Just about everybody struggles with making the most of the mere 24 hours available in each day. Staying motivated and on track can be difficult, especially for long-term goals that aren’t an immediate priority, yet require recurring action (e.g., sorting and filing documents, learning a language, or exercising) to be reached.
Blogger and software developer Brian Isaac once received a valuable productivity tip from none other than Jerry Seinfeld. Several years ago, when Seinfeld was just a fledgling show on NBC, its namesake still worked the comedy club circuit several weeks out of the year. An aspiring stand-up comic, Isaac was in a club where Seinfeld was headlining and spoke with him briefly before the performance. He asked Seinfeld’s advice for a young comic wanting to improve his craft.
Perhaps not surprisingly, his advice was to write new jokes every day. But it was the “how” rather than the “what” of Seinfeld’s advice that stuck with Isaac:
He (Seinfeld) told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
Business owners don’t have the “luxury” of a boss cracking the whip to keep them on-task. They have to stay motivated to do the things that must be done for their business to succeed, even if they’re not seeing immediate benefits. Whether it’s making cold calls, staying organized, networking, or even starting the day with exercise to keep energy levels up, the best way to ensure success is to keep at it every day.
A wall calendar will suffice, but tracking your progress in an Outlook or Google calendar allows you to update your progress from anywhere. Set up your calendar and start putting an X (or some other word or symbol that stands out from the rest of events and schedules on your calendar) on each day that you complete your necessary tasks.
Then, don’t break the chain.
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