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Ways to Bribe Yourself to Go to Work

Updated on August 1, 2013
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 8 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.


Not Another Day!

Monday has reared its ugly head again and it is time to go back to work. Or maybe you work at a job with weekend hours and Saturday is now more depressing than a Monday. These things happen! It is hard to stay motivated sometimes. There are moments when you wake up and all you really want to do is curl up to go back to sleep. Sometimes this even starts to seem like a logical option. Get out of that bed, sleepy head! I am here to help inspire you to get through the workday!

It doesn't matter whether you are overworked, hate your job, had a rough weekend, or you are just a little under the weather (but not contagious). Sometimes you just don't want to go to your job. Sometimes you need more than just that little voice in your head saying, "You've got to go to work or you'll be fired," or "You've got to go to work because your rent is due." Logic is just not part of the equation. Instead, it is time to use bribery to get your butt out of bed and moving.

I am happy to teach some ways you can bribe yourself throughout the workday. Not only will bribery get you out of bed in the morning, it can help you stay motivated to actually work while you are on the job. Wow! Working while at work? What a crazy idea. Just hear me out and you will be inspired in no time.


I've found the easiest way I bribe myself to actually go to work on Mondays is food. I love food and I live for eating food. If you love food, this bribe is going to work for you, too. Chances are, even if you don't love eating, there is some meal that you love. It is time to use food as an incentive to get up to go to work.

On a typical weekend, I usually eat something I actually enjoy eating. Now I always make sure to make enough so I have one meal I can take to work for lunch. In my head, that is my "Monday lunch" and I can only have it if I go to work. When I wake up in the morning and would rather whine than go to work, I remind myself of my delicious lunch. I then get up for work.

Perhaps you are not the type to make extra food over the weekend. Maybe you only order food or perhaps you live on ricecakes. Whatever. Make sure to order a meal you really like for lunch on Monday or buy something delicious at the grocery store for Monday. Yes, even if you are on a diet. Buy yourself a really delicious pre-made salad that you can only eat on Monday. Those are the rules.

Now, if you are working at an especially horrible job, it might take more than a good lunch to bribe you. You could perhaps be forced to bribe yourself with breakfast and maybe even dinner as well. My recommendation is having a special breakfast you love set aside for Monday morning. Yes, perhaps you will wake up crying because you have to go to work, but at least that delicious apple cinnamon bagel you love so much can absorb some of those tears falling from your face. Yummm... sort of.

A Cupcake: A Delicious Form of Bribery


A Special Treat

Bribing yourself with food to get out of bed once or twice a week is a great way to make sure you get to work. However, you obviously can't do that all week unless your favorite foods are salads or carrot sticks. Eventually your scale is going to tell you it was a bad idea to eat that entire on pizza Wednesday at lunch just so you could get through the day. So for other days, you may want to opt to reward yourself with a small treat.

By a small treat, I don't mean you should go shopping all the time to reward your efforts at work. If you happen to make a lot of money at your job and you can afford to shop, I will certainly give you a thumbs up to bribe yourself with shopping if it gets you through the day. I realize some people work at extremely stressful jobs simply for a great paycheck, and if that is where you are in life now, then shop if you like. For the rest of us, I have some other treat options you might like.

Anything you enjoy that you sometimes don't have time to do, you can now make time to do them. You can get through that boring meeting at work much better if you are daydreaming about the nice bubble bath you are going to take when you get home. Make sure to imagine all the details if it helps you relax. For instance, are you going to light vanilla candles? Will you use lavender bubble bath? Can you turn all the phones off for this bath? Just imagining how nice this treat will be at the end of the day might just help you get through the painful part of the day at that moment.

Some other suggestions for relaxing special treats:

  • A walk in the park
  • Birdwatching in your backyard
  • Birdwatching in the park
  • Feeding fish at a pond
  • Calling an old friend
  • Painting
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Listening to your favorite music
  • Visiting animals at a pet store or animal shelter
  • Reading your favorite book... again
  • Playing your favorite video game... again
  • Making candles

My Newest Hobby - Soy Candle Making


I've noticed a good way to get me out of bed on an especially difficult morning is music. Some music just helps you get out of bed and get moving. I would recommend some oldies to help cheer you up. You might even enjoy listening to "Take This Job and Shove It," but just don't follow the advice. Usually upbeat music will get you going in the morning.

You can also opt to listen to music at work if you are lucky enough to work at a job that allows you to play music. This can be especially helpful if you are forced to do a rather mundane task. Music will keep you going at a steady pace. If you are really lucky, you might even have a boss that is cool enough to allow you to watch movies at work. You are sooooo lucky! I've only experienced that once in life (and why I quit that job, I will never know!), but action movies seem to keep a worker motivated the most. I highly recommend The Matrix. Imagine you are Neo at work and what he would do to fix the jammed printer. The day just got much better!

If you are not able to experience any of that awesomeness while on the job, keep yourself going with the knowledge that you can listen to your favorite songs while on the drive home from work or walking home from work. If you'd like, you can even blast some music once you get home.

It also helps to bribe yourself with movies or TV shows you can view once you get home. Yes, it has been a painfully boring 9 hour day at work, but just keep imagining how great it is going to be when you get to go home and watch whatever Harry Potter movie you'd like once you get there. Now the whole boring afternoon just got much better, you hardworking muggle!

In case you don't have time to watch The Matrix, check out this condensed version told by some guy's mother...

