I struggle with procrastination, always have. I use the excuse that “I’m better under pressure” but we all know that’s never true. Waiting to the last minute never yields the best results. While you are rushing to get something done an idea will pop in your head but you won’t be able to do it because you don’t have time. We all want to stop but we just don’t know how, it’s become a habit. But we can form new habits, productive habits, and it won’t be hard at all.
Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break The Chain” Productivity Secret
The idea boils down to completing a task every day and marking it off on a calendar. The idea then is to never break the chain of x’s. The process is pretty simple to set up in less than 30 minutes. Here are the steps:
1. Set Your Goals – Start with just a few, no more than three, add another in the following weeks. Do not add too many, the objective is to get stuff done not overload yourself.
Use broad goals rather than specific ones. For example, use exercise instead of push-ups as your goal.
2. Set Daily Minimums – How will you know if you have completed your daily task? It needs to be measurable and preferably not by time. So if the goal is “cleaning” your minimum may be one or two chores per day. Chores could include, taking out the trash, mopping the floor, vacuuming, clearing counter tops, etc. Your goal is broad, minimums are specific.
3. Set Rules – What if you get sick or are on vacation? What if you don’t want to do anything on the weekends? It’s up to you but you need to decide these things before you start to keep yourself from coming up with excuses. Decide what works best for your life and stick to it.
4. Print Out Your Calendar – Buy a calendar or print one out. A full year works well because your chain can get so large the desire not to break it gets stronger. Starting over each month on a new page can feel, well, like starting over. By using a whole year your previous work stays with you and helps motivate further progress.
5. Get A Big Red Marker – Really you could use whatever you want but a BIG red X is pretty satisfying.
Start today. You should have set this up so that it is realistic to complete everything everyday so you should be able to start immediately.
Blogging & More
If you struggle with blogging this tip is a great tool. Break a post down in to sections and do one of those sections each day. Think of a great title. Research. Outline some ideas. Expand on those ideas. Create an image and post it. Now you can have a blog post every week with 10 minutes or less a day!
This strategy can be applied to almost anything. Want to learn a new language? Write a book? Build your photography portfolio? All of these things can be done.
Don’t set out to build a wall. Make bricks and lay them down. Pretty soon, you’ll have a wall.
Does this work for you? What are your goals? Hit me up on Twitter @chrisleedurham and let me know.