I’m a big fan of lists of all kinds. When I am writing, I keep a list of ideas and scenes or even phrases or sentences I want to use at the bottom of the Word document I am writing in, and when I’m stuck, I drop down to the bottom and root around until I find something good.
For daily life and errands, I’m all about the to-do list. I take such satisfaction in crossing things off that I have been known to put things on the list I have already done, just so I can cross them off.
But, like most people, I also have a tendency to procrastinate, and sometimes I need a little more satisfaction than crossing something off a list.
I’m a carrot person, so I like to reward myself for doing things. I’ve probably mentioned before that The Weird Sisters was powered by Dairy Queen – when I finished a chapter, J.C. would take me out for ice cream (I highly recommend this if you are trying to increase the size of your manuscript and the size of your behind at the same time). Going to the gym when I’m really not feeling like it can earn me a new song from iTunes. I might promise myself that if I only clean out my email inbox, I can spend a half-hour or so playing a video game.
Speaking of video games, my friend Amanda uses an iPhone app called Epic Win that is like a to-do list and video game combined – you can earn points by doing tasks. The more odious the task, the more points you get.
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a reward that’s motivating enough for something I don’t really want to do, but I’ve never really tried to punish myself, either.
What about you? Are you a carrot (reward) or stick (punishment) person? And what are your favorite rewards for a job well-done (or at least done!).