Don’t Break The Chain: A Productivity Tip from Jerry Seinfeld?

I’m a huge Seinfeld fan. Even though the show went off the air in 1998, I regularly watched reruns on cable for years. My wife got us tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld live when he came to town in 2004, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. So when one of my Facebook friends linked to an article about a Seinfeld productivity tip, I had to check it out.

The story is this: a young comedian happened to be working at a club the same night Jerry Seinfeld was there, so he forced himself to go over, introduce himself, and ask Jerry if he had any tips for an aspiring comedian.

Jerry said the trick to becoming a better comedian was writing better jokes, and the trick to writing better jokes was to write every day. So Jerry suggested that the guy get a calendar, and set the goal of writing some jokes every day. Each day, when the comedian had completed this task, he got to mark a big, fat X for that day on the calendar.

After a few days of doing this, the comedian would have a chain, and then his only goal was to not break the chain.

I have to say that I absolutely love this idea. Anyone can start off a new goal with a flurry of activity, but then your determination and drive usually fade after a week or so. What do you do at that point? If you already have 14 red X’s on your calendar, it’s going to be a lot harder to quit when you know it’s going to take another two weeks to get back to where you are now.

Keep this tip in mind when you are setting your goals, and think of how you can break your goals down into daily, repeatable tasks. Not only will you get to have some fun with your goals, but having one thing that you do every day will make it easier for your brain to accept the idea.

One thing that I love about this productivity tip is how well it lends itself to starting a website. If you’re new to web publishing or are just starting your online business, then what is it that’s going to make your website successful? Publishing new content every day. If you can do this simple task every day for one year, you are going to have some decent traffic.

Set the goal of publishing at least one new post every day, and then go out and buy a calendar and a big red marker. I think you’ll be amazed at how energized and motivated seeing a long chain of X’s will make you feel.

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