I’ve always had this idea that you’re supposed to get stuff you need to get done because it needs to get done. Which is true as far as it goes, but when I feel unmotivated to do a task, I sometimes reward myself.
I often felt like a dork doing that. I mean, come on, grownups just get it done, right?
I missed a part. Grownups do what they need to to make sure they get it done, and self-motivation can take plenty of forms.
Right now I’m rather obsessed with sewing myself a new wardrobe. But I also have work to take care of — a book for a client, studying to teach a class, what have you. Because I work for myself, I could choose to spend most of my day on whatever my current obsession is.
If I made a habit of that, I’d have to get a “real job”. While I will if I must, I really, really don’t want to.
So, to keep myself on task, I reward myself when I get the day’s work done. I reward myself for working out with a Dr. Who episode, and that’s been quite a motivator for me.
I’m rewarding myself for getting work done with sewing time. I have a project that I have to complete a certain amount on each day to get it done, so I agree with myself that after I do that (and any other routine work), I’m allowed to go ahead and do some work on my wardrobe.
Because I’m so obsessed with getting my wardrobe done, it’s been a big motivator for me. It’s not even noon yet, and I got everything business-related I planned to get done today finished. So, I have a few hours to sew before I go for my swim, then have some fun with friends and family this evening.
I have to laugh a little. My mother’s reward for herself when I was growing up was downtime with a craft tray on her lap and the soaps playing in the afternoon. She took being a homemaker pretty seriously, and that meant a morning’s worth of housework, shopping, meal planning and what have you every morning. She moved fast and got it done quick because she wanted to do her painting (or whatever it was she was working on at the time).
I still have the “Housework should be done by noon” mentality, but I’ve had to throw that off because for me it’s business projects. (Which means more hours of work for me because I’m a much earlier riser than my mother!)
I also note that if I have a mentality that says, “Okay, you have to do X thing to earn X pleasure” not only does more stuff get done, the fun stuff has a sharper edge of pleasure to it.