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In The “Time To Reward Myself” TikTok Trend, Creators Are Doing The Bare Minimum

I don’t know about you, but lately, it feels like I’ve been working nonstop. Staying on top of my overflowing inbox and answering basic emails each morning can feel like an overwhelming task, and focusing on work isn’t always the easiest, especially as the end of the semester nears. 

If your motivation is dwindling these days, remember: It’s OK — and necessary — to take a break! If the stress is too much, though, the hilarious “Time To Reward Myself” TikTok trend is here to remind you that sometimes, stepping away is necessary — even when you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. 

Have you ever studied for all of five minutes before telling yourself that you deserve a quick TikTok scroll? Or opened a Word document to start an essay, but all you’ve written so far is your name so naturally, it’s time to start watching Bridgerton? Same. Maybe you have major senioritis and have lost all hope of productivity, or you successfully read a chapter of your new book and therefore deserve a seven-hour-long social media break. Whatever your minor achievement may be, it’s OK to pause sometimes. In the “Time To Reward Myself” TikTok trend, creators reward themselves for the bare minimum. And bestie, you should, too. 

Where did the trend originate?

If you follow popular TikTok trends, you’ll know that a viral moment often begins with a small, simple joke. This is certainly the case for the “Time To Reward Myself” trend, which originally began when creator, piano teacher, and vocal coach Anne Lam (@annelammusic) posted this TikTok video. The premise: Anne plays a super quick scale on the piano, then instantly turns to the camera and says, “Time to reward myself with a very long and disproportionate break!” 

The text overlay of the video reads: “How students ‘practice’…after playing ONE scale and totally rushing it.” The caption says, “Did I call you out? #musicstudentproblems #musicteacherstiktok #pianopracticing #practicesessionsbelike.” 

As someone who took piano lessons for almost 12 years, I can confirm that this occasional lack of focus is totally a thing. And even if you didn’t grow up feeling restless at the piano bench, we can all relate to the feeling of wanting to reward ourselves with a moment to relax (even if we’ve accomplished the absolute bare minimum).

In the “Time To Reward Myself” trend, creators give themselves a break for doing the least.

Although Anne’s original video was posted a few months ago, the audio has gained lots of traction on TikTok recently, and this trending soundbite is taking off on the app. Currently, creators are using the original audio to highlight moments when their hard work (Read: bare minimum behavior) clearly warrants a break, whether it’s typing one line of code and immediately wanting to quit the day or completing literally one simple task at work. Creators present their niche situation followed by the trending sound, which says, “Time to reward myself with a very long and disproportionate break!”  

TikToker @strongerwithsara’s version says, “When I half-complete 15 separate tasks” and this video posted by @rustudentlife says, “Me completing the bare minimum of the assignment.” Creator @clairobestie has decided that she, too, deserves a break after doing the bare minimum, and @charissabacon simply checks out after wrapping up a lone video call. I appreciate this example from @kelsiesheridangonzalez that says, “When I spent two minutes thinking about all of the things I have to do,” and this version by @arhazobooks who hilariously celebrates reading a single page of her book. 

In the “Time To Reward Myself” TikTok trend, creators poke fun at everything from having Zoom fatigue after meetings to impatiently solving math equations and experiencing burnout in college (which definitely isn’t a joke, but is sadly a universal feeling). TikToker @irinkamam is proud of herself for reading a single paragraph (you go, queen) and creator @blairhyunseo decides it’s time for “a very long and disproportionate break” after her manager goes on vacation. As you can see, there are many entertaining versions of the trend to learn from, so browse the trending page here to get some inspiration (and plenty of laughs). 

To try the trend, think of a time when you wanted to take a break — especially if your break is disproportionate to the task you accomplished (or didn’t). 

Unlike some TikTok trends that require a lot of planning, the “Time To Reward Myself” trend is relatively easy to try. First, save the trending audio and watch Anne’s original video to get a sense of pacing and humor. Then, think of a task that seems simple but requires entirely too much mental effort, and record yourself attempting to complete that task. Once you have an idea of the funny scenario you’d like to present, channel your inner sarcasm and pretend to say: “Time to reward myself with a very long and disproportionate break!” along with the audio clip. Then, string each element together and you have your final video!

Many versions of the trend deal with school and work but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and replicate the trend in a comical, creative way that’s unique to your life. Remember: The goal is to be as sarcastic and lighthearted as possible. Whether you’ve lost all motivation for school, haven’t been able to focus since spring break, or practiced your sport for three minutes and no longer have the will to keep going, the “Time To Reward Myself” trend is all about taking that disproportionate break you deserve.

Tianna was an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.