Monday, June 13, 2011

Rewards

by Tawny

I love rewards. I'm a fan of using bribes to get myself to work hard. M&M's are a regular staple on my desk, not just for tossing at my kids when I'm in the middle of a scene and can't be interrupted, but for that end of a page celebration. When I finish an entire book, I reward myself with a massage - which is both indulgent and necessary since I'm usually tied in knots by the time I hit 65k words. I reward myself --and commemorate-- each book contract with a new pair of shoes.

My kids love end of the school year rewards. It could be a trip to the beach, a day at the bookstore or just a cuddle on the couch movie day with popcorn, as long as we call it a reward. They love that acknowledgment of hard work (and believe me, my kids consider school lots of hard work worth acknowledging LOL) .

My husband considers the first day of the weekend his (as opposed to mine via a honey-do list) as a reward for working hard all week. He's pretty easygoing about changing that day around if necessary, but he does like at least 4 hours to just chill and unwind.

So I started thinking about rewards. Are they indulgences? I just said to my daughter tonight 'You can't be rewarded for every thing you do. Doing a good job is supposed to be it's own reward." But then I think about denying myself my own rewards and get a little pouty :-D

So what do you think? Are you a fan of rewards? Or do you think they are an overindulgence?

52 comments:

barb said...

I think he may have missed the cold so is he on his way back LOL

barb said...

I will get the tim tams out for him and have the heater on

Hi Tawny,
I do think you should get rewards when you finish a book or do a good job but I don't think you should get rewards for everything you do or at least the kids as they will never do anything without rewards

Anna Campbell said...

Gosh, Barb, he must like winter weather. He's hardly been away from you and Helen at all lately.

Tawny, I definitely work on rewards. Sometimes when I'm struggling on page count, even doing housework counts as reward. I'm just about to go and wash up because I got a couple of pages done. Shows you today hasn't exactly been a day of sparkling productivity, doesn't it? Snort!

By the way, pretty photos. Love the beach one!

Tawny said...

Happy Rooster Sitting, Barb :-) I hope you have good plans for that wily bird today!

I'm with you on the idea that kids have to learn to work without rewards. When they were younger, mine heard that friends were paid to do chores. I said no way - you live in the house, you do your part in helping out.

Tawny said...

Anna :-) I should have known you'd be right here with me in line for rewards :-) Yay on the pages - a couple is better than none, right?! I hope you have a great day celebrating your progress :-)

marybelle said...

For me it depends on what the reward is & why it is deserved. You can't reward every little thing, but I do believe there is a definite need to treat yourself for a job well done.

June M. said...

Definately love rewards when they are hard earned! I am working on saving for a Kindle (almost there!) as a reward for myself for quitting smoking after over 20 years (I started smoking at age 13--stupid, stupid, STUPID) and finally quit just before my 36th birthday. I have now gone over 6 months without smoking (Yea!) and definately think that I should reward myself!

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Barb.

Hi Tawny,
I do reward myself every so often when I feel I am deserving of it. I like to buy purses and make-up as rewards. I do see kids getting more rewards nowadays. I see my cousin buying toys and sweets for her daughter for every little thing she does.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Tawny, lovely blog. I think I'll take a leaf out of your book with the massage reward--it's either that or many visits to the physiotherapist!

If I had M&Ms at my desk I'd just eat them all, so I can't do that sort of thing but I really should set page goals and reward myself with something non-fattening. Maybe rent a DVD or go out to coffee with a friend.

I shall be rewarding myself for a recent weight loss with some new clothes in NYC!

Congrats on the rooster, Barb!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I was raised with more the idiom of a job well done is it's own reward...I don't agree with that. In my case if my son does something on his own, without being told, one way or the other he will get a reward, might not be much but something special. If I have to tell him to do something 300 times before it gets done then he gets nada.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Tawny. I'm not one for rewarding every little thing either! But I do like to incentivise myself to get through the tough writing days *g* - besides, finishing a book isn't just an ordinary thing!

I believe in rewarding hard work and good effort, but it doesn't always have to be a prize. When I was a teacher, pupils would collect house points for good work/effort and when they had a certain number they'd get a little prize.

