(Photo Credit: Meepness - Daniel C/Flickr)
Jerry Seinfeld may be the most successful television comedian of our time. Quora and Forbes report that Seinfeld made $267 million dollars in 1998. Ten years later in 2008, he was still pulling in $85 million per year, but if he saved anything from 1998, then I doubt he needed his 2008 salary.
Not everybody can perform stand-up comedy or produce a wildly successful television show. But there is something we can all learn from Seinfeld and use to stop procrastinating; it's called Don't Break the Chain.
Don't Break the Chain works no matter what responsibilities you tend to put off. It could be housework, it could be a creative outlet such as writing, or it could be your least favorite task at work. The system helps you get that thing done every single day.
Get a calendar with one full month on each page, or a poster calendar with one year on each page. Every time you do the thing you like to put off, put a red, purple, or green (choose your favorite color) "X" through that day's square. As you move along in the week, you will create a chain of X's. The chain indicates productivity.
If you don't get that thing done on any given day, you don't get to draw an X. And you break the chain.
Once you get a good chain going, it's amazing how such a small thing works as positive reinforcement. You will feel proud when you look at your long chain, and you will want to keep the chain going. This feeling of accomplishment may even make it easier to get the tasks in question done every day.
If you don't have one thing you do every day, then you can schedule things you have to do but usually put off; a different thing for each day. For example:
- Monday: Take out trash. (Home.)
- Tuesday: Make phone calls. (Work.)
- Wednesday: Laundry. (Home.)
- Thursday: Prepare notes for Friday morning staff meeting. (Work.)
- Friday: Submit time cards. (Work.)
This is how Seinfeld forced himself to write every day, even when he didn't want to. And this is how you can make yourself more productive, as well.
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