Having just become a fan of the food diary concept, I was in exactly the right frame of mind when I stumbled across Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” productivity method on Lifehacker since it also allows me to keep track of things. It’s beauty is in its simplicity and the fact that you’re looking at something that reminds you to do . . . whatever.
1. Get a calendar. Lifehacker provides you with this link to free printable calendars, or just scrounge one up from around the house. It doesn’t have to be this year’s calendar, you’re just marking off days, not making appointments.
2. Pick a task/goal, one per calendar, complete with time limit. Cleaning, writing, exercise, whatever, for fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour, whatever. Put the calendar up somewhere where you’ll see it everyday, preferably near the place where you do that task.
3. Every day that you do that task, X out that day’s square on the calendar.
4. As the days go by, the Xs will make a chain on the calendar. Don’t break the chain.
This appeals to me: It’s simple, it’s cheap, it gives me a sense of accomplishment, and if I miss a day, there’s a big old hole on the wall that says I broke the chain. Now I just have to remember not to put up sixteen calendars. One for exercise, one for cleaning, one for writing. That should do it.
For more about this in detail, see Lifehacker. I’m going off to print some calendars now.