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What Jerry Seinfeld Can Teach You About Being Productive
One of the greatest productivity secrets I have ever heard came from legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
I will already assume that you know who Jerry Seinfeld is and have watched at least one episode of his show. Because if you haven’t, you need to pull yourself out from underneath the rock you have been under for the last twenty years.
Here is how Jerry’s secret works…
Find something that you want to do in your life more consistently. For me, it’s writing and exercising. For you, it can be any hobby that you enjoy doing or what to get started doing.
What you do is you print off a yearly calendar that fits on one page. If you type in “one page calendar” on Google you can find several that are already made for you. (If you can’t find one, here is a 2008 calendar you can use). After that, write a big X over the day if you performed your activity for the day.
So for me, I have two calendars. One that I mark off every time I write a new article for this site. And another calendar in which I mark off every time that I jog in the morning.
Your goal is to perform this activity every single day. You want to start growing a long chain of consecutive days that are marked off.
Don’t cheat on me! If you didn’t perform that activity that day then don’t mark it off. Also, you can’t perform the activity twice one day and mark it down for two days. For example, I can’t write two articles today and mark off today and tomorrow. That’s not how it works.
If there is one thing that I want to teach you from this site, it’s that success is nothing more than doing a little bit every single day. It’s not doing a whole lot one day, and then taking a couple days off. No, it’s pushing yourself a little closer to your goal every single day.
When you do that, you will have accomplished more then you ever would have imagined!
That’s what makes Jerry’s productivity calendar so great. It forces you to want to do something every day so you don’t end your streak. When you go a long time without breaking your streak, it gets easier and easier to keep that streak going.
It works because we are all creatures of habit. It’s hard to get into the habit of doing something. But once you make it a habit, it’s a piece of cake!
Let me tell you something, jogging was no easy habit to get into! I broke my jogging streak more than a couple of times the first few months that I tried to make it a habit. But a year into it, my streak went on for months before I decided to take one Sunday off to rest.
Here is one great tip I have about doing this calendar that will make it more effective…
Put it somewhere where people can see it. Don’t hide it in your desk somewhere. Stick it up on your refrigerator. By having it out in the open where other people can see it, your motivation goes way up. I could go into the psychological reasons why, but just know that you will be much more persuaded to do the task every day if you have it out in the open.
Put it on the refrigerator if you have it at home. If it’s at work, have it posted right on your door. Wherever you put it, make sure people can see it if they want to.
You truly won’t believe what a difference this will make for you. For example, let’s say you want to start reading more. Get a “Jerry calendar” that you mark off for each day that read at least 30 minutes. Now, 30 minutes probably sounds like nothing. But if you did that over the course of a year, you would have completed around 25-30 books!
That’s the power of doing a little bit every day. And that’s the power of making one of these calendars. Give it a try today and see how long you can keep your streak going!
Update: Dec. 2009 - I did a personal development experiment that involved creating a motivational calendar to see if it really works!
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