Rewarding ourselves and taking breaks from periods of hard work as a form of motivation is much easier said that done. Procrastination is only a simple click away and hitting the snooze button on the various tasks we have to accomplish is much more appealing than getting our hands dirty. It’s easy to reward ourselves without actually having to do the work in the first place. So that means this form of motivation has gone out the window, right?
Wrong. We need to strip down the idea of work-then-reward. To me, at least, guilt and anxiety always underpin procrastination and laziness; in the back of our minds, we know that we will eventually have to get to work and we have nothing to look forward to. Besides, what have we really done to earn or deserve that time to ourselves and time to enjoy? There is something so much more pleasing and refreshing about getting tasks and targets done before rewarding ourselves, because we earn that reward. The reward becomes so much more valuable and special. Those undercurrents of guilt, anxiety and misery are displaced with feelings of accomplishment, fulfilment, relaxation and satisfaction; there is no work that needs to be done because we’ve already crossed it off our lists! If you have trouble with procrastination or getting to the point where you can reward yourself, be realistic but start small; take regular breaks between your tasks and then slowly increase the intervals so that you start to train your mind to not only crave the reward but also crave the feeling of achievement that accompanies the reward and is even a reward in itself. Get the work done, and that reward will taste all the more sweet.