Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Getting Your Life Back: The Reward Principle

In our prevous installment, we've seen how you can organize your obligations to a more manageable manner, but we've avoided tackling down things that aren't a chore but a joy to you. This is the other side of the coin. However, the problem with these activities is that they can endanger the ones that you must do. The easy way to balance these musts and wants is 'the reward principle.'

So how does the reward principle work? It is rather simple at it goes like this:

Do the things you want to do only you're finished with the things you must do. 

It is that simple. Using the tables we've discussed in the previous article, you're allowed all the downtime there is, assuming that everything you needed to do is ticked. So, for example, I have to work out, take out trash, finish a translation and dust the house, I would allow mayself to watch TV, play video games or chat only when those are finished.

Take note: We live in a society of instant gratification. We hate delaying pleasures. Putting your musts before your wants is something that will take practice - even practice that takes a couple of years.

Of course, you might say: "But I have so many things to do! At no point do my chores and obligations and musts end! When will I have the much needed downtime?" If you have many obligations that are somewhat flexible, there's an appendix to the reward principle:

If you have a neverending stream of obligations, allow yourself one downtime activity per day.

The reason for this is simple; a stressed mind cannot function properly. Of course, if you have a high-stress job, the odds are that won't be able to take such an activity; in such moments, taking short, 5-minute breaks every hour will help you immenselly with concentration and proper functioning throughout the day.



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