A computer programmer, Maneesh Sethi, claims he increased his productivity at work by hiring a woman to slap him every time she catches him looking at Facebook or other social media websites.
He wrote on his blog, “Humans are social animals – we aren’t designed to live and work alone. Having worked mostly alone, on my computer, I found that the majority of my time is spent unproductive. Sathi adds, “Nothing makes me more embarrassed than seeing the amount of hours I spend wasted on Reddit and Facebook chat.”
So he went on Craigslist, put up an ad entitled “Slap me if I get off task” and ended up hiring a women for $8/hr. Next morning Sethi was working in a café next to his new employee who was slapping him each time he was going off task.
The computer programmer claimed the ever-present threat of a physical assault helped him to radically boost his output by staying focused on his work. Sethi also wrote that this experiment helped him increase his productivity from 35% to 98% and now he feels ashamed that he was spending 19 hours per week browsing social media websites.
Sethi finished his posing with an analysis: Why Hiring a Slapper works
“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.
Honestly, the fear of the slap wasn’t the productivity driver. That just made it fun. The real reason why Kara made me more productive is because she added a social element to writing. When I was drafting the outline, I asked for her feedback. When I couldn’t think of the right way to phrase a sentence, she was there to help. Instead of it being a chore, Kara made it fun to write.”
The entire thing may seem as a funny publicity stunt for a young computer programmer but it vividly portrays a common problem of a lack of social infrastructure in our working culture.
But it doesn’t have to be a complex, elaborate system – as Sethi put it at the end of the posting, “If you can turn your to do list into a game—especially a social one, a fun one—it won’t be work anymore. It will be fun. All it takes is building a system.”