Homework isn’t just for kids.

When we were in school, most of us did our homework.

Why?

Because someone said we had to.  So we did it.  Pretty simple.

Maybe you knew your homework would factor into your grade, which would factor into what college you went to, and so on . . . but basically, you did it because someone told you to do it, and gave you a day when it was due.

Every day I hear people talk about how they haven’t finished writing a script, or how they haven’t finished editing their film, or a stand-up routine, or a song, and so on.

And I wonder . . . if that script, or film or stand-up routine was homework . . . would they have finished it?

I’d bet yes.

And when so much of success is just finishing what you’re working on, or executing that great idea that you’ve been kicking around for years, there has got to be a way to create a systematic approach to help you do just that.

That’s why I’m an advocating an Adult Homework System . . . or AHS.

Here’s how it works:

  • Find yourself a friend, a teacher, a shrink, or even a random person online.
  • Describe what you want to accomplish (complete a script, a song, or whatever).
  • Make that person give you your homework with a due date.
  • Do it in the allotted time.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Make sense?

I’d bet you finish what you’re working on a lot faster (and probably with even better results).  (There’s probably an idea for a great social networking website here, where people sign up to be “teachers” or “students” and are randomly assigned to one another, and the teachers help the students’ dreams come true.)

It’s hard to motivate yourself.  That’s why the educational system exists (and why it costs so much freakin’ money).

And there is nothing wrong with asking for a little help to keep you on track.

Because homework isn’t just for kids.

It’s for students.

And life is about learning every single day.

Comments
  • Dave Wakeman says:

    Ken,
    Since I know you are a Seth Godin fan from the ‘Ken’s Favorite Books’ side bar. This is the same principle that Seth talks about in his new book ‘Linchpin.’ No matter what the project is, you set a deadline and you ship.
    I also definitely agree that if we were able to push ourselves to work on deadline more, we would produce much more work.

  • Abagail says:

    Mr. Davenport,
    I’m in high school and I agree. We do homework because we have to. It sucks. But if using the AHS helps me learn my lines or actually finish the book I’m working on, I’ll try it. Maybe I get my parents in on the action.

  • This is very true. I’ve started a 365 Plays in 365 Days blog for myself (well aware that I am ripping off Suzan-Lori Parks). I tried the project once before, but it was on a word document on my desktop and I gave up before March. Now that it’s public I have friends, campers, teachers or my mother letting me know that midnight’s approaching and I’d better have a play on the blog before my carriage turns back into an onion. With that added pressure, I’m over 70 days in, and going strong.

  • Jery Rosas says:

    Hi Mr. Davenport,
    I don’t know if you are aware, but there is something similar to what you proposed as far as helping to write within a given amount of time. November is National Novel Writing month, and http://www.nanowrimo.com. Basically you have the whole month to write a 50,000 word novella. In the month of April, the same site offers something called Script Frenzy, which is similar to the novella idea. Seeing how April is right around the corner, that could be the first homework assignment that you assign. Just a thought.

  • David says:

    A great posting – and some interesting comments. Hopefully, this adds to the conversation.
    For those who would like a web-inspired push to execute, I just received an email about this service (no endorsement as I have not tried at all):
    Put A Contract Out On Yourself (And Achieve Your Goals)…Behavioral economics holds that people need proper “nudges” – incentives plus accountability– to change behaviors. (When Warren Buffett decided to go on a diet he offered to pay his relatives $10,000 apiece if he failed). Putting this theory into action is stickK, a new service that encourages users to achieve their goals through the creation of “commitment contracts.” To get started on stickK you simply declare a goal, create an account and set an end-date. Then you put some skin in the game, in the form of a dollar amount that’s billed to your credit card if you fall off the wagon during the reporting period. (If you don’t make it, the money goes to a charity or whomever you designate, not the company).
    In addition to the financial commitment stickK invites a referee into the process. (This is a friend or supporter that you choose). Why? Because it’s the combination of having money and your reputation on the line that breeds success. So stop procrastinating and be more like Buffett.
    http://www.stickk.com/

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