“Eat all of your vegetables and you can have dessert.” That’s Grandma’s Rule, and everyone grows up hearing it.
Turns out Grandma’s Rule has its base in a scientific principle known as the Premack Principle. Business Analysis Times recently wrote about it and Aubrey Daniels’ book Bringing Out the Best in People.
David Premack first wrote about the principle in 1959, which states that certain behavior can reinforce other behavior. More specifically, a higher probability behavior will reinforce a lower probability behavior if presented contingently after the lower probability behavior.
So, stop arranging your work day with your high probability tasks scheduled first! Doing so just increases the likelihood that you will burnout by the end of the day. Instead, make an effort to do those things that you really don’t “want” to do but nevertheless have to do first thing in the morning. That way, you are always looking forward to that high probability task at the end of the day.
Give it a try tomorrow and let us know how it works for you in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive new articles directly to your inbox.
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns bSci21.org and BAQuarterly.com. Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues. He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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