I must be one of the only people on the planet who hated the Seinfeld show. (Which was really uncomfortable when I worked in an office where everyone else insisted on dissecting each episode and quoting it ad nauseam.) So while I’m not a fan of Jerry himself, I do recognize that he was extraordinarily successful at whatever he was supposed to be good at. (I think he was supposed to be funny.)
If you haven’t heard of Jerry’s productivity secret yet, I am delighted to be the one to share it with you. It has quite literally changed my life.
This so-called “secret” was blogged about quite widely in 2007, so I fully acknowledge that this can rightly be considered old news. But I hadn’t heard of it until a week ago, and maybe you’re in the same boat.
Here is Seinfeld’s Secret for Success:
Jerry wanted to be a successful comedian. How does one become a great comedian? By writing jokes. Lots and lots of jokes.
The problem was, Jerry wasn’t so different from a lot of us. While he said he wanted to be a great comedian, his priorities seemed to be aligned elsewhere. Day after day went by with no new jokes.
He made a deal with himself. He decided he would spend a certain amount of time each day writing new material, no matter what. He bought himself a calendar, hung it in a prominent place, and every time he’d finished his writing for the day, he marked that day with a big red X.
If you stick with this for a few days, you will have a nice row of Xs on your calendar. And something in your mind will start to shift. Once you see how awesome those Xs look, you won’t want to break the chain–for anything.
Why is this important? Remember that old saying, “slow and steady wins the race”? It’s a proverb for a reason. The people who are most successful are consistent–they may take small steps, but they take those small steps everyday, and eventually they get a hell of a lot farther than those of us who sprint and rest, rest and sprint.
People have used this trick in a number of different ways. One excellent article suggests choosing three things you’d like to be successful at, and deciding how long you’ll spend working on them each day. Because I am woefully behind in so many things, I chose four. I decided I wanted to write fiction (one hour), market my writing to larger magazines, agents and editors (one hour), clean (thirty minutes) and exercise (at least 30 minutes) every day.
You’re allowed to take weekends off if you want to. You can even take holidays and sick time. I decided to opt for the weekends off because I figured I’d need the break.
I’ve followed the Seinfeld Secret since I learned about it five days ago, and in that time I have:
– written almost 10,000 words and nearly finished a novel that has been hanging over my head since NaNoWriMo ended;
– pitched articles to two international magazines, rewrote my query letter, researched markets and editors, and worked on my novel synopsis. I also found an experienced writer who is willing to look at my synopsis once I’m finished;
– fully cleaned our main living area, reorganized a bathroom cabinet that was so full it wasn’t closing properly, and almost finished cleaning my office. When I started this plan five days ago, I couldn’t even see the floor in there for all the piles of stuff lying around; and
– walked almost 19 miles and burned 2,345 calories.
Before I started this plan, I never seemed to find time for my marketing. I did all right at the writing and exercise components, but I was never consistent. And cleaning? Fuggedaboutit!
Have you heard of the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Secret? Do you think it could work for you?
As for me, I just hope I can stick with it! It’s doing wonders so far.