Distractions are everywhere. We’ll look for them every time our brain feels the slightest bit of responsibility.
Accountability, on the other hand, is hard to find. In a more evolved and understanding society that leans more on positive reinforcements to achieve goals, it’s easy to overlook that for centuries people have relied on fear, shame and pain to get stuff done.
Based on this old school approach and behind the strong belief that willpower simply isn’t enough, a new bracelet and app called Pavlok helps you form habits by punishing you in a variety of ways, primarily by… you know, giving you an electric shock whenever you give into a bad habit.
Whatever your goals are, you can program them into the Pavlov’s app, which will break down the goal into easier, manageable actions. Once that’s established, you select the punishment you’ll receive should that task not get done. These range from losing access to your phone, to making you pay cash fines, to posting embarrassing stuff on your Facebook wall, to delivering a 340V electric shock to your wrist.
Say you’ve been trying to wake up early and start your days full of productive energy. But we all know how tempting staying in bed can be when there’s not a significant consequence to it, so we hit the snooze and quickly rationalize those extra nine minutes of sleep somehow, often several times in a row. You can set Pavlov’s Wake Up alarm feature, which will initially sound and vibrate gently to get your day going. But if you hit that snooze button? Well, you’d be surprised how quickly a powerful electric jolt can help you get out of bed and get your adrenaline going.
A large number of participants in their trial research showed significant trouble getting work done in the face of temptation, so the Pavlok is in charge of tracking and retraining the deeply ingrained habits you have by using a combination of vibration, sound, and electric shock. The wristband is supposed to keep you focused on your work.
Pavlok can also help you find a partner or group that will hold you accountable to the task at hand. Peer pressure and their support will certainly affect how we perform and keep us focused with deadlines we’re more likely to stick to.
The level of commitment is up to each person’s preferences, and it’s not all about negative reinforcements either. Pavlok can also reward you for a job well done, earning prizes and even money when you finish something satisfactorily. Of course, when you fail to do so, get ready for some potentially shocking consequences.