Confession time: Sometimes, when I have to do some work I really dislike, I bribe myself with rewards. It’s not very grown-up in me, but what can I say? It often works. So when it’s time to weed the vegetable bed, or tidy my desk, I tell myself, if you finish that now, you may go to the cinema later, or order a CD online – whatever works. The bribe doesn’t need to be large, often a piece of chocolate does the trick. Or several pieces … Sometimes I bribe myself with going on walk with my husband, so the bribe can even be romantic.
The more disagreeable the task, the larger the bribe needs to be to be effective, however. The past weekend, I had to mark five term papers. I had procrastinated enough, it was high time, the deadline was looming. So I got to work … and I did it. The reward is to be reaped tonight: I may go to the Carina Press site and place my next ebook order. With a very good feeling.
Do you ever bribe yourself? What bribes work best for you? And do you think this is silly, or is it a case of whatever works?
– Rike Horstmann
High school teacher. Soccer fan (Werder Bremen, yeah!). Knitter and book-binder. Devotee of mathematical puzzles. German.
I don’t think rewarding yourself is silly at all….whatever works. Living in a rural area without a store or coffee shop within 25 km rewards have to either be rationed (i.e. picked up on a weekend or after work) if it’s a latte or a lovely fresh croissant. On the other hand, stretching out on the couch with a good book or watching a favourite television show or movie does the trick as well.
LinnieGayl, what a lovely way to reward oneself! There is no nice coffeehouse nearby, more’s the pity. Getting some ice cream from the Italian ice cream parlor in the summer is a bit similar to what you describe, though.
Definitely not silly, Rike! And yes, I do bribe myself, and it works for me. I usually use them for finishing a particularly disagreeable project, and can be as simple as a small cup of chai tea from the nearby coffeehouse (and I have to walk there to get it, so it also includes exercise).