Productivity is as easy as Snapchat


The Chain Method of productivity (The Seinfeld Method) Smart use of your willpower to get maximum output and increased productivity in the easiest manner. How to form productive habits?



I see friends who have maintained a language learning streak on Duolingo of more than 100 days, and a Snapchat streak longer than 300 days. How excruciatingly difficult can it be to maintain one more streak of only 15 mins or so on daily basis. Not for long, one day at a time to 66 days. Duhhh, you may ask in disbelief, “Are you kidding me Neha? How are 15 mins a day supposed to make me more productive? More so, I have tons of things I keep procrastinating, how are 15 mins a day gonna solve that?” Be impatient with this blog, that’s perfect because then you are less likely to waste time and execute this strategy followed by billionaires and multimillionaires, ASAP. What’s even better is it doesn’t require you to be superhuman to undertake this strategy. It rather requires you to be good at maintaining a streak, just as you do on Snapchat.


What Science says about willpower

It is scientifically proven that each one of us has limited willpower for each day. Every day as we force ourselves into productivity or make a choice between easy and difficult we spend a unit of this willpower. Then it should be practically impossible to be as productive as Mark Zukerberg or Bill Gates. Imagine forcing yourself to be productive throughout the day or being accountable for every minute you spend. Draining absurd amounts of mental energy, or so to speak willpower. Isn’t it? But they and many other people as productive as them exist. How do they manage it?


The answer lies in “habit”. The magnificent yet subtle strength has influenced the biggest of billionaires to follow “routines” and attracted countless intellectuals to write about the power of habit. Maxwell Maltz’s Atomic Habits, Nir Eyal’s Hooked, Robin Sharma’s The 5 A.M Club, Cal Newport’s Deep Work, Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect, and many other widely acclaimed books sing an ode to habit building. Why does it work?


Invisibility of habitual tasks

We brush daily, does it take effort? Nope. It is effortless. But suppose you are asked to catalog how you spent your time that day in different activities, will that take effort? Yes. It might take merely 10 mins of your day yet it will be a “task” to perform. But if you were to repeat this activity day after day, after a period of 6 months it won’t be a task. It’ll become basic to your life. In fact, the strength of habits is such that if you skipped cataloging your day just once, you’d feel uneasy about it. Just like people habituated to morning tea or coffee feel weird or different the day they skip it.


The impact of a habit is as magnificent as effortless the habitual thing becomes. If you wrote just only half a page a day you could publish a book in a year. If you worked out 15 mins a day you would be one of the fittest and most active people in your entire circle. The change will be slow. So slow that the change will be imperceptible initially. However, within a month you’d be able to see small changes, which will compound and become huge change in an year. The question arises, how to develop habit because if it were easy, everyone would do it. But as I keep saying, it’s Godamn easy and requires only your basic amount of willpower, a clear understanding of your schedule, and only once in a day being accountable for one thing that you committed to. That’s nothing extraordinary.


The Productivity Tips From Most Effective Life Coaches

I’m going to share the magic trick mentioned in Atomic Habits, 5 AM Club, and The Steinfeld Method, and how they combine together to help you develop an extremely productive habit effortlessly.


What the Atomic Habit says:

The trick is to show up. It is difficult to nag it down for an extreme workout when we know how much of effort and sweating that’ll take throughout the workout. In that case, just promise your mind that it only has to show up to workout. Well, our brain is no fool. It won’t possibly believe this stupid lie, only if it were a lie. Working out is only an example to make the statement here.


Promise yourself that every day you will wake up, get fresh, change into your workout gear, tie your shoes and step outside for a run, but you don’t have to run. Come back inside, change into normal clothes and proceed with the day. Repeat this for 7 days and your mind will already be in the phase to start running. In all probability, you would start running even before the completion of the days. But no pressure. You don’t necessarily have to run, you only have to show up.


So according to Maxwell Maltz, you only need to maintain this for 21 days. But there are psychological findings from the research that tells another story.


What the 5 A.M. Club says:

The Habit Installation Protocol: The 66-day minimum


22 days set 1: Destruction

This is the most difficult phase as it is the voluntary breaking of your old habitual systems. Overcoming the deeply ingrained habits which are dominant in our system takes a lot of energy and willpower to break. This stage as Robin Sharma phrases generally feels like mild torture. But that is if you are undertaking a drastic change. This is why most people fail at developing productive habits.


22 days set 2: Installation

The task becomes easier to perform but maintaining it for such a long number of days becomes the new task


22 days set 3: Integration

By the end of the Integration set of 22 days, the habit will be integrated into your system, and you will reach the “ Automaticity Point”. Beyond this point, the habit is automated in your system and it becomes as effortless as brushing your teeth.


Such a gruesome way to be productive! I personally would need a coach by my side to make THAT happen for a continuous 66 days. That is why I have a much simpler way to get things done and maintain them on daily basis.



What the Seinfeld Method says:

But before that, who Seinfeld was? One of the greatest comedians, entertainers, and writers of his generation. He earned a whopping amount of 267$ million each year at the peak of his career and went on to yet earn 85$ million each year even in the late of his career.


This extraordinary achievement is possible by only a few and when a young lad asked the secret behind his consistent success, Seinfeld said two things: (it’s a popular story)


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.

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 is to not break the chain.”


No talks of motivation or grit. One simple thing. Don’t break the chain. Don’t break the streak. And if you do break it, then start all over again with the purpose of outdoing your previous streak. This is perfectly suitable for this generation of energetic youngsters, who love to transform tasks into mini-games. Undoubtedly it’s easier, thus more effective. The attention is directed towards keeping the streak going, instead of the effort required in the task.


However, if you were only to somehow manage the task without caring about the quality will it improve the quality of your output over time?


In scientific research conducted on a group of photography students were asked to click one picture daily and submit it for 30 days, while another group was asked to submit only one great picture. At the end of the research, it was found that the group which clicked and submitted pictures daily ended up with better submissions than the group whose only task was to share one picture. Moreover, the improvement over the 30 days of pictures was clearly visible. This happens with any skill that we undertake. Practice on a regular basis improves our skill little by little, but considerably by the end of it (compound effect).



How to build a practical strategy for yourself to see it actually work:


Decide these few things, get a calendar, and get started:


When:

You know your schedule best, hence, it is easier for you to know which part of the day you are more likely to put aside electronic distractions and work without disturbance on the chosen task.


What:

Define a clear task that generates output and is simple to perform. If you wish to write better comic scripts, then write a set number of words or a set number of jokes each day. Do not put research jokes as the task for your streak.


Where:

This is optional but defining a set place, even a particular corner of your room or another room for the task helps your mind enter the zone of actually working on it.


Bonus hows:

Work on one objective at a time. Once the habit is integrated you say over 3-6 months of time, start with another objective parallelly. Avoid distraction at all costs. You can get more accomplished in 15 mins with focused attention than 30 mins of distracted attention. (Deep Work, by Cal Newport).


Focus your limited willpower on choosing to maintain your streak for one thing at a time. Integrate it into your system before you move on to the next challenge. That is the simple secret. Love it? Share it with the people who can use this.

:)


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