Don’t Break the Chain
I’m always interested in ways to motivate myself to work harder, form good habits or otherwise establish routines that increase my productivity so I have more free time that’s actually free. Spending a day at the beach while my growing To Do list keeps popping into my mind is not as relaxing as it should be. If I want to really recharge my batteries when I take a holiday, I need to be organized enough beforehand so that I can lock up a clean house and know that my business will only need a brief email scan while I’m away to ensure no major catastrophes have occurred in my absence.
Of course, this never happens.
My usual “routine” looks more like flying around the house like a chicken with her head chopped off, staying up until 3 a.m. the night before trying (and failing) to get everything accomplished. Half the time I end up leaving a few dishes in the sink, let alone getting all laundry washed, folded and put away or the floors mopped. Needless to say, there are no pre-written articles or blog posts set to auto publish while I’m basking in the sun. Not yet.
The monumental task of getting my work stuff and life stuff caught up and actually ahead of schedule so that I can take a break would be far less monumental if I were on target on a daily basis. This is where the fantastic tool from Jerry Seinfeld comes in – “just don’t break the chain“.
The basic idea is that any big goal you want to achieve, any skill you want to develop doesn’t just happen overnight – practice really does make perfect. What seems impossible becomes much easier when broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, so you just need to commit to doing a little bit each day.
Let’s say your goal is to write a novel. The idea of sitting down at your desk to pump out 400 pages is pretty overwhelming! Suddenly Jerry Springer seems quite fascinating and you’re hit with a self-induced case of writer’s block.
Using the other Jerry’s method, you’ll instead commit to writing 5 pages each day. You print out a big, long wall calender that shows the entire year on one page. For every day that you write your 5 pages, you get to put a big red X on that day’s square. When you write for several days in a row, you’ll have a chain of Xs. The longer the chain gets, the more you’ll want to keep that chain going. Don’t break the chain! 90 days later, you’d have your novel.
I haven’t printed out a big calendar yet, but I love this idea and my mind is already racing with ways I could use this. Exercising, writing blog posts, doing something (anything!) to build more traffic, picking up my camera, networking/seeking link exchanges, SEO.
Or doing laundry.
Categorised as: General