Friday, July 15, 2011

Rewarding Your Hard Work - The Friday Challenge

Some of you have jobs with real time constraints and buses to take and pay packets and bosses. Some of you may be self-employed. You still have time constraints for you have clients or customers who want what they want when they want it. Some of you may be a step removed from that - you may work at home, beavering away on your most recent opus - whether it be a novel or a painting or a piece of physical comedy you hope will make it to Ed Sullivan (no, wait, he's dead) Oprah.
When we have straight jobs, there is often a built in reward - beyond our pay, that is. We may get a bonus if the company is doing well, or we may get a review of how we've been working. I've had that in the past. You are taken out for a coffee, perhaps, and your supervisor/boss tells you how you're doing. Or you get a raise. If you are really really lucky - you work for a company that believes in rewarding workers often if only in small ways. You're lucky because that is the type of thing which is the best according to all studies.
If, however, you don't have that, or you are an entrepreneur or have a home-based business, or are a writer, for instance, you probably don't get enough feed-back on how you're doing.
This is where this Friday's Challenge comes in.
Today's challenge is for you to find small ways to reward yourself for the changes you are making or the work you are ploughing through.
Following on the Kaizen approach - here are the qualities to look for as you design your reward:

  1. It should be suitable for the goal you have in mind. For instance, I'm revising like a mad fiend. It is hard work (whine whine). I need a small reward for my daily or weekly progress. I think a good and appropriate reward would be for me to be able to watch a television show (on disc - we don't get any stations) after a day of revising. After a week of meeting my revising deadlines, I think I would like to go for a canoe ride.
  2. It needs to suit you. Watching TV wouldn't suit many of my friends. They simply don't get why I like such vacuous entertainment. Fine. Same for going out in the canoe - not every one's idea of a fun time.For me it is good.
  3. The reward should be free or inexpensive. Look no farther than your own home to see what is a treat. The reason that cigarettes were a hard habit for me to break as a young mother, was that the time I spent smoking was for me. Not that I'm suggesting smoking. I'm just saying that a small reward needn't be a big deal.
Beyond these three things, all inspired by The Kaizen Way - (link to a youtube video with Robert Maurer, author), it is important for writers to find community. This could be a community of peers who have varied skills and levels of achievement, who can challenge us, encourage us and be inspiring to us -as we will to them. We can find this community on-line, as many of us have, or in the larger community around us - the important thing is to ask for the positive strokes we need and to also be open to critiquing. Both in balance.

How might you reward your hard work? 


Richard said...

For some reason I don't feel deprived by working, that is writing and blogging (I'm retired), so I don't need little rewards for doing what I enjoy doing. Doing it is rewarding in and of itself. But that's because I'm doing what I love now. Up to a year or so ago, when I was still working for my employer, I wasn't very happy. So, now I'm happy. What more could I ask for.

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Richard - I get you. Your reward is in the doing. I'm like that with my writing for the most part - but revising seems like harder work and as I'm not accumulating word count, has no inherent reward!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These are good tips, Jan! I particularly like the way you've suggested the rewards...and that they should be inexpensive and suited to the goal we met. Thanks!

Jan Morrison said...

You're welcome Elizabeth. Your comments are a reward for my work on posts!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I like to reward my writing accomplishments with an evening watching a movie and scrapbooking. I find it hard to relax in the evenings if I haven't accomplished anything with my writing, so it's deeply satisfying to get that evening to relax and feel like I earned it.