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Don’t Break The Chain

As a struggling young comic, Jerry Seinfeld designed a simple but powerful productivity system to become a top notch comedian and television star. How can you apply this productivity tip to your life? Grab a calendar and a big red marker.
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How to be more productive, according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Seinfeld figured out that the way to become a better comic was to write better jokes. He’d do this by committing himself to writing one new joke each day.

The Emmy winning comedian tacked a year-in-a-glance calendar to his wall. Each day that he wrote a joke (good or bad wasn’t a factor) he drew an X with a big red marker**.

Soon he noticed that the daily practice created a chain of red X’s. His mission then became to not break the chain.

The now-famous “Don’t Break the Chain” method is a ridiculously simple yet powerful productivity tool. It’s an in-your-face visual reminder to take the big (or small) goals and break them down into doable pieces.

The key to its success is of course consistency.

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Create your own “Don’t break the chain” wall calendar

 

Okay, so it sounds a bit hokey, but c’mon sometimes the simplest hacks work best.

Put aside your fancy apps and journals and complicated computer programs. Here’s how to make and use the same method that helped Jerry Seinfeld become one of the most successful comedians of all time.

Decide on what you want to track

Whatever the goal or task, use one calendar per task. Start with no more than three. Add more if you feel you can manage them all.

Set daily goals

Whatever the minimum goal, set a task rather than a time limit.

Say you want to achieve doing 30 push-ups each day by the end of the month. Start with one and add one each day.

Maybe you want to contact one new prospect or lead each day for a year.

Or you need to clean out the garage to get your house ready to sell. Pick a shelf or section and tackle one place each day.

Just don’t over reach the daily goals or create too many at the same time. Resist self-sabotage. Make a simple plan and stick to the plan.

Get a calendar and big red marker

If your goal is on-going (writing one joke a day) purchase or print out a large year-at-a-glance wall calendar. For short-term goals, say you want to complete something in a month’s time, print out a 30-day calendar.

Jerry used a big red marker.** Pick a color. Don’t make a production out of this.

Mark each productive day

If you’ve done your thing for the day, put an X through today’s square. Feel’s good, right?

Positive reinforcement

Look at the chain every day. Have you kept it going? Good. Keep it up. Do your thing. X it. Repeat it. You’ll build momentum and not want to miss a day.

Daily action builds habits. Remember building a mountain with one small stone each day for many days? Steady habits create substantial achievement.

Blank spaces

Okay so what about blank space(s)?

Did you make a bunch of (valid) excuses for missing a day?

Don’t beat yourself up. Let it go and start again.

Today psyche yourself out if you must to get it done to earn the X.

How you’ll feel when your chain is unbroken

The next time you really don’t want to do that thing you keep saying you want to do, look at your calendar. How do you feel about the unbroken chain you’re creating? Pretty freakin’ awesome.

It’s a visual reminder of the procrastination you’ve avoided. The progress you’ve made. The pride and empowerment you’ve earned by sticking with it.

Whatever you do, don’t break the chain.

BE F♥CKING AWESOME TODAY! (#BeFAT)

**Use a “little” marker if you want but c’mon, those BIG FAT ones make you feel like you’ve done something powerful and amazing. You earned that.

If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

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