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How I hacked my dopamine to train and reward desired work behaviors and halt procrastination

ProcessPro

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I've been using peanut butter m&m's and its working great. However, it only works great when I have a list of tasks that have "come to me." I.E. people message me or I have a project come in. I have an established business where people come to me, so I've been on cruise control working 1-2 hrs a day for quite a few months now.

This reward system doesn't help me do things to "progress" my business. I get done what "came to me" that day and then I feel like my list is over and I do nothing the rest of the day. Can't bring myself to build out my business or start a new one, partly because I don't even know what the next step is.

That's it... when I know what the next step is, I can use this reward system. When I have no idea, this doesn't work anymore.

Any thoughts?
You might have to incorporate things that you really crave as rewards, i.e. true rewards and make them contingent upon doing the work first. It's an additional challenge when you have to regulate the reward yourself. It would be better to have someone else be in control of that so as to reward you only when you've met your commitment. I'd give this some thought as a start.
 

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reedracer

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I've been using peanut butter m&m's and its working great. However, it only works great when I have a list of tasks that have "come to me." I.E. people message me or I have a project come in. I have an established business where people come to me, so I've been on cruise control working 1-2 hrs a day for quite a few months now.

This reward system doesn't help me do things to "progress" my business. I get done what "came to me" that day and then I feel like my list is over and I do nothing the rest of the day. Can't bring myself to build out my business or start a new one, partly because I don't even know what the next step is.

That's it... when I know what the next step is, I can use this reward system. When I have no idea, this doesn't work anymore.

Any thoughts?
I've been thinking about this as well. 1. I don't want to associate good habits with sugar and 2. I want to make the reward match the habit.
Right now I'm thinking about a system similar to Starbucks points or air miles.
Create a list of rewards, a massage, new shoes, an afternoon at the movies, a trip to Eirie to eat BBQ, etc.
Then assign points or stars to each reward and create rules to acquire the points.
5 minutes work = 1 star
Post a new product to your store = 2 Stars
Complete the feedback loop on a product = 5 stars, etc.
Make the reward achievable and the stars acquirable and be sure to spend the stars from time to time.
Continue with the sounds and yippees but replace the food with a star system.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Someone said gummy bears?

*jumps into room and looks so hopeful only to be horribly disappointed because this is just the internet...
 

BellaPippin

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I've been using peanut butter m&m's and its working great. However, it only works great when I have a list of tasks that have "come to me." I.E. people message me or I have a project come in. I have an established business where people come to me, so I've been on cruise control working 1-2 hrs a day for quite a few months now.

This reward system doesn't help me do things to "progress" my business. I get done what "came to me" that day and then I feel like my list is over and I do nothing the rest of the day. Can't bring myself to build out my business or start a new one, partly because I don't even know what the next step is.

That's it... when I know what the next step is, I can use this reward system. When I have no idea, this doesn't work anymore.

Any thoughts?
Idk how many things "come to you" but let's suppose that with good time management, would you be able to "pay yourself first" and use your fresh energy for an hour or two of working on your own stuff, ESPECIALLY rewarding yourself for this, then go on for the rest of the day?
 

BellaPippin

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I've been thinking about this as well. 1. I don't want to associate good habits with sugar and 2. I want to make the reward match the habit.
Right now I'm thinking about a system similar to Starbucks points or air miles.
Create a list of rewards, a massage, new shoes, an afternoon at the movies, a trip to Eirie to eat BBQ, etc.
Then assign points or stars to each reward and create rules to acquire the points.
5 minutes work = 1 star
Post a new product to your store = 2 Stars
Complete the feedback loop on a product = 5 stars, etc.
Make the reward achievable and the stars acquirable and be sure to spend the stars from time to time.
Continue with the sounds and yippees but replace the food with a star system.
Ok but do you like, DON'T do those things already? I feel anything I can think of is something I would normally do. Not like I do those things on the super regular because I'm trying to save but.. say do you not do them if you don't earn your stars? Is going to the movies THAT exciting that gets you going?

Someone check my pulse?
 

MakeItHappen

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I've been thinking about this as well. 1. I don't want to associate good habits with sugar and 2. I want to make the reward match the habit.
Right now I'm thinking about a system similar to Starbucks points or air miles.
Create a list of rewards, a massage, new shoes, an afternoon at the movies, a trip to Eirie to eat BBQ, etc.
Then assign points or stars to each reward and create rules to acquire the points.
5 minutes work = 1 star
Post a new product to your store = 2 Stars
Complete the feedback loop on a product = 5 stars, etc.
Make the reward achievable and the stars acquirable and be sure to spend the stars from time to time.
Continue with the sounds and yippees but replace the food with a star system.
I agree. I don't like to use sugar as well BUT it's likely one of the best ways to condition yourself.
You won't use sugar in the mid-term and long-term. Just for a brief time frame.
I avoided it in the past and only wanted to use healthy rewards, but for now this hasn't worked to well.

I also tried my on system with point that I can than exchange for bigger rewards but I don't know. I wasn't as excited about it because it doesn't feel that much like "instant gratification".
But I would try it anyways. Maybe it works for you. If it does great. If it doesn't try a stronger short-term reward.