MsHellion said...

I work on a reward system: I get paid, or I get praised, or I get SOMETHING for my effort. I always have. If I worked hard in school, I got an "A". That's a reward system.

Now I don't buy myself a new pair of shoes every time I clean my kitchen, but it does feel like I've earned a half hour of relaxing on my couch and reading my book--which I reward myself with. Oh, fine, so I take a full hour....

The uncommonness of the project merits a bigger prize.

Though I have to admit, I do belong to a massage club (not as kinky as that sounds) so I get a massage a month, and I don't do anything to "earn" it other than being my over-acting, tense, neurotic self I've always been. If I don't go, my muscles become petrified like those redwood trees. It's scary.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Tawny -

I believe in rewards - heck, just catching up on all I've put off to finish a book is a reward in itself. Otherwise I like rewards that will hold memories. I have a friend that buys a piece of jewelry for every book sold. I like that.

Susan Sey said...

I'm huge on rewarding myself. Just yesterday the kids & I celebrated our first real day of summer vacation by going to the library, picking up a huge basket of books, then going to our favorite lunch spot & reading through a decadent lunch out. (What can I say? I've raised 'em right.)

So yeah, I'm all about the reward. I never thought about throwing M & M s at them while I"m trying to work but I will now. That's a great idea.

Becke Davis said...

I'm all about overindulgence and rewards.

When I sold my first gardening book, I rewarded myself with two fabulous reading chairs. The reward for book two was a pair of elegant evergreens for my front yard.

I lust over some quasi-designer bags but won't allow myself to even look at them until I sell a book. That's going to be my reward - although, with the price of some of those bags, I could end up spending more than I make!

Joan said...

I reward myself with a Tawny Weber book!

And chocolate. From Godiva. Oh Yeah

jo robertson said...

Good topic, Tawny. Rewards are an important motivation, I think. I wish I didn't need to reward myself with sweet treats though.

The school where I taught had a no-food-in-classrooms policy (for obvious reasons), but I always lifted the ban during finals week. I remember how I used to take either Skittles or M&M into a final and reward myself with ONE every time I answered a question LOL.

jo robertson said...

Anna said, "Sometimes when I'm struggling on page count, even doing housework counts as reward."

Bite your forked tongue, Anna!

jo robertson said...

Yay for you June!!! That's an accomplishment that should be widely celebrated! And you'll love your Kindle.

jo robertson said...

Ms Hellion, you definitely deserve that monthly massage!

p226 said...

I try to make as much of my life as possible consist of "rewards." That may be spending multiple days or evenings on the range shooting, it might be fishing after work, it might be whatever. And if it's overindulgence, so be it. We get to live this life exactly once. Why not make as much time as possible as rewarding as it can be? Why not spend as much time as you can doing things you enjoy?

You have to balance the bill-paying productivity with that enjoyment, but in the end, why withhold that enjoyment unless it's absolutely necessary?

Take my lawn, for example. Prior to this weekend, the grass was sufficiently high that pygmies had set up tribal boundaries. I was catching blow-darts in the ass just walking in and out of my front door. I could see the smoke from their tribal fires wafting over the canopy. (Yes, my lawn had a canopy.)

Why? Because mowing the lawn sucks. Shooting, fishing, or just siting on the porch with the Mrs., a icy cold beer, and a $20 cigar do NOT suck. Yeah, my neighbors might find it unsightly. But in 1000 years, no archaeologist will ever be able to tell whether my neighbors lawn looked better than mine. And in the end, I got to enjoy a cold beer and a damned good cigar.

Sunday, I mowed. Why? No clue. I really could care less. It just seemed like the thing to do at the time.

Life's too short. It should always be rewarding.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I'm with you Tawny. Rewards are mandatory in my house. Grins.

I reward myself with "book treats" - other people's wonderful work - and with massages as well. The massage thing is SO necessary, I agree on that for sure. If you're on deadline and sitting for hours...yeah. You can't help but hunch over that keyboard sometimes. :> Killer on the back.

My kids love that I have a "reward" philosophy. As you can well guess.

Maria said...

I like rewards:)

Unfortunately my co-workers do too and they have eaten all of my M&M's...will have to go buy more

p226 said...

