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Forums Other Discussions General Business Do You Motivate Yourself With Rewards? Share Them Here.

This topic contains 12 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Jennifer Mattern 4 months ago.

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  • #27939

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    A while ago I wrote a post about using gamification strategies to make freelance writing more fun. Basically you find ways to motivate yourself to reach goals or get through projects using game principles — competition, rewards, points systems, or other ways to challenge yourself.

    In this thread, I’d like to focus on rewards.

    Do you set rewards for certain goals (this can be for freelance writing, publishing projects, or even blogging)? If so, let’s all share some of our rewards ideas here so we can give others a place to start setting up a rewards system of their own.

    Here are a few examples of my own:

    • When I finish the rough draft of a book manuscript, I order a dozen chocolate covered figs from John & Kira’s.
    • If I have a tough project to get through, I’ll sometimes reward myself with a new book (or a few).
    • Finishing a book (final draft) might warrant a weekend getaway to the Sayre Mansion’s library suite (a perfect place for a writer’s retreat to jump right into the next book).

    Then there are smaller rewards from time in the garden to a nap. Those are for smaller things I need extra motivation to push through (like a blog post I don’t feel like writing at the moment or getting through an extra chapter of edits in a manuscript).

    What about you? What kinds of rewards motivate you? Do you focus on small goals and rewards, or do grander rewards motivate you better over the long haul?

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27943
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    I started setting myself reward-based targets as a way to curb my tendency to procrastinate . . . I’ll just make another cuppa . . . ooh, look at the bird outside . . . let’s see what’s happening on Facebook . . . the cat looks super cuddly right now! That kind of thing.

    I started off by setting myself a target to work for a set number of hours, without any procrastination, and when I achieved it I rewarded myself by booking the holiday to Amsterdam I’d been talking about with my boyfriend – instead of just looking at all of the Amsterdam restaurants on Tripadvisor (more procrastination!).

    Obviously, booking holidays isn’t a way to reward myself regularly (I wish!), but I’ve continued with smaller rewards (a nap, catching up on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy etc.) and I find it’s really helped me to cut out the procrastination.

    #27947

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    Ha! Been there, done that. I know I’m getting bad when I start snapping pictures of the pets and posting them online. ;)

    I’m jealous. You really do think big. :)  With hubby working a traditional day job on top of his own business (and mine), it can be tough for us to schedule enough time off for the bigger vacations we want to take. So our plan is to keep growing his business so he can do that exclusively in a few more years. And when we get to that point we’ll both be able to work from anywhere which will free things up a good bit. At that point the goal is to go to Europe for a while. We’ll probably only take trips for a week or two at a time at first. But if we’re lucky enough to have kids (trying to start a family has been a tough road so far), we’d like to spend anywhere from a few months to a few years in the UK as soon as the kids are old enough to appreciate it. Our dream, so to speak, would be to have a place there while keeping a house here, so we could travel more freely between both. No time soon, but that’s my huge long-term reward if we reach the financial goals to make it happen.

    A good option for the excursion-minded might be to come up with a list of day trips you can take closer to home, or even shorter weekend getaways. They don’t have to cost a fortune, and they’re easier to squeeze into the schedule. Our favorite is to drive up to Connecticut. There’s a little town along the coast that we love to visit each year, and we drive up the coast from there to a fantastic used book store (yes, we travel 5 hours from home to visit a used bookstore). :)  That’s a weekend trip for us. But for a day trip we might drive to Philly or NYC to do something, visit some gorgeous gardens near us, go to an amusement park, etc. We’re not really beach people, but a day trip to the beach could be another good option for some. :)  It all depends what’s around you.

     

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27949
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    That’s a fantastic goal! Have you got anywhere in particular in the UK in mind?

    We love, love, love our holidays, we’ve always aimed for 1 European mini-break, one further afield and a number of UK weekend breaks every year. It’s easier for me now because I used to work in the Finance industry so month-ends and year-ends were no-nos for me having time off work. I couldn’t have more than a couple of days at a time off between November and February because I was in charge of dealing with the year end auditors, which seriously limited some of our holiday choices (India for example, where we both love). We don’t, and won’t, have kids, so all we have to worry about is getting someone to look after the cat.

    Now the only limit we have is my boyfriend’s holiday entitlement – I keep coming up with all these great ideas and he has to keep reminding me that he only has a set amount of days! Our long term goal has always been to sell the house at some point and live on a houseboat, so he’s working on something he can do from anywhere too :)

    #27950

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    I’d like to spend some time around London. But I’m even more interested in the English countryside as well as a few areas in Ireland and Scotland. I’m a big family history buff, and I learned (just a few years back) that quite a bit of my mom’s side of the family came from England. The town I mentioned in Connecticut is actually related to that. My ancestors who came from England were some of the founding families (and even direct founders) of several towns and cities up there in New England. The town I visit is one a Puritan minister ancestor of mine founded. I originally went there to do genealogical research in their library, but I fell in love with the place. That’s the biggest reason I want to spend time in the UK — to see some of the areas where my family came from. :)

    I’m very lucky in that I was born a dual citizen (Germany and the U.S.) thanks to my grandfather (on the other side of my family). So while we’ll have to figure out the travel issues for my hubby, I and any future kids will have a much easier time with extended stays over there because of that.

