Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How do you reward yourself for tasks?

Another conference has come and gone, with its checklist of things both stressful and happy:

  • Anticipation--or, let's call it by its real name, anxiety--about getting ready crowding out other thoughts and writing: check.
  • Getting up and/or getting to bed at ungodly hours so that you can make the plane: check.
  • The huge wave of relief after your presentation is done and it goes well: check.
  • Walking around a city and seeing a little bit of the sights: check.
Well, you all know the drill.  But a long time ago I made some kind of implicit pact that the day after getting back from a conference would be a day, or at least a morning, of wild abandon rather than more work.

Here is what "wild abandon" looks like:
  • Sleep in until natural waking time (5:30 a.m.). 
  • Watch Mad Men. Eat lots of breakfast. 
  • Find half-empty bag of Guittard milk chocolate chips and eat them all up.  Yes, in the morning. What? Who says breakfast can't have dessert?  
  • Watch a Barbara Stanwyck movie. 
  • Watch more Mad Men. 
  • At noon, go into the study and start clearing out files for the next project. 
  • Go for a walk.
Now, this doesn't exactly measure up to a scene of wild debauchery, but it has so many elements of academic transgression--television in the morning! Chocolate!--that it did feel like a reward. 

How do you reward yourself for doing things that are good for you but not exactly fun? 


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I wish I had a bright idea about rewards.

How do you get to bed early enough to get up at 5:30? I love getting up early but going to bed early is usually a massive Fail, partly because I live with an Owl and get no social cues for early bedtime.

undine said...

Dame Eleanor--well, I don't get a lot of sleep :). I try to get to bed early but evening is more naturally productive than morning, so I often stay up too late. The 5:30 a.m. wakeup apparently isn't something I can easily change.

Flavia said...

Like you, I essentially just give myself a day off. I sleep in (I'm a champion sleeper, especially after travel and when my sleep reserves are depleted) until at least 10, maybe go to the gym, run errands, putter, and spend the afternoon or evening reading back issues of magazines or a novel.

And sweets for breakfast: definitely.

Kevin Marshall said...
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Anonymous said...

I don't think in terms of rewards or of work as non-fun, perhaps this is part of my non christian upbringing.

I say instead one should live well every day and take time off when needed but people say this makes me "decadent" (not committed enough to suffering or to appearing to suffer).

Right now I am going to leave campus and go to a luxurious gym, for instance, but I am not thinking of it as a "reward" but as another of the things I am doing today.