easier (less painful) to pay $1 every time I want to procrastinate?

      At what point will commenting on this post become an official compulsion?

Comments are closed.