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Deferred Duties and Motivations
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 05/27/2013

Whatsyourexcuse In corrections, safety is the first priority. This is written in almost every mission statement for prison and jails. But, other duties need to be done. Accreditations, audits, budgeting and other tasks are a part of the corrections game.

Not all tasks are created equally. Some of these are less desirable to do. Though they are necessary, they are placed on the back burner, thus they become deferred.

This is not unlike a job at home that you would sooner delay. For example, I ran out of storage options, so the need was great. It was a daunting task that I had put off for too long. Still, part of me resisted what had to be done. After all, my garage would not clean itself.

Let me preface this with a peek into my work habits. I work hard. I am not lazy. I do not usually procrastinate. In fact, I consider myself to be the antithesis of a procrastinator, a precrastinator, if you will.

What is my problem, you may ask? Quite simply, there are some tasks to which I do not march willingly.

As I slowly walked toward the garage with the best intentions of making order out of chaos, my justification mechanism leaped into high gear. I suddenly had a list in my head of “more important” tasks to be done. I had to clean the drier lint trap, dust the base boards, and rearrange my junk drawer. Of course, correspondence which could realistically wait became a red hot priority, despite the dwindling space in the garage.

I found myself deferring duties so that I could work on less important tasks. What did I have to do, lie to myself? That was really not the answer. I had to figure out a few different incentives.

Seven productive self-motivation strategies:
  1. Tell yourself that you will feel better when the dreaded job is complete.
  2. You can reward yourself with a coffee or some other incentive when you finish.
  3. Eat the elephant one bite at a time – spilt the task into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  4. Dive into the cold pool and swim until you are warm or bear it.
  5. Tell yourself that you are capable of doing the job well in a reasonable time and prove .yourself correct.
  6. Tell someone that you respect of your timeline. This gives you incentive not to disappoint.
  7. Quit over thinking it and DO IT.

Like some important audit that is due sooner than you wish, a task can hang heavy over your work week. As you let time slip away, the weight of the task seems to grow on your shoulders. This makes you reckon time left to complete the task in an unrealistic manner. In most cases, it is a battle with yourself. The key to the battle is found in the right motivation.

These are the opinions of Joe Bouchard, a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections. These are not necessarily the opinions of the Department. The MDOC is not responsible for the content or accuracy

Visit the Joe Bouchard page


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