One piece of advice that’s floated around a lot to help people stay on track with their big projects is to set a deadline. In my experience, and probably yours, this doesn’t work very well because there are no consequences for not meeting your “pretend” deadline — allowing you the fudge room to keep procrastinating.

Stikk has come up with a way to make sure there are consequences if you fail. Stikk is an online service that allows you to set up a “contract” with yourself, and back it up with money. You deposit $10, $20, $100, or whatever amount is worth working for, and if you achieve your goal, you get it back. If not, the money is donated to one of several charities Stikk has established partnerships with.

If putting your own money on the line isn’t enough to keep you motivated, Stikk has another card up their sleeve: the anti-charity. Select this option, and not only will you lose your money if you fail to reach your goal, but Stikk will donate it to a charity you hate. If you’re pro-life, it will go to a pro-choice charity; pro-choice writers can choose a pro-life one.

Stikk allows you to self-report whether you’ve failed or succeeded, working on the honor system. If you don’t quite trust yourself to be honest, you can designate a third-party “referee” to verify your success or failure. Pick someone you trust to be fair — if they say you’ve failed, you’ve failed, as far as Stikk is concerned.

You can set Stikk up to track a single big goal, but you can also set incremental goals — like, “write 5,000 words a week). I wouldn’t set goals that are more granular than that, since you do need to log in and report success or failure for each goal — or your referee does, if you choose to have one. Try to find a “sweet spot” that’s frequent enough to keep you working steadily but not so frequent that keeping your Stikk account up-to-date eats into your writing time.

Don't miss a single post. Grab the RSS feed!