Jerry Seinfeld popularized the “don’t break the chain” (streak) productivity hack. In an interview, Jerry explained how he came up with his joke. By writing a joke every day and by keeping a streak of how many days he did.
“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.”
Productivity guru went bonkers on the tips and now many suggest it. There are even daily tracking sites that are built around this idea (like joesgoals.com & tdp). And Seth Godin mentions it in his latest book The Practice.
As I’m writing today I’m on day two of a chain of writing for 10 minutes every day. I previously broke a chain two days ago of 67 days. This tip is a good one considering the number of people recommending it. Yet, there is a dark cousin to this tip that we should be worried about, the no streak streak or the chain of doing nothing.
The common mistake when you stop a chain is to not pick up a new chain. You see, you’re most likely going to give up or become inconsistent after breaking a pattern that you’ve been doing for so long. If seeing all those X on the calendar excites you, not seeing any should be a cue to do something about it, not let it slide.