Rewards help you to stop procrastinating

Angela van SonBlog, Exercises13 Comments

I’m doing an inventory of things that people can use to reward themselves. Because research has shown that rewards really help. So I though I’d turn it into an exercise. This way you get some support (if you need it) and I get loads of ideas 🙂

Here’s the exercise:

  1. Think about three things you procrastinate on.
  2. Think about a reward for each one, for after you’ve finished the part you can be working on this day/week.
  3. Share your rewards in a reply to this post.

If you don’t want to do the exercise but have ideas anyway, they are very welcome!




13 Comments on “Rewards help you to stop procrastinating”

  1. Avatar

    This took some thought, many times my reward is whatever “thing” I want that week – new sneakers or outfit or a new gadget.

    A couple of other things I can think of that is big ticket items are: hair blow out, manicure or pedicure, a day trip (usually to a place that has tea time 🙂 )

    When I do the Pomodoro and I only have 5 minutes as my reward, it’s make some of my fancy tea :), play a facebook game, browse the internet, make travel plans

    I’m tagging this page, so I can see what others come up with.

  2. Avatar

    I think my current reward right now should be playing Candy Crush – which is also my big procrastination tool right now!! I’m not sure “procrastination tool” is an actual thing is it?

    Things I procrastinate on are doing the dishes, finishing up a blog post (I can start them pretty well!) and responding to all emails.

    Great idea – I will keep thinking and make a better more specific plan!

  3. Angela van Son

    I love your practical take on it Joanne, to reward yourself with something you want anyway 😉

    Do you manage to do these things in 5 minutes when you work with the Pomodoro technique? Wow, that broadens my mind. I would have guessed games, browsing or thinking about a holiday are hard to confine to 5 minutes.

    You have a great range of suggestions. I think you’ll inspire other people when they read this.

  4. Angela van Son

    Hi Michelle,

    How can you both use Candy Crush as a reward and contain it?

    Otherwise it will be hard to use your procrastination tool to beat your procrastination 🙂

  5. Avatar

    I am a terrible procrastinator. I like the idea of a “Top Three” list. I love lists, and I feel rewarded when I see items crossed off. I save a messy list for several days, continuing to cross things off, because it feels quite warm and fuzzy to see all the things I actually accomplished after I planned them.
    The only reward that ever matters to me, however, is free time for free reading. Right now I am on pins and needles over the way Queen Elizabeth I had to tap-dance diplomatically with Spain. Unfortunately, if I get to reward myself with free reading so I can discover how she extricates herself from political traps, I won’t limit it to 5 minutes. Can’t be done. If I start, I will procrastinate about putting that book down and starting the next task on my list. I need a reward for terminating my reward!

    1. Angela van Son

      Reading is dangerous 🙂 It costs me my sleep if I really like a book, and I don’t read on a working day.

      Maybe we can keep slightly more boring books for those moments?

      Good luck with this one and tell me when you’ve found it: “I need a reward for terminating my reward!” 😉

  6. Avatar

    HI Michelle. Great idea with the rewards! I think this is such an important element of overcoming procrastination. It turns it into a game for me (a good thing). Here are my three rewards:

    1) Buy a double tall latte after I accomplish my morning writing. I LOVE coffee, especially in the fall. This will be a huge reward for me. And the walk to the coffee shop with the fall colors will be an added bonus! 🙂

    2) 30 minutes to read whatever I want (magazine, Facebook, other blogs). This will be my reward for spending an hour of focused time on creating my coaching program. I usually read stuff as a form of procrastination – now I will use it as a reward.

    3) Watch a football game all the way through on Saturday. I love watching football in the fall but often feel guilty about the time it takes to watch a game (3 hours). I am going to set this up as a reward for making setting up four speaking engagements for next year. I have been procrastinating on this and this is the perfect reward to get it done by next weekend.

    Thanks for this great idea. I love it!

  7. Avatar

    Man, this is going to be tough. I’m the worst procrastinator, but I’ll give it a shot. Maybe even put it into practice.

    1. Focusing on my health. It is the number one thing I know I should be doing, but I always take the easy way out and eat like crap and give up on exercising. It’s always a “I should start eating better and exercise” then I don’t do it. I could commit to just start exercising every day and change one bad eating habit a day and reward myself with one cheat day where I satisfy my sweet tooth.

    2. Writing & Creating every day. I could ban myself from reading anything until I finish a minimum of 1 hour of writing.

    3. Doing the dishes. The one chore my wife asks me to do as she is a stay at home mom and does most housework (Swear I’m not bias)The sad thing is, we have a dish washer (lmao) but I always find something more interesting to do. My reward could be more quality point and respect from my lovely wife. Although she doesn’t complain, she doesn’t do them for me either, I’m sure it gets annoying.

    1. Angela van Son

      How did it go with the maybe Justin?

      I love how you came up with something that’s do-able: “change one bad eating habit a day and reward myself with one cheat day where I satisfy my sweet tooth.”

      The other ideas are good as well, I hope they worked for you!

  8. Avatar

    I’m a horrible procrastinator!!! So okay here goes:
    Homework: I always wait till the last minute to do and turn in my college homework. As a reward for doing it early, I’ll let myself play video games unabashedly!

    Writing: I only try to make myself write once per week, but again, I wait till the last minute to do it, and my posts suffer for it. I need to stop that. As a reward for doing it early (and well), I’ll treat myself to something small on my Amazon wishlist (since the goal of writing is for my personal business for my future).

    Cleaning: I’m also not the best housekeeper, and while there’s not really any “due dates” on cleaning, I still need to do things way earlier and way more often than I do! So as a reward, if I do some major items on the cleaning list on Saturday mornings, my reward will be the oh so wonderful feeling of having a clean house instead of it bothering me all weekend long!!!

    1. Angela van Son

      Hi Wendy,

      There seems to be pretty big resonance in this one: “As a reward for doing it early, I’ll let myself play video games unabashedly!”

      I’m wondering if this one is strong enough for you: “my reward will be the oh so wonderful feeling of having a clean house instead of it bothering me all weekend long.” (To be honest, that’s mainly because I am very bad at doing housework when it’s needed, it says nothing about you 😉 )

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