Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goals and Rewards

(x-posted from the Tri Mu Blog.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that goals are important, but I think a lot of people discount the value of rewards. Writing a book is accomplished one word at a time with a final goal of telling a complete story. One could argue that the reward is having a finished book at the end, but honestly (at least for me) writing the first draft is far from having a ‘complete’ project.

I’m a fan of smaller rewards along the path of the writing progress. Also of smaller goals. I’m a procrastinator with time management issues, so having set goals (and dangling rewards) gets me writing. Some days, if I’m really struggling, the goals are small and the rewards disproportionally large. I would never suggest complete overkill, like a piece of chocolate cake every 100 words--not only would you be the size of a house by the time you finish a 90k manuscript, but you’d be sick to your stomach before the first turning point. But, if I’m having a really bad day, I might promise myself I can check my email after I write 200 words (or write without distraction for X amount of time.) other days, after 1k words or 2k words, I promise myself a night off to read.

I also typically have big rewards for big goals. Currently my big goal is to finish the first draft of HB2. My big reward for finishing will be a week of guilt free time to play SIMS 3. I’m moving along at a nice pace, but it’s going to be close. The game releases next week (and the hubby preordered it for me back at my birthday,) so I know I have to finish soon. Very soon.

I’m nearing the goal, the dangling reward is within reach, and my productivity has tripled (maybe I should set shorted deadlines in the future.) Just days left now . . .

Do you reward yourself for reaching goals? What kinds of rewards?

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