Lunch Buddies

One of the best ways to get yourself out of bed in the morning is to think about co-workers you really like at the office. If you don't have any co-workers you really like, perhaps it is time to find some. I am not saying you have to be best friends with anyone at your office. In fact, sometimes that can complicate matters if you believe someone is your best buddy at work, but betrays you in some way. Instead, I am encouraging you to become friends with people at work. Casual buddies for some mundane conversations over lunch can help you feel as if you belong.

When hiding under your covers in bed next Monday because you are debating calling out sick, ask yourself these questions:

Don't I want to know how Linda's daughter's dance recital went on Saturday?

What kind of fun things did Cathy do on her vacation last week?

Does Kesha still want to go shoe shopping during our lunch break today?

You know you want to be a part of all this! You can't just sit in bed and fake an illness now. You have to go to work and learn the answers to all these burning questions and then some.

Different Day, Different Treat

I've found that during especially stressful periods at work, it helps to plan something nice for each day. As you can probably already figure from reading above, Monday is my special food day. Not only does a delicious cheese bagel get me through the morning, an apple and chicken salad with some leftover KFC will get me through lunch as well this Monday. But I also assign other activities to the other workdays so I have something to look forward to experiencing each day.

For instance, this is what my work treat schedule looks like for this week. You can use this as an example for your own bribery schedule:

Monday: Food bribery day - I have delicious leftovers or a special lunch that I really want to eat.

Tuesday: Starbucks day - I am allowed one flavored coffee and no restrictions on calories!

Wednesday: I get to see my boyfriend. This is the only weekday we can spend together.

Thursday: Jenna Marbles day! (Jenna is a YouTube sensation and posts new videos every Wednesday; although she is late sometimes, so it is best to plan for Thursday. I get up and watch Jenna while getting ready for work. If she has not posted yet, that is OK... I can look forward to lunch with Jenna Marbles!)

Friday: It is the last day of torture for that week. Typically no bribery is necessary! Sometimes we do order food at work to celebrate the end of the week.

Of course, I am not saying your schedule has to look anything like mine. You have your own stuff that you like. Actually, it would be kind of sad if your bribery schedule was this pathetic. But hey, it gets me through the week!

Basically, you need to do what you have to do in life to function at work. If bribery works, then by all means, do it. Just make sure that you shop within your means and your bribes include legal and safe activities. If you are having an especially difficult week, increase the bribes to even better stuff each day. Good luck!

Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle

My Thursday Bribe: Jenna Marbles!


Submit a Comment
  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Sue Bailey - We must be on the same boat. Unfortunately I have gained quite a bit of weight myself the last couple of years for this reason. It is a shame exercise is not more appealing to me! I hope you find a new job soon. As far as I can tell, it looks like there are more job ads popping up recently in my area... I hope the same is happening for you!

    drbj - A chocolate cupcake is always really appealing. :-) It really helps.

    Thank you both for your comments!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    Great bribery suggestions, Jeannie, but the food bribes work the best for me. Offer me a chocolate cupcake or an ice cream sundae and I'll follow you anywhere!

  • Sue Bailey profile image

    Susan Bailey 

    6 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

    The way I was feeling about work if I'd bribed myself with food every time I didn't want to go I would have been the size of a small house. Instead I stopped forcing myself and just handed in my notice. I was lucky in that I had some savings but I really do need to get something else because my writing isn't paying enough to keep the wolf from the door. Great hub as usual. Voted up etc.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks so much! A little bribery to get through the workday never hurts anyone. A special lunch is very necessary at times.

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image


    6 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

    These are great ways to bribe yourself to go to work! What a concept. Most days I am fine with going, but there are times when having a special lunch, or looking forward to a treat after work certainly helps me get through the day.

    I love the suggestions, and the Matrix recap video was funny!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks so much! Sometimes my bribes are the only things getting me through the week.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Taking the time to plan little treats and incentives throughout the week can make such a difference. I love all of your suggestions.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Alecia, the last two hours are always the worst for me. That is usually when I start going through food at my desk and looking for unwanted food in the kitchen. Some people leave out stuff they don't want on our table at work. Unfortunately, there are never cupcakes. :-)

    Nell Rose, I am happy you enjoyed the Matrix video. I saw it the other day and thought it was hilarious. That lady sounds like how my mom would sound. She doesn't get the Matrix either. Maybe we need to start some basketball games in our office... hmmm. Thanks for the vote up and for sharing!

    Pamela-anne, that cupcake was from a friend's wedding. It was so good! I have discovered a new cupcake shop in my city, so that is getting me through the week now, too. :-)

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Pamela-anne profile image


    6 years ago from Miller Lake

    Looking at that lovely cupcake I think I could get bribed into doing anything yum yum! Good advice and suggestions better get to bed tomorrow is another workday!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    6 years ago from England

    Hi Jeannie, so funny! love the food, oh yes I can go for the food to be a bribe! I must add that the Matrix video was so funny! laughing at the top of my voice!

    My bribes to go to work where, ignore the nasty one, theres always one! she was a right, well, you get the picture! and the other bribe was having a game of basketball in the office when the boss was out! we had a little basket attached to the door! haha! voted up and shared, nell

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    Great tips Jeannie! I subconsciously bribe myself. I can get to work but I think it's the last hour that drags out so I play my favorite songs or album.

    And on Fridays I always buy lunch out instead of packing it. It definitely is the little things that get you through the week.


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