Having a Reward System | GUTS Tip

Creating a rewards system for yourself, if done so correctly, can increase your productivity and motivation.  When you’re in the thick of your work, not having a break seems daunting and almost makes you want to stop entirely.  However, if you work little rewards into your study time, it’s easier to work on through difficult study sessions.  

How do you actually build a reward system that is beneficial and increases motivation?

1. Recognize what is worthy of a reward

Doing five minutes of work likely does not warrant a reward, so don’t take one.  It’s easy to work for five minutes, get bored, and “reward yourself” by going on your phone.  Try to be disciplined and work for at least 30 minutes before taking a five minute break.  Taking a small break can be considered a reward, but be aware that tasks that are more intense warrant larger rewards (ex: hanging out with a friend for the evening). 

2. Have different rewards for different tasks 

Larger tasks should result in larger rewards whereas smaller tasks should result in smaller rewards.    

3. Your rewards should reflect what your goal is. 

If your goal is to get up earlier in the morning, don’t reward yourself by allowing yourself to sleep in late the next day.  This goes for studies too.  If your goal is to get caught up in a certain class, don’t reward yourself by taking too much time off in that class and getting behind again. 

4. Keep in mind what your final goal is. 

Saying “stay disciplined” is certainly easier said than done.  What are some ways to actually stay disciplined?  Keeping in mind what you desire can be a wonderful motivator to stay disciplined.  

5. Have a set time for your reward.

One of the most important things to consider when rewarding yourself is making sure the reward takes up a defined amount of time.  If you make your reward watching an episode of a TV show, you can only watch one episode.  

What are some good rewards?

  1. For smaller rewards – listening to a good song (can do if you need a short break after a short study session)
  2. Going out to dinner with a friend
  3. A sweet treat
  4. Watch an episode of a TV show
  5. Take a night off
  6. Cook yourself a nice meal 
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Give a friend a call 


Hopefully with some of these tips you can create a reward system that increases your motivation as well as makes your study time more enjoyable! 

Written by Brynne Boeck

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*This is an opinion post. While the topics described here are mostly based on research, please keep in mind not to assume all of the information described above is factual.

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