Bonus Day – A trick to motivate yourself (when all you want to do is go back to bed!)

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson

Since moving to the US from England, this year was my first real Thanksgiving. I love the fact that there’s a holiday for showing gratitude to friends and family and appreciating the many blessings in our life. It was magical to create some new family traditions.

My children had a weeklong school break and we enjoyed not setting the alarm for nine days! As usual with holidays we got into a habit of staying up later and waking up later. So when Monday rolled round and I had to get up at 5.30am it was a struggle!

This reminded me of when my children where younger, my husband travelled globally for work, I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent and although I loved my job working for the charity sector (I was a PR and Fundraising Manager), it was really hard some days to juggle everything, and have a great productive day at work, when all I wanted to do was drop the kids to school, and crawl back into bed.

This is when I came up with giving myself a Bonus Day at work. This literally meant that everything I achieved at work that day was a bonus because the alternative would be that I would be at home in bed not achieving anything.

Once I decided it was going to be a Bonus Day, the mental battle of getting into work was fought. I had got myself into motion.

At work, I would always start off with a simple task like clearing my emails (you know the ones that are ‘for information only’ and you say you will read later and never get round to), catching up with filing that I had been putting off and reorganizing how I stored files on my computer.

Within a short space of time, I had cleared lots of things that I meant to do but keep putting on the back burner. My workspace was organized and it felt more energized. Before I knew it, I was powering through other work and projects. Oftentimes, my Bonus Days ended up being some of my most productive days just because I had used a little mind trick to take the pressure of myself that day and simply get into motion.

3 Reasons why I think a Bonus Day works

1 You’ve won a mental battle with the voice in your head and reduced some stress.

You’ve heard the voice in your head saying ‘go back to sleep – you can’t do anything today’ and you’ve replied with ‘I’m going to achieve something today. No matter how great or small I will achieve something today.’   

2 . You’ve got yourself in motion. You are taking action.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just to get going but once you are in motion you can keep going. It’s a bit like, half the battle of a workout at the gym, is simply just getting there!

3. Clearing your workspace provides more energy.

Clearing clutter makes more room for creativity and more focused thinking.  (This principle could also be apply to getting going at home.  You could clear one cupboard, one room or an area of your house just to get going)

Could you apply the Bonus Day principle to your life? Do you have ways to motivate yourself to get into motion? Please do share so we can all benefit.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

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