Day 49 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log –Self-Rewards

My writing smoothie is extra thick this morning. While distraught over the lack of clearance- priced chocolate and flowers left over from Valentine’s Day, I picked up the whole milk Greek yogurt instead of my usual non-fat Greek yogurt. I can’t taste much of a difference except for the thickness, which is nice, I must admit.

The only time I drink this particular smoothie concoction is when I write in the morning. Same as the only time I use this desk is when I write. Unfortunately, I strap on my wrist brace whenever I can foresee I’m doing a lot of writing.

What I realized as I was cycling through my favorite productivity YouTubers, looking for that one thing I can improve each day, is that I intentionally or unintentionally set up a group of self-rewards that get me to the page:

  1. My morning writing smoothie. As I mentioned above, I only drink this smoothie when I wake up in the morning. I started because I was getting hungry during my writing session. A Greek yogurt + baby food pouches was the perfect solution – easy to make so it doesn’t take me too long to get to the chair and not too many calories, but just enough protein to keep my stomach from growling. Plus, I switch out the flavors of pouches for variety and I don’t have to clean a blender. I like my smoothie. It’s a treat. And it’s only a treat when I’m planning to write in the morning. Otherwise, I don’t make it.
  2. Conditional formatting on my writing spreadsheet. I am so surprised how simple things can make such a big difference. I updated my spreadsheet, so the cell turns green if I write 2,024 or more words a day. I also used conditional formatting for the weekly word count goal. Remember when I tried 52 days, and it didn’t work because it was too much of a time horizon for my sense of urgency? Well, a week works way better. I’m still clawing myself out of the deficit from earlier in the year, but if I just write 10 extra words a day, I’ll be fine. The past week, I’ve written that extra page or two just to get that cell to turn green. I’m thinking of using that for the other areas I’m working on like my goal is to consistently publish and learn.
  3. Dance breaks. I use the pomodoro method meaning I take breaks every 25 minutes. During the 5 minute break, I’ve started doing chair exercise videos standing up. I like them because there are more videos available that are just one song which means I can complete them under 5 minutes. During my breaks in my work day, I can take a quick step outside and check on my garden. Since I currently write before sunrise, that’s just not possible. Again, it’s fun and something I associate with writing.
  4. Honorable Mention – Stickers. I haven’t found a way to make stickers work when it comes to my writing, but they’ve been great in my health journey. I coded the stickers to the habits I wanted to develop – a princess sticker for getting at least 7 hours a sleep, a runner sticker for when I exercised at least 20 minutes, and a villain sticker for when I tracked my food intake. My favorite stickers, by the way, are the villain ones so I used them for the habit I had the most trouble sticking to. I have one of those paper calendars that I stuck on the back of my bedroom door where I could see the stickers every day. Seeing those stickers is a reminder of the work I’ve done.

Another question – how can I continue to reward my progress?

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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As of Day 49, – 2/18/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

95,522/ 99,176 / 740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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