ProdPod: Episode 98: The Power of Short-Term Challenges

Have you ever entered a competition, or a race, of some kind? Whether it’s a science fair, marathon, triathlon, March Madness, or almost any kind of contest, you know the feeling of competing. You have a period of time that focuses a large portion of your time, attention, and resources in achieving something. These short-term challenges have a way of motivating you to action thanks to your competitive nature, accountability to others, and the potential rewards (including gratification in pushing your own personal boundaries).

Whether it’s a 30-day juice cleanse diet, a marathon training regimen, a summer reading challenge, or even a 100 Things Challenge, these parameters of time, resources, space, or otherwise, beckon us all to grow.

Parkinson’s Law, as I’ve spoken about in Episode 27, and short-term challenges have the same motivating effect on us all. What can you accomplish bound by the next 30, 60, or 90 days? How much can you reduce the excesses of your life, be it reducing spending, consumption, or physical possessions? How many sales can you make in the 30 days? While much of the Internet’s focus on 30-day challenges is on fitness and health, as you can see by my questions, you don’t need to be confined by health and wellness when it comes to short-term challenges. You name it, and you can make a short-term challenge for productive ends out any goal.

Short-term challenges are predicated on a few gamification components:

  1. Like any good game, you need to limit your resources–time or resources.
  2. You have to set achievable metrics that tell you when you’re winning or losing, and when you have completed and won, or lost.
  3. You need to have a frame of reference, a starting point captured.
  4. You must determine to whom you’re going to be accountable to for your challenge. (Will you share this with your spouse or partner? Will you tell all your Facebook friends and family? Or, will you merely register for a race and compete against your own best time? You decide what you know will motivate you the best.)

As part of this episode, I’m starting my own 30-day challenge to produce 30 ProdPod episodes in 30 days! This is the first episode and I’ll have an episode coming out every day for the next 30 days! Enjoy the fruits of my 30-day challenge!

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