It’s not because there is anything earth-shattering in the paragraphs that follow.
It’s not because something might happen to you if you don’t.
And it’s not because I’m trying to trick you into reading it.
Well, maybe that last statement is not quite true. But blame Dan Ariely, not me.
One of the letters Dan received in this week’s Wall Street Journal asked the following:
Dear Dan, I work in human resources, and I’m trying to motivate our employees to complete a short online training program. The training is very simple, but no one seems to get it done. Should I give them a deadline of a month to finish it, or will that just cause more delay? —Archie
And here was part of Dan’s response:
Deadlines are very important—when we have lots of demands on our time we need deadlines to help us set priorities. However, people also use deadlines as a source of information about the complexity of the task. In one study, researchers found that giving people longer deadlines led them to believe that the task was much harder, which in turn increased how much they procrastinated. So for an easy task like completing an online training program, set a short-term deadline, so that people will think the task is easy to accomplish and get right to it.
So I thought I would try to apply Dan’s reasoning to how I could motivate people to read my blog.
Reading my blog is an easy task (some would say mindless), so to reinforce such an idea and to encourage you to read it, I have set a very short-term deadline.
And so hopefully you got right to it, and it likely took you less than two minutes to complete the reading.
Now you are ready to move on to other tasks, such as trying to figure out how you can regain the minute or two of your life you just lost reading this blog post.
I’m not sure if you ever will, but at least let me try to make it up to you with this: