How to stop procrastinating? Building habits using Seinfeld strategy


How to stop procrastinating? Building habits using Seinfield strategy

How to stop procrastinating? Building habits using Seinfeld strategy

Several burning questions in life need to be answered. Unless we try to simplify the complexities of our lives, we are bound to get topsy-turvy. 

One such burning question is,

How to stop procrastinating?

Though there may be several ways to tackle this problem, you will learn about one of the best ways of dealing with procrastination- the Seinfeld strategy.

Before that, does procrastination and building habits go hand in hand?

Absolutely! You are not able to build habits because you love to procrastinate. The moment you learn how to stop procrastinating, you can make your life way better. 

Who is Seinfeld?

Does the Seinfeld sitcom ring a bell? It was one of the most popular television series aired on NBC from 1989 up till 1998. Jerome Allen Seinfeld, along with Larry David, wrote and created the sitcom. Jerry Seinfeld from America is regarded as one of the best comedians of all time. 

He also co-wrote and starred in a 2007 Golden globe award nominee animated film- The Bee Movie.

This is enough for a very brief introduction to the legendary comedian. How did he become legendary is indeed the question.

In 2007, the Lifehacker blog spread the word of Brad Issac, a software developer, and blogger. Brad got a chance to speak with Seinfeld backstage. What he asked was a few tips for an aspiring comedian.

What Seinfeld answered him is what is popularly known as the Seinfeld strategy to stop procrastinating. This is what I am going to share with you today. 

The Seinfeld technique

What Seinfeld emphasized was to have a calendar system of one whole year on a single page. He suggested that to be a better comedian, one needs to write better jokes, and to write better jokes, one needs to write every day. 

The next step is to take a red marker and mark X on the day on a calendar when you have done your job. Let me quote the words.

"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 next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain," he said again for emphasis."

Not breaking the chain is the key to stop procrastinating. Seinfeld did not talk about monitoring the results or anything like it. His strategy is to focus on the task itself and not the consequences.

He laid greater emphasis on not breaking the chain. This is also a secret to being consistent or developing a habit. 

Implementing the strategy

Well, you don't need anything other than a calendar and a red marker! What you need to do is start acting today. For instance, I have promised myself that I will write a 1000 word blog each day. You may have a similar promise to make. 

The brilliant part about the Seinfeld strategy is that you don't even have to be good at it! If you write a joke every day, you don't actually have to be a comedian. It is the everyday process that will make you one.

Top athletes, sportspersons, superstars, entrepreneurs follow this whether they know about this strategy or not. They will show up even if there is no motivation to do anything. Treat your task like an everyday ritual to perform. 

Can you use digital calendars to stop procrastinating?

Of course, there are a lot of apps that will track your productivity. In my opinion, you can use the default calendar app on your phone if you can mark a big cross for the day. 

However, the Seinfeld strategy is best applied with a physical calendar.

A word of caution

There is a caveat for you. You might fail to fulfill your daily tasks and mark a red cross due to inevitable reasons. This will demotivate you.

However, do remember to note down the reasons why you missed it. The positive side of documenting your life journey is that you can easily link pain to not accomplishing tasks. 

In his book, Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins explains to us how linking pain to bad habits can actually cause us to break them. Our brains will do anything to avoid pain. On looking upon the calendar which you have well maintained, a day without a red mark is undesirable.

One more thing. While chalking out daily rituals, be sure to be pragmatic. Do not fantasize. Prepare yourself for small meaningful tasks that do not require great motivation or courage.

Again, the tasks must be action-oriented. It is splendid to read a fitness book but make sure to land on a treadmill after reading it. If you read too much without applying anything, you will be called an information junkie!

A side effect of Seinfeld strategy

This strategy is not only to stop procrastinating and building habits, but also for reducing anxiety. When you are carrying out daily tasks, you do need to worry about your success in the long-term. Jerry Seinfeld knew very well that he just needs to write a joke every day, no matter the quality of it. 

You get to worry about only the task at hand and not your uncertain future. The Seinfeld strategy is magic!

Bonus tip

Whenever you have completed your task successfully and crossed out a day on the calendar, reward yourself. The reason why I state this is reasonably simple. Brains hunt for rewards.

Installing a reward system does not involve self-sabotaging rewards like smoking or drinking a lot. You can reward yourself by watching a movie or reading your favorite book. Whatever the reward system, it depends on what your brain desires. You will do the task every day for the reward itself. 

Of course, this tip is not a part of the Seinfeld strategy. This tip only comes from my personal experiences and experiences of many others.

How to stop procrastination? Read my blog and follow the Seinfeld strategy. Last but not least, be loyal to your life.

Be inspired.

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