One thing besides snacks as a reward that I think I would enjoy are scratch cards.
With each scratch card potentially being worth thousands of dollars it seems like a way bigger reward than it actually is.

Maybe I should go and get me some 25 cent scratch cards and try it. ;)
 

bornoim

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Sep 5, 2019
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It's a good time for me to discover this forum, great thread!

So I experimented a bit with the system myself, only thing I changed is instead of process oriented rewards (like rewarding onself for working 5 minutes) I tried product oriented rewards (finishing tasks) which I generally prefer.

The advantage I see in this is:
- It gives you an incentive to split tasks into sub tasks for which you can reward yourself upon completion. This makes your work more structured and further decreases procastrination. Probably the biggest plus for me.
- It gives you an incentive to get shit done fast, maybe even skip not so important tasks entirely, so you get your reward faster.

The disadvantage might be, that rewards are not as reliably frequent as with the time split approach.

So I don't know if this approach is really an improvement and I'm only at it for three days, but I'll continue experimenting. It's perhaps subjective, but in the past when I only focused on working rather than finishing stuff, I tended to be quite ineffecient ( although I tend to be quite inefficient in general lol)
 

ProcessPro

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It's a good time for me to discover this forum, great thread!

So I experimented a bit with the system myself, only thing I changed is instead of process oriented rewards (like rewarding onself for working 5 minutes) I tried product oriented rewards (finishing tasks) which I generally prefer.

The advantage I see in this is:
- It gives you an incentive to split tasks into sub tasks for which you can reward yourself upon completion. This makes your work more structured and further decreases procastrination. Probably the biggest plus for me.
- It gives you an incentive to get shit done fast, maybe even skip not so important tasks entirely, so you get your reward faster.

The disadvantage might be, that rewards are not as reliably frequent as with the time split approach.

So I don't know if this approach is really an improvement and I'm only at it for three days, but I'll continue experimenting. It's perhaps subjective, but in the past when I only focused on working rather than finishing stuff, I tended to be quite ineffecient ( although I tend to be quite inefficient in general lol)
I think this is a great idea. Keep us posted on how it's working for you. I'm personally interested. I'm going to try this approach myself.
 

André Casal

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I'm combining this approach (just finished my TAGulator this morning) with the 90 day focus challenge from this thread.

I work in iterations of planning, research/learning and execution, but I tend to stay stuck in planning, so the key takeaway from the 90 day focus challenge + click training is that I'll only reward myself when I actually do work that moves my business forward, i.e. execution.

Let's see how that goes. Today's the first 90 day challenge day :)
 

ChrisV

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MakeItHappen

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Tried this approach yesterday evening after a shitty day.

It worked like a charm.

Started with 5 minute chunks and ended up with 15 minute chunks.

I will try to use this method whenever I am feeling stuck to get some momentum.

Here are a couple obervations:
- (laud) positive self talk felt just as important as a reward as the little snack
- after some time I felt so good about myself that I didn't want to eat the snack anymore
- because teeth health is important to me I cleaned my mouth with water after every small snack and I chewed a teeth-friendly gum while doing the work intervals
 

BellaPippin

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Wolfman

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Hi Bekit and...,
This thread is good stuff. What much of it amounts to is forming good habits. There are experts (Charles Duhigg)who have scientific evidence of how/why this works. There is a 3 step process; trigger+behavior+reward.
Part of what causes many, myself included, to lapse is that bad habits are so ingrained in our cerebral cortex that those neural pathways are basically there to stay.
The good news is that these bad habits can be transformed into good ones. One caveat is that you have to believe that this process works.
The first week is really tough because we have to use a lot of will-power, something we have in finite quantities that can easily be depleted during the day.
It really comes down to a probability game that is quite logical. By creating good habits you don't need as much will-power. That increases the chances that you'll succeed because you'll have enough will power to get you through the tough times (they always come!)
Tune in again to find out how to get through the tough times...
(I'm offering a one time limited offer of $12 to get the long-awaited solution. j/k)
Wolfman
 

cjibjibson

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Sep 14, 2019
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I have been thinking of a similar concept, but yours is much more refined, I love it.

However, I will still keep some of my idea, and adapt it to yours and mine might help some of you too.

The difference with mine is that instead of using chocolate chips I use coins and a glass piggy bank.

I will set the timer for whatever I need and then for every successful batch of work done, I will drop a coin into the piggy bank.

maybe it's 5cent, 10cent, 25cent or 50cent I'm not sure yet.

And at the end of every week or month, this money MUST be spent on something fun and irresponsible. Right now I'm thinking clothes, I enjoy buying clothes, but I don't allow myself to often because my money could be better spent, and when I do spend money on clothes I feel guilty.

I'm hoping this will motivate me like the chocolate chips did for you, and it will do it without me having to eat sugar.

I have the piggy bank, now I just need a load of coins :D

Oh also I was thinking of using the smaller coins for the short time frames, e.g 5cents for 5 mins, and then go to the bigger coins as I move to longer times e.g. 50cents for 1 hour.

Edit: Another thing about the coins and the jar, is that it provides the audio and visual stimulation the "clink" of the money dropping each time and the sight of the cash growing.
 
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