Rewarding yourself for accomplishmentsI'm a big fan of setting goals, but I'm also a big fan of rewarding yourself for meeting those goals. These rewards should be on a par with what you've accomplished -- small rewards (a piece of chocolate) for small accomplishments and large ones (a spa day) for bigger ones. For instance, I've been working on a new book this week, and thankfully I've surpassed my daily goal each day. As a reward, I get to watch a movie each night. Not big, but it's a nice incentive. If I've met the goal, I can take those couple of hours for myself guilt-free.
You can break it down into mini-rewards for mini-goals throughout the day. Though I'm going to use writing examples, you can adjust them to whatever you need to get done each day. I've found that writing in set time slots works well. For instance, I look at the clock. Say, it's sitting at 8:30 a.m. I make a deal with myself that if I write until 9:30, I can get up and do other things -- get something to eat, take a short walk, check e-mail. But limit the reward time to perhaps 10-15 minutes so that you can get in another writing (or house cleaning or paperwork or whatever) spurt. Or you could say, I can take that break/reward when I've written five pages (or cleaned the bathrooms). This is a good way to increase production while also tricking your brain into thinking, "I only have to do X before I get a treat."
That's small rewards. On the other end of the spectrum, there are bigger rewards for bigger accomplishments. Finish a book or complete a demanding project at work or finish painting the house? Take a totally guilt-free spa day or a day filled with a movie, lunch and shopping with friends. I like to do this between projects to get away from the computer for a day. If you've been getting lots accomplished for a good amount of time, maybe you deserve a beach vacation. I have lots of friends who when they sold their first books, they rewarded themselves with something like a really nice piece of jewelry. When I sold my first book, I bought myself a TiVo! No more appointment TV! :)
It's important to reward ourselves for good behavior. Hey, we start this practice young for children, so why stop when we're adults. It helps us accomplish more and feel good about ourselves in the process. So get out there and accomplish great things...and then reward yourself.