Who knew the solution to preventing excessive Web surfing at work was as simple as a couple slaps in the face?
This was the solution to Maneesh Sethi’s productivity issues. Sethi, a programmer, author, and self-help guru, is the creator of Hack the System, a website that offers advice to people who wish to achieve their ideal lifestyle. Since he is his own boss, he works alone on a computer each day.
In a recent blog post, Sethi used the desktop app RescueTime to measure how long he spent on his Excel spreadsheet and on various websites. At the end of the day, RescueTime calculated that he was at 38 percent productivity.
“Nothing makes me more embarrassed than seeing the amount of hours I spend wasted on Reddit and Facebook chat,” Sethi wrote.
He turned to the power of the San Francisco craigslist in search of a unique approach to increasing his productivity. In the “Domestic Gigs” section of the site, he placed an advertisement titled “Slap me if I get off task…” According to his blog, the ad went as follows:
“I’m looking for someone who can work next to me at a defined location (my house or a mission cafe) and will make sure to watch what is happening on my screen. When I am wasting time, you’ll have to yell at me or if need be, slap me.
“You can do your own work at the same time. Looking for help asap, in mission, near 16th mission BART.
“Compensation: $8 / hour, and you can do your own work from your computer at the same time.”
In less than an hour, he had received twenty replies. Selecting one from “Kara” that stood out, he arranged a meeting at a cafe the next day. He gave her his list of tasks that he needed to accomplish that day and partially documented the workday in a video.
The experiment with Kara lasted three hours. Thanks to her help, his productivity rose to 98 percent. While her slaps indeed played a key role, Sethi believes that the social element she provided is the true assistant.
“Without a doubt, this experiment was a success. My biggest takeaway from the experiment is this: If you add a social element to the work that you do, you will become more productive,” he wrote.
Photo via YouTube