    Not sure my stomach could handle living on a houseboat, but I’ll admit that sounds like an awesome plan. Is that something you’re actively working towards, taking steps now to make it happen later? Or is that still in the “dream” phase? (Nothing wrong with either — goodness knows we have plenty of dreams over here!) :)

    What would you say average yearly vacation time is over there? Or does it vary widely depending on the job? Hubby and I were just talking about his tonight, and how disappointing it is. It’s especially frustrating for me because I’ve spent so much time building a business where I could pick up and go on a whim. So it’s tough to know we’re still tied down by his vacation time limits (which are absurdly low in my opinion — just two weeks each year for a high enough level position that I’d expect around twice that). He’ll get more in a few years. But after a few years it won’t matter because he’s planning on running his own business full-time. So I feel your pain. It’s tough to be self-employed and have that extra freedom limited by someone else’s work schedule. Hopefully both of our guys will be free of those limits eventually. :)

    And can I just say, I am totally jealous that you can take “European mini-breaks” so much easier? This is where I stomp my feet and pout about how unfair it is. ;)  I’d love to see so much over there — the UK, Germany, France (better brush up on my French first), and Greece top my list.  If you don’t mind me being overly nosy, where do you two like to travel most over there?

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27957
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    The houseboat is kind of still in the dream stages, his mom and stepdad have lived on one for about 10 years, so we know the drill, the ups and downs etc, and we’re still up for it :)

    I used to get 27 days holiday (plus bank holidays), my other half gets 32 days (but bank holidays are included in that, and he gets the choice to whether he works them or has them off).  Your hubby gets TWO WEEKS?! That’s shocking, we have statutory paid holiday over here, not sure exactly what it is but it’s over 20 days.

    Sooo, European holidays . . . over the last few years we’ve done ‘typical’ city breaks (Florence, Barcelona, Amsterdam etc.), plus longer holidays in places like the Greek islands, Turkey (not technically Europe!) and Italy (spent 10 days in the Garfagnana region of Italy last year – heaven). And like you said, it’s so easy to ‘pop over’ to places – when we went to Amsterdam last weekend it was a 50 minute flight!

    #27962

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    It’s great that you’ll have their experience to pull from in the process. :)

    And yes, two weeks. And that’s for a senior level developer position. Pay is good. But the vacation time sucks. It limits us far too much. With me working only 4 days a week, I essentially take 52 days off each year just with my usual schedule (not counting holidays, extra personal days, sick days, vacation time, etc.). So the thought of working all but two weeks seems insane to me. But it’s a part of the reason he started his own business. He likes what he sees in my schedule and flexibility and he wants the same. His business is going well so far and he could probably freelance full-time in another year if he wanted to. But he doesn’t want to give up his day job until he has a few products of his own for sale bringing in more reliable income without relying solely on clients. So, in the meantime, we put up with it.

    That must be so nice. Sure, there are plenty of places we can visit in the U.S. We’re driving distance from Philadelphia, NYC, Washington DC, and even Boston for example. But you don’t have the same kind of history and cultural variations here as you would throughout Europe. And that’s what I’m looking for. Hubs and I might really have to reconsider our timeframe (waiting to have kids and have them probably hit 10 yrs old before moving or doing extensive traveling). You’ve just increased my envy ten-fold I think. ;)

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27968
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Eek, we’d really struggle if one of us only had 2 weeks holiday. Apart from actually travelling we do lots of last minute festival trips, gigs, camping etc., so we’d always need a day here and a day there. At least he’s got a plan, a plan is ALWAYS good! From the age of about 7 I used to say “I want to be a wriiiiiiiiiiter!”, and it took till I was 30-mumble-something to actually think about doing something about it!

    Tell you what, let’s do a 6 month house swap. You can have a base for travelling in Europe, and we can have a base for the US! We’d love to spend a few weeks driving around the Deep South, plus Boston is on our wishlist (mainly for the music scene!), the Florida Keys, and so on. I haven’t been to America since I was 12, and there are so many places I’d love to visit there. Deal?! ;)

     

    #27972

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    LOL My hubby is far too paranoid for something like that.   ;)

    I wish I could tell you those places in the U.S. you mentioned are awesome. But honestly, never been. Of those, Boston tops my list. But it’s a 5-6 hour drive, and with three closer major cities it just hasn’t made it into our plans yet.

    As for getting into a writing career, better late than never! :)  I ended up going full circle somehow. As a teenager I wanted to be a writer — even penned a novel draft (lost in a house fire). Went to school to study engineering instead. Switched majors and got into public relations. And that led me back to writing. I wrote for professors and such while in school, but didn’t take it seriously as my main career path until getting fed up with traditional work environments a few years down the line.

     

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27978
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Yes, I think I just fell into something (credit control/finance) that I was great at, so I stuck at it, and lost sight of my dreams for a while. All through my career I had people telling me I wasn’t the type of person they expected to work in that industry (creative, hate maths, crazy hair colours, lots of tattoos, have an innate need to go against authority!), and I was once told by a boss “You work in Finance, you’re supposed to be boring!” – in a serious, cross way.

    When my website was finally up and running my Mom cried (in a good way :)) and dug out a box of ‘books’ that I’d written as a child, all pieces of paper stapled together. Hopefully I’ll manage something more professional now ;)

    My plan for the next couple of years is to definitely to visit the US, I’ll keep you posted! The boyfriend’s very ‘careful’ with money (which isn’t a bad thing, I’m only debt-free because of his nagging . . . I mean, advice), he doesn’t mind the cost of flights to India because it’s cheap once you’re there, so I’m working on him for America! We have a holiday savings fund which we both pay quite a bit into each month, and that’s what we use for all our trips.

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