If you’re like me you were raised by parents and video games and schools on a carrot/stick program. In other words, you do something well, accomplish something – you get a prize. Sad how much that still works as an adult.
I quit my job about a month ago. See my reasons here.
I have in the past had a tendency towards inertia, but this time I wanted to make sure things were different. So I came up with assignments on different projects and goals: broke things down and gave everything a deadline, put it in my calendar. That worked pretty well.
What’s really helped me keep things in shape is the rewards system. Here’s the deal: right now I am my own boss. No one else is paying me, so I got creative and decided to pay myself. I made another list of things I really wanted: movies I want to see, things I want to buy, etc. And I paired those with my goals.
Now, I get something specific when I finish a project.
Like many folks I’ve been waiting for DARK KNIGHT RISES to come out, and I can’t wait to see it. But I’m not going to go see a midnight showing of it just cause I can. I’m going to earn it.
I’ve got a few projects attached to that movie, and I won’t go see the movie until I finish them.
I’ve been doing this already and have found it has a few instant psychological elements:
1) I’m much more excited to jump into a project, and I don’t procrastinate. Why? Because I want to see The Dark Knight.
2) By rewarding myself with something specific, I have something external by which I can recognize my accomplishment. In addition to just feeling good – “Man! I did it!” – I’m recognizing it with a specific reward.
I’ve also found that I’m appreciating these rewards on another level: I’m not just going to the movie thinking “I can’t wait to see this.” I’m thinking: “I put a lot of work into getting here tonight – I worked hard for this.” It adds to my enjoyment of the moment and the experience of the movie.
Being your own boss is great, because you can pay yourself however you want. And who knows better what you’re willing to work hard to get?