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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Incentives

I've realized lately that I've been slacking off on a lot of things in my life. I frequently just don't have the energy to do things that usually would be considered part of someone's normal day... for instance, taking a shower, or making a lunch to bring to work. My life seems to have turned into a quest to get as much sleep as I can. I've always considered myself a person who likes to live life to the fullest... but in times like these, it is a struggle to get myself to live life at all. Not that anything bad is happening, really. It's actually been pretty good most of the time. I finished my nightmarish school year job, I got to go on a weekend trip to the coast, and then the autism conference, and then my trip to Chicago. I guess it is more like, because I had these two trips back to back, combined with the homesickness I felt after returning from Chicago, I've had a hard time getting everything reorganized and getting a routine in place.

I was thinking about it and I remembered how, when I first moved to Washington, I was working as a substitute teacher. I had so much anxiety about going to work, that I ended up making my own incentive plan, the way I would for one of my little kids with behavioral challenges. For every hour I worked I got a sticker, and once I got 100 stickers I would get myself a treat. Once I had that visual reminder hanging on my wall, and the satisfaction of putting stickers on it each day, it was somehow a lot easier to go to work. Don't ask me why, but it worked.

So I've decided to try something similar for now. I wrote down all of the things I might have to do in a day to take care of myself and my apartment. I assigned points to each of the things, with things I hate the most being worth the most points. I broke things down into small pieces... instead of "clean house" or even "clean kitchen," it was "load dishes," "unload dishes," "sweep," etc. Each day I will add up the points I've earned. Once I get to 100 points, I will get a treat. I don't know what it is, but most likely I will order a new subscription box, since I've been fascinated with them lately.

Here is the list of activities and points so far.

Unpack - 20 points (I really hate unpacking, especially from a trip to Chicago because it makes me feel homesick to look at all the things that I haven't seen since I tearfully packed to come back. So, my suitcase from Chicago is still in my trunk, and my duffel from the coast is still at Auntie Em's house!)
Shower - 5 points. (Yeah I know that sounds like it should be worth less, but although I love taking showers, it can be really hard for me to motivate myself to actually take one. There are just too many steps involved.)
Grocery shopping - 3 (Should maybe be worth more... sometimes I do it online and get groceries delivered, but I find it somehow stressful to grocery shop at all, and tend to avoid it.)
Take Lily for a walk - 3 (This is worth a lot of points because Lily walks as slowly as a snail, so going for a walk with her is very time consuming!)
Fun extra thing - 3 (This is included, and worth 3 whole points, because it is hard for me to motivate myself to leave the house for any reason if I don't have to leave for work. My apartment is like a nest of safety.)
Making a healthy lunch - 2
Scrubbing the floor - 2
Taking recycling out - 2
Taking garbage out - 2
10 minutes of decluttering - 2
Vacuuming - 2 (I actually like vacuuming, but having Lily barking her head off and Yoshi hiding under the bed refusing to come out makes it a lot more difficult.)
Clean fish tank - 2 (Probably should be worth more, but I actually like doing it.)
Fold laundry - 2
Put away laundry - 2
Go to work - 2 (because that should be worth something, right?)
Eat breakfast - 1  (Less points than making lunch, because I am actually hungry for breakfast when I wake up, which is sometimes a motivator, whereas packing a lunch is impossible because I am not going to eat it until later and I can't imagine ever being hungry for it.)
Load dishes in dishwasher - 1
Put away dishes - 1
Sweep floor - 1
Mop floor - 1
Wipe counters - 1
Dust - 1
Wash laundry - 1 (Less points because all I really have to do is carry it down to the laundry room and toss it in. The washing machine does the hard part.)
Dry laundry - 1 (See above.)
Take Lily out -1
Take meds - 1
Scoop litter box - 1 (I do this multiple times per day because Yoshi demands a clean litter box, so this should help me rack up lots of points!)
Stay awake - 1 (Yes, I get one point just for staying awake all day and not taking a nap, because when I get home from work I'm exhausted and drained, but napping messes up my sleep cycle. Weekends are an exception because, you know, its the weekend. )

After I manage to get to 100 points once, I may up the ante and add in some more things, such as 1 point for drinking a glass of water, 1 point for making a phone call, etc.

For now, I already made 7 points today, so the system seems to be working!

I probably seem like a lazy bum. But if I was truly lazy, I wouldn't be trying so hard to find ways to get myself moving, right? RIGHT?

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