When I started my One Hour a Day experiment I knew that it was quite a big project. It takes a lot of focus and disciplin to do something every day for a year. What kept me going was the fact that I blogged and tweeted my progress. Skipping a day was not an option. If I kept my project private I might have failed but being public I didn’t want to break the chain.
Thinking about it I had something in the back of my head, the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Secret.
The Short Version:
Pick a goal.
Mark off the days on which you work toward that goal.
Use your chain of marked off days as a motivator.
Each January, Jerry hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he had the exquisite pleasure that can only come from drawing a big red “X” over that day.
Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs.
The idea was to never break that chain.
This way he wrote more comedy material, got a biggar amount of good material and also got better in writing meaning that a larger and larger part of what he wrote got better and he became a better comic.
To me my “calendar chain” was my blog. It felt good to see a post every day.
This method can be used for anything, not just writing. Maybe you’re a developer like me and have a side project you want to finish or maybe learn a new programming language. Start the chain, spend a little time every day and you’ll reach your goal. The whole point is that doing something every day creates habits and once it’s a habit it’s harder to break. If you skip one day it’s easy to skip the next one, and the next one and so on.
So get going and create a good habit.
“The way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day” – Jerry Seinfeld