We all have those moments throughout the day. We’re on task, full steam ahead on a project and we blink…and we’re on reddit for an hour. Staying productive and keeping our level of forward progress high throughout the day can be one of the hardest things for us to do.

Like many of us, Maneesh Sethi suffered from a very low percentage of productivity throughout the day decided he would tackle this problem in a very unique way. He hired a willing participant via Craigslist to slap him in the face every time he went off task.

Sethi explains:

Nothing makes me more embarassed than seeing the amount of hours I spend wasted on Reddit and Facebook chat…almost 19 hours of my time last week were wasted—disappeared, never to be seen again.

I figured, “This is stupid, why am I wasting this time doing nothing? When I have a boss, or someone of authority watching me, I always get my work done. How can I simulate the authority figure?”

Naturally, I believe that an authority figure should have real authority. And I am a big fan of Slap Bets. Put those together — and I realized I needed someone to make me work, with permission to slap me in the whenever I cheated.

So he put up an ad on Craigslist for someone to slap him if he went off track, offering $8 an hour and the ability to keep working on their own projects. He says he got 20 emails in under an hour and decided on Kara, who met him at a co-working space and proceeded to slap him when he went off track.

Sethi says that his productivity went off the charts, up to 98% from 35-40% on most days.

skitched 20121016 103147 This guy got more productive by hiring someone to slap him in the face when he went off task

And his conclusion wasn’t that it was the threat of the slap that was the real motivator, but rather the social elements. Someone who was there that knew what he should be doing, that pushed him to accomplish those things and that were a sounding board for ideas.

It’s an interesting experiment, for sure. If you want to read more about Sethi’s conclusions about his experiment, head to his blog post here.

Image Credit: The Lakelander