Rewards stop procrastination

Procrastination CoachBlog, Goal setting and goal keeping, Productivity experiments16 Comments

A typical reaction to eating a frog is this:

I’m STUPID. I could have done this ages ago. I SHOULD have done this ages ago!

It looks like internal shouting. And it is. A punitive voice that tells you you’re no good. Again..

Criticism doesn’t work

Emotion lies behind every almost form of procrastination. Fear of failure and fear of not being good enough are common examples. What the critical voice does, is feed these fears. It takes a success you’ve just created, and turns it into proof that you’re a quack.

Inner berating leads to more procrastination, not less.


Reward yourself

Each time you get something done that you procrastinated on, reward yourself. Acknowledge yourself for getting over yourself. Celebrate that YOU DID IT. Create physical rewards: a nice cup of coffee of tea, reading the newspaper, going out for a walk. The bigger your challenge was, the bigger the reward you create.

Your typical reaction to eating a frog, may become this:

I rock!

I’d love to hear your response to this post. ย What you do reward yourself with? Or what keeps you from rewarding yourself? Or how about this: acknowledge yourself publicly. Now that’s a challenge… ๐Ÿ™‚

16 Comments on “Rewards stop procrastination”

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    That’s how I felt this week. I think the reward, for me, was the relief off my shoulders. FYI, I love that you gave examples of rewards, I always turn to food and I don’t think that’s a good thing ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think just making time for myself is a good thing.

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    Joanne, I’ve noticed that often my cravings stop when I take myself out for a walk and some fresh air. A much healthier reward, that I actually enjoy more.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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    You know, I am unusual because I actually need to procrastinate a bit more. I rush through my task lists with such fury sometimes I am not truly present to what I am doing. Positive self talk, on the other hand, is a whole other category of self-improvement and one in which I am not proficient.

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    Hi Angela,
    Since university I’ve used positive reinforcement to keep myself motivated. But sometimes I forget and I appreciate this reminder. It’s such a great way to go through a work day, particularly when there are those tasks you enjoy less than the others!

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    Celebrating and acknowledging EVERY success is critical! No matter how small the task, when you see a success for what it is you get used to taking care of business. and with that your confidence level goes up and procrastination is less likely.

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    I have finally learned that taking a walk – even a short one – makes me feel 100% better so I choose that as my reward. Now for a big reward it is hiking out in the local hills. Doesn’t matter the time of year as they are always beautiful and the air is always fresh. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to reward ourselves!

    1. Angela van Son

      Take my with you Kendra! It’s been ages since I hiked. Being a city girl in a flat country doesn’t help. I do walk as a reward though, and I live in a beautiful neighbourhood with lots of green and water. City green and city water ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    So true: “inner berating leads to more procrastination, not less.” I find that getting momentum can be difficult and overwhelming, but focusing on one thing at a time, knowing that I will reward myself following, is great incentive to make progress! I often find a walk motivates me to get going on a project, my reward would be switching off and spending time in the kitchen.

    1. Angela van Son

      That’s sounds like a lovely day: a walk to start, and cooking to finish ๐Ÿ™‚

      You describe it so well: “getting momentum can be difficult and overwhelming”. It sounds as if you’ve found very good ways to help yourself.

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    Nice! I keep a victories list- whenever I finish something, I log it- that way, when I’m feeling stuck, I can go back and see the giant list of things I’ve accomplished, and remember how awesome I am ๐Ÿ™‚ It motivates me to keep going as well as to be a little more gentle with myself.

    1. Angela van Son

      I love that idea Kate! I’ve been working with a list of successes with clients, but a victory list sound like even more celebration ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, to look back at it when you need it is a good practice. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    You’ve summed up really well Angela. Negative thoughts attract more negative thoughts and outcomes for yourself. Rewarding yourself for reaching your milestones, no matter how small they are is often forgotten. I like to use a tool called where you get to record what you actually did each day, rather than keeping a list and berating yourself for what you didn’t cross off.

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    Angela, I couldn’t agree more! As you know, I wrote about “should” recently, and the negative cycle it creates in cahoots with guilt. It’s truly a suck of energy and positivity! I’ve found that should often leads to guilt, which leads feeling bad and soothing in some unhealthy way. The cycle continues from there.

    If we can take the “should” out of things, we remove the judgement against ourselves, which is truly transformational (and helps a whole lot with procrastination). Here’s the link:
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