Don’t Break the Chain
Before I decided to take Referly full time it was just a side project for a couple years. For New Year’s 2012 I set a personal goal to code every day (my job at the time was head of marketing for a developer company), and in early February of this year I decided to get serious with a “don’t break the chain” mindset.
Referly was the project I decided to rebuild from the ground up and 6 weeks into my routine I let Jeff know I would be leaving so we could start the transition plan. Â Shortly after that conversation I had some beers with Joseph Walla from HelloFax and he convinced me to at least try to get into YC. Â We all know how that turned out.
So thank you Jerry Seinfeld for your advice on productivity – it worked for me.
From the article:
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourselfâ€”even when you don’t feel like it.
He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.
He 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.
That explains why, along with having children, I hear nothing about him any longer.Â He’s not only out of the public eye, he’s not producing.Â If you want to make a chain, then don’t break the chain.Â If you want to produce something novel, a chain metaphor may not be the way.
This is great advice. Habit is an incredible motivator. I would love to hear more about how you managed the switch to more full time writing. Thanks for the post!