Keep the Chain Going

First let me say, I'm no Jerry Seinfeld.

I don't even aspire to that level of success, to be honest. I'm happy making the difference I am making in student's lives from my humble home here in Toronto without the fame and fortune of being a world famous celebrity.

But one thing Jerry is known for, besides comedy, is inventing a system of productivity that's best summarized as “Don't break the chain”.

Jerry of course denies having invented this system, and is baffled that his name is associated with it.

But you know how the Internet works sometimes. Fiction becomes fact quite easily. Because there's no fact to replace it.

So the gist of the system is this. You get a big calendar and post it to your wall.

Every day, when you do what you know you need to do to make progress, you mark an X on that date. The goal is to keep marking X's every day. In effect, the X's become a chain, and you become motivated not to break the chain.

If you can do something for 8 days in a row (write a joke every day, write a blog post, record a video, whatever), you will look at the calendar on day 9 and know that you need to keep the chain going. The risk of breaking the chain and starting over is too high! Too high I tell you! So pressure mounts, after days, weeks, months, of unbroken chain. You will stay up late to get your task done. It will weigh on your mind that you need to do it.

I have a friend who has sent an email to his mailing list every day for the last 2 years. 730 consecutive daily emails.

That's his chain. If he ever missed a day, he would kick himself. Worse even. He would cut off a finger I bet. He has this streak of 2 years of daily emails, and no matter what is going on in his life, he will send an email today.

There was a time early on, when he was tired, in bed, about to fall asleep. And he realized he didn't send an email that day. He got out of bed, powered up the computer, and typed out an email. It might not have been a great email, but the chain wasn't broken.

There was a time when he wrote an email and it sat in his virtual outbox and did not send. He wrote the email, he clicked send. But some technical issue stopped the email from going out. People were emailing him asking what happened to the email. “Hey! I was expecting an email from you today!” Can you believe that?

That's Jerry Seinfeld's productivity system in action right there.

I'm going to blog a couple of times per week. Not daily, but on Tuesday and Thursday. I will keep that schedule like an unbroken chain. I will put an X on the calendar on my wall. It will keep me going.

I have things I know I need to do to keep my business going and growing. I will do them every day. I will have to.

Keep the chain going, Scott.


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