40 Productivity Reward Ideas to Keep You Motivated

September 2, 2016

productivity rewards

A main motivation for many when completing a to-do list is the small thrill associated with checking that box or crossing something off your list as done. It feels good to do something that needed to get done. While this can give you a temporary boost to your productivity level, that little thrill may not be enough to push you through completing your more daunting tasks. That’s where reward systems can play a significant role in your overall productivity. The point of putting in a system is to get stuff done – so why not allow yourself to reap the rewards of not just the satisfaction of completing a task or project, but also an extra little something on top of that?

So, how should you reward yourself?

First, you need to make sure it’s something you believe you will be able to get. If you’re in the middle of a huge project that’s due fairly soon, using a day off as a reward bonus for completing part of the project isn’t too realistic. However, splurging on a coffee drink or ordering a new book for your Kindle may be more appropriate.

Next, you need to make sure the reward excites you. In fact, you may not even want just one reward. Maybe to help you get through a big task you’ll need smaller rewards that add up to one big reward. For instance, if you write 1000 words for 21 days, you’ll take a day trip somewhere or go out for a night on the town. However, for each day you do it, you can reward yourself with 15 mins of planning time for your trip or adventure.

Last, you need a system to keep track of your tasks and rewards. There are a ton of productivity tools out there to help in this arena. You could create a simple task list with the rewards for finishing written next to the task or list, depending on your reward system. For a few ideas for keeping track of new habits or tasks, take a look at these resources.

Once you get an idea of what you’d like to reward yourself for, it’s time to start thinking about WHAT to reward yourself with! To help get you inspired, here are a few productivity rewards ideas.

  1. Watch a movie
  2. Spend 30 mins leisure reading
  3. Enjoy a hot bath
  4. Sleep in
  5. Stay up late
  6. Skip a daily chore/task
  7. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show
  8. Take an extra break
  9. Get a $10 gift card
  10. Get a $25 gift card
  11. Eat out for dinner
  12. Buy a new book
  13. Go to a local attraction
  14. Take a day trip
  15. Go on a hike
  16. Get a new outfit
  17. Buy a new cookbook
  18. Get a new magazine subscription
  19. 30 mins of guilt-free gaming time
  20. Night out
  21. Day off work
  22. Massage
  23. Order take out
  24. Pamper yourself
  25. Learn a new hairstyle
  26. Take a hunting or fishing trip
  27. Go see a local band (or your favorite band)
  28. Go to a sporting event
  29. Get professional photos taken
  30. Do something from your Pinterest board
  31. Buy a new journal
  32. Set up an “under $15 dollars” wish list on Amazon and buy something off it as a reward
  33. Start a task fund for a big ticket item. Every time you do a task, you get $1 (or desired amount) in the fund.
  34. Try a new recipe.
  35. New exercise item under $20
  36. New work related item under $20
  37. Spend an hour away from your desk/computer.
  38. Buy a lottery ticket.
  39. Download a new song.
  40. Buy a new app.

You’ll notice that one thing is missing from this list, and that is food related rewards. While eating out or going for coffee is a nice one time treat, getting to have a piece of cake or candy is a self-defeating reward. Of course, everything in moderation works, but it’s a bad habit to get into if you use bad food choices as a way to reward effort. There’s a popular saying that fits this piece of advice, “Don’t reward yourself with food. You’re not a dog.”

Do you have a favorite go-to reward to help motivate and inspire you? Let us know!


About Jennifer Good

Chief Inspiration Officer and Founder of Inspiration Insider. "You don’t need to wait to make a difference in your own life or the lives of others." - Anne Frank