With the new year upon us, many people are setting themselves up with resolutions. I have never been one to make new year resolutions. I always thought that if there is something I want to improve, I can do it now. I can start anytime. I don't have to wait for a specific date like New Year's Day to commence.
I do have a hard time staying on track, though. Not so much with resolutions I have made for myself, but with creative tasks and goals I have. One way to combat procrastination is to set up incentives. I have never been very good at doing this. I am not driven in that way. Once I reach a goal, I move on. I do not take time to congratulate myself for a job well done, or take a moment to reflect on all that I have accomplished on the journey to my end goal. I merely move onto the next task at hand that gets me closer to the next goal to achieve, and so on. But my rhythm gets interrupted- A LOT.
I have been trying to implement incentives this past year to help reduce procrastination and get tasks done more efficiently, while being mindful of the process and journey. I have not been very successful. From the beginning of 2022, I set myself up for failure. My goals were huge and needed so much more time than I was allowing myself to complete them. My incentives were lofty and unobtainable. I couldn't afford to buy a new computer, or industrial serger, or go on a trip every time I completed a task, or reached a goal. I failed to complete my tasks week after week, sometimes pushing my goals out for months. It took me most of 10 months to figure out I why was still continually disappointed and unfulfilled with not being able to reap the benefits of my incentives. I finally realized I needed incentives that weren't monetarily motivated. I decided the best incentives are having permission to do things I normally do not allow myself the precious time to do. For example, I could enjoy an entire day of reading guilt free; I could spend an afternoon spinning yarn with a friend; I could have that massage; or go for a coffee without looking at the long list on my to-do items. I turned my incentives into valuing time and people.
I am always fighting with time. I'm often stressed because of the lack of time, which was why I wanted to implement incentives and encourage myself away from too much procrastination in the first place. I do believe some procrastination can be helpful to clear one's head, but incentives guide us back to the important jobs at hand, and can aid in getting focused and using time more efficiently. When we use time practically, we have more hours to do the things of value, the things that make us happy like reading, or spinning, or getting coffee with friends. Now that I have figured out what incentives work for me, I plan on trying the process again in 2023 and hope for better results!
Do you work with incentives? What kinds of incentives do you set for yourself? Comment below!