Unfortunately my co-workers do too and they have eaten all of my M&M's...will have to go buy more

I solved that problem by replacing my m&ms with jelly beans. Except, they were those Harry Potter novelty beans that taste like grass, anchovy, vomit, dirt, earwax, etc....

People stopped dipping into my candy stash after that.

Tawny said...

I'm with you, Marybelle. I think the size and scope of the reward need to be in keeping with the size and scope of the accomplishment :-)

Tawny said...

June, you definitely deserve a huge reward for such a major undertaking!! Congratulations on quitting smoking. YAY that is so awesome - I'm proud of you. I've watched family members fight that fight and it looks like a tough one -and one definitely in need of a major reward!!!!

Tawny said...

Hey Jane :-)

I actually consider my makeup a kindness to humanity as I don't want to scare people by going without *g* so that's a necessity rather than a reward. But purses? Oh there are some gorgeous ones out there. I've resisted letting myself get too enamored as I think it'd be something so easy to become addicted to.

And like you say when kids (and adults) are rewarded for every little thing, it loses it's point. Then its just stuff... not a reward.

Joan said...

p226. Gotta ask...how many pygmies were lost?

:D

Tawny said...

Christine, the massages are so wonderful for working out the kinks (not the kind I need to write, tho *g*) and the issues I get with carpal tunnel from too much typing. I've come to regard them as a necessity as much as a reward!!! I think you need to do the same :-) \

Non fattening rewards are definitely a smarter idea than the M&Ms :-D I figure with M&Ms though, I'm not major junkie so one or two give me the chocolate buzz and I'm fine stopping there. I should think up a better non food reward for the pages, though, huh?

I love your clothes reward!! Wonderful way to celebrate weight loss.

Tawny said...

Dianna, I hear ya :-) And often, a hug from mom and some loving words of appreciation are all the reward they are looking for. Although if I threw in a Pokemon figure or plushie, I'm sure my daughter would love that, too LOL.

p226 said...

Gotta ask...how many pygmies were lost?

Most of them were taken out in the air strikes.

Tawny said...

Anna, sometimes incentives are all we've got *g* I know finishing the book should be incentive enough. And man, oh man, a deadline is a major incentive. But those little rewards do help make the work a little easier, don't they? :-)

I've done similar accumulated point rewards with my kids. I actually think it's a good way to help teach long-term focus and behavior strategies.

Tawny said...

LOL Ms. Hellion ;-) I think a full hour is a good reward. And yeah, I'm with you - the reward doesn't have to be separate and tangible. A high grade is a logical reward for hard work in school, just as a promotion is a logical reward for hard work at, well, work :-D

Big stuff deserves big stuff!

I do the monthly massage program, too, although I'm a horrible flake at it and during a book never remember to go :-D So at the end of 4 months, I have back to back massages LOL. It is a good thing, isn't it?!

Tawny said...

Donna, I think jewelry for books sold is a great reward. I remember before I'd sold, one gal did charm brackets, with a charm for each book she sold. It was so cool.

But even with all my piercings, I don't tend to wear (well, change out) much jewelry, so I go for shoes. I don't wear more than two of those at at time, either, but they work better for me somehow LOL.

Tawny said...

Susan, what a great reward for you and the kids! I'm a fan of anything that includes books :-D

Tawny said...

LOL Becke, I hear you on the cost of some rewards. When I sold my first book, I bought a nice executive office chair. I considered it a reward to my butt *g*

I love that you are all about the overindulgence :-D

Tawny said...

Awwww, JoanieT - you are so sweet :-D

Tawny said...

Jo, I need to come up with non-food rewards for writing. I've tried a iPad game break, but I get so competitive I won't stop until I beat the round, and then I've lost the thread and gist of the story. Same with TV or anything that takes my attention away from the story.

So I need ideas. A simple, non-food, non-moving out of the chair reward.

*g* I'm stumped. And, now, craving Skittles.

Helen said...

Well done Barbara I will be down for a cuppa

Tawny

I do think to degree that we should be rewarded for things that we have done but I think that sometimes people will go overborad LOL but if I want something I normally will get it if money permits of course LOL.
I have over the years rewarded by children and now grandchildren for a job well done and enjoy doing it

Have Fun
Helen

Tawny said...

