productiveIt’s a new year and with it comes all these crappy feelings of ‘I must do more than last year‘…’I must be better‘.

Coincidently, I read a tweet (can’t remember from who) that linked to this YouTube video – ‘Don’t break the chain‘ by Charlie – showing how he uses this idea to keep up a decent level of productivity.

There are more details of ‘Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret‘ on Lifehacker.

Basically, you keep a visual calendar of the days you work/exercise/kiss your wife, ticking everyday you do something and the idea is you don’t break the chain, e.g. don’t miss a day.

I got a calendar for Christmas and thought I’d use this with a couple of marker pens…then, Holy Christ! I found an app! The ‘Wonderful Day‘ app is great and a snip at 69p. Easy to use and allows you to track multiple goals. Currently I’m measuring Writing, Reading and Exercise.

I’ve used it for a week now and it gives you a great idea of how you’re doing. I was never terrible at doing stuff before but I like the recording and visualisation aspect of the app. I’m not going to put pressure on myself to not break the chain either. I figure that achieving 80% per month is good enough, e.g. exercising/writing/reading 80% of the days per month.

So what actually counts?

  • Exercise – gym, running outside, swimming, playing sport. Walking down the shops doesn’t.
  • Writing – novel, blog post (I can tick today off!), poem, short story, thinking in front of my notebook and actually making notes. Thinking during the day at work doesn’t, neither does writing a shopping list.
  • Reading – I’ve already noticed a big improvement with the amount I’m reading recently. I used to just let it slide and go to sleep but now I’m actually making time so I can add a tick onto my app!

All these little daily achievements will hopefully go towards my overall goals of; finishing the first draft of my 3rd novel this year, read more books than last year and complete at least two sprint triathlons and one 10km.

If I don’t achieve these than it cements my belief that I’m a horrendous, abomination of a human being.

Yeah, that’s pressure!