There is no better way to motivate me than offering me a badge or trophy for doing something. Being given points for completing tasks or acting in a certain way can control the way I live my live. I am a scorewhore.
This morning I received an email from Goodreads telling me how close I was to reaching this year’s target of reading 12 books, and if I did achieve it then I would get a special badge to place on my profile. This sent me into a frenzy, I mean a badge for reading! Then the two people who view my profile will be able to see that years ago I read an awful lot.
Immediately I thought to the books on my shelves that are still to be read and thought about which could help me achieve my goal, not the books that I wanted to read for enjoyment but the ones that I could use to reach an arbitrary goal I created at the beginning of the year. Could I use the collection of Mr Men books as part of my target? I am half way through the Song of Ice and Fire books that I really want to read but I’ve been working on them since Ned had his head. Animal Farm isn’t too big, and Lord of the Rings is definitely out (but does that count as three books).
The ridiculous part about this sudden urge to read is that I am not really anywhere near my target. I am still eleven books away from my goal, that works out to one book every few weeks. Factoring out the new arrival, and the 8 hours a day at work, looking after children, playing computer games, watching TV, that makes it a very tight deadline. Sacrifices may need to be made (I’m looking at you here post apocalyptic Boston &does reading the game guide count?)
Yet I still want to do it because I will get a badge. I suppose I could reduce the number of books in my target but then I would know I achieved it by deception. I could easily get through a Roald Dahl book in a few hours, and what about finishing those books I have already started but never finished, although as this includes Life of Pi I think I would rather not have the badge.
I did also consider that writing a blog about wanting to read is actually eating into my reading time. I could have done 10 or so pages of the Douglas Coupland I have by my desk. Only 65 pages to go.