Life's too short. It should always be rewarding.

Wise and true words, oh man of the lawn mower!!!

btw, I have this vision of getting you and my husband together. You have so much in common. But I'd be afraid of the two of you disappearing into the pygmie jungle and not coming out for weeks.

Tawny said...

LOL Jeanne, I thing you just justified massages out of the reward category and into the medical necessity category :-D

Now we have to come up with new reward ideas!!

Tawny said...

Unfortunately my co-workers do too and they have eaten all of my M&M's...will have to go buy more

Ack - no! No sharing rewards LOL. Not unless they replace them and reward you with more M&Ms. Or even better, Sees.

Tawny said...

I solved that problem by replacing my m&ms with jelly beans. Except, they were those Harry Potter novelty beans that taste like grass, anchovy, vomit, dirt, earwax, etc....

People stopped dipping into my candy stash after that.


ROFLMAO :-D Wise, strategic thinking!!! Those things are nasty. Right up there with Jelly Belly buttered popcorn.

Tawny said...

Helen, isn't the giving of a reward just as satisfying as getting one? I love that!!!

And I'm with you - I tend to get what I need when I need it if I can afford it. So I look to other things for rewards, like the trips to the bookstore with the kids, or a movie night with no internet allowed *g*

flchen1 said...

I think rewards can be a helpful way to help motivate, but I agree that having them for every little thing can make them useless. I don't think kids should be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to--behave reasonably well, finish homework, help with housework, etc. They can be rewarded for doing an amazing job with any of those things, or for doing something that isn't a gotta do, but that I want them to...

And I'm with you--buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Belly jellybeans are horrible. Those are more like a punishment.

Books always work for me, and are starting to be the reward of choice for DD... The boys have other enticements...

Louisa Cornell said...

A heater and Tim Tams! Might be worth making the trip Down Under Barb! It is in the 90's here so a bit of cold sounds good!

If it weren't for the rewards I would never get anything done! Those M&M's on the desk work really well for me most days.

I'm with P226. Life is short and I go as long as I can without some things in order to get the big payoff later. But sometimes I just want to indulge!

My annual trip to RWA is my big reward to me for sticking out another year at my day job and for STILL being in there trying to get published.

And I'll see your Pygmies, P226 and raise you Jurassic Park sized mosquitoes (Teradactitoes) and a strange tribe of puppy-sized crickets who are massing in the uncut sections of my five acres with what I am sure are nefarious purposes in mind.

Tawny said...

YAY, another non-buttered popcorn jelly bean eater :-) I'd almost (almost, I say) rather eat the nasty Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans ones than that. Almost.

How awesome that your daughter is starting to see books as a reward -it's such a perfect treat :-) I love that!!!

And like you say, some things shouldn't require a reward, but when they get it, it's that much more special :-) I love special.

Tawny said...

Louisa, after wondering if we'd ever see summer, it hit the mid=90s here today. I actually enjoyed the warmth :-) I'm sure after a week of this I'll be done, but for now it's nice.

That is so cool that you see the RWA conference as a reward. I'll bet it adds that much more fun and glow to the entire event, doesn't it?

And hey -maybe that's where P226's pygmies went... off to hunt in your yard???

Pat Cochran said...

I try to take the middle of the road
in this situation but sometimes find
I overdo the "grandmother thing."

Pat Cochran

LilMissMolly said...

I love rewards and free giveaways. :) There is nothing like going to a professional ball game - albeit soccer, baseball or football where the 1st 1,000 fans get a free hat, scarf - you name it. I just love that!

Tawny said...

Pat, I know my grandma always had a much more fun middle ground on rewards than my mom did LOL. But now that my mom is a gramma, her middle ground -yep- is a lot more rewarding with her grand-kids than it was with her kids.

I'm actually looking forward to being a gramma for just that reason :-D Spoiling rights, baby!!!

Tawny said...

LOL LilMissMolly -I have to admit, I've never won anything like that but it does sound like a lot of fun and a great incentive to be on time to the game.