The Treats-to-Success Productivity Matrix
My economic consequences of deserving a little treat everyday
I am very treats motivated. Treats, namely in edible form, can get me to do most things that love, money, and dire consequences cannot. I do not have many traditional vices, but none of them are likely to require a disclaimer to be sexily depicted on television. Also, I need food to live anyway, so I am simply streamlining sustenance with pleasure. That’s innovation.
As I’ve been in what feels like a near-constant state of occupational ennui where I’m neither inspired nor compelled to do the thing I need to do to LIVE (exchanging skilled services for money), I’ve had to resort to self-trickery to motivate me to cease idly watching my checking account dwindling into the red each month. It’s work to care about work sometimes.
My better brain has plateaued on the side of the productivity highway for some time now, so I’ve had to resort to hot-wiring my dopamine releasers in more immediately attainable ways. Because otherwise nothing would get done. Nothing! Treats are the only thing keeping me and executive function in close quarters. And they are quite effective. I am a treat-powered machine. Treats are my one salvation from complete financial and professional ruin. Do I deserve them? Do you mind??
Treats, however, are simply a means to an end. They address the symptoms but not the cause — and they do add up. Plus, treats by nature are not necessarily nourishing for one’s overall well-being (not the ones I’m choosing). Well-being is a tricky concept, constantly slipping through my fingers with its slippery ways, or dangling just out of reach with its dangling ways. But to claim a treat when you see fit — daily even — is to microdose happiness on your own terms. It is not a reward, but a requirement.
Any accomplishments I made last year were due in large part to the treats that fueled me. My reliance on them has put me in a tricky position now where I’ve Pavlov’ed my brain into gearing up only when indulged, to the detriment of my wallet and arterial lining. I need a treat every day or else the darkness will creep ever closer to consuming me. Some people go to therapy for this, but I am fortunate enough to find solace within the savory pockets of a sausage roll or between the flaky layers of a tomato and cheese quassant-wich.
Most of my financial savvy involves having a Roth IRA account that I contribute to every year (for tax reasons more than for retirement) and keeping one of those money-tracking accounts and barely ever looking at it. I must look at it at least once a year when prepping my taxes, AKA the Spotify Wrapped for my annual finances. So I looked at it. It gave me a headache. I tracked my treat transactions categorized under “coffee shop” since that’s where the majority of them come from.
It’s not entirely accurate as some transactions are incorrectly categorized or I can’t remember exactly what I bought at a place that may not have been a treats purveyor. Also not included were the treats that were purchased for me or the odd treats I purchased along with groceries and such. But the breakdown follows thusly:
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