So I’ve been tempted to take a break, but I can’t do it. I’m thinking of Jerry Seinfeld and his wonderful productivity rule: “Don’t break the chain.” This means that once you’re onto a streak at whatever it is you wish to be doing, you should do it every day and never skip.
I started doing this the first time I wrote a draft for a novel, which sucked, but I was really happy about having managed it at all. This method helped me a lot, although I have to say that I did break the streak a few times, but somehow the though of it kept me going anyway.
It’s amazingly simple. All you do is pick something you want to do and then start ticking it off in your calendar (or blog or wherever) every day you’ve done it. The first few days are usually relatively easy, and then once the going starts to get tough, you find yourself thinking of quitting but then you see that calendar/blog. If you quit, the streaks’s gone, almost like it never existed. You can’t quit. If you do, you have to start all over again at the bottom. (Well, not really, but that’s how you feel for some daft reason).
There are all these wonderful apps based on the same principle and I believe it works. I’ve always been of the type for whom it’s easier not to eat any candy than to eat just a little bit. I guess I am so susceptible to vice and sloth that I need these regimens to keep from sinking into some form of uselessness.
I’m not sure why this works. I guess it’s based on stubbornness and the strong urge to cross things off added to the pleasurable sensation you get from admiring an unbroken chain. Once you break the chain, you can’t go back, and that’s why you just have to keep doing it and doing it and doing it ad infinitum. Or until the chain snaps of its own accord.