Writer’s “Chain” Calendar
I recently heard about an accountability/productivity tip used by Jerry Seinfeld. “Don’t Break the Chain” is simple and can work for any goal like writing, exercise, or complimenting someone every day. This post is geared towards writers but the method will work for other goals as well.
What you’ll need:
* A calendar showing the entire year on one page
* A thick red marker (a red Sharpie works great for this)
* A prominent location to hang the calendar for viewing
Set a goal
The first thing you’ll need to do is to set a goal. I started using this method a few weeks ago and my initial goal was to write something every day. I did not set a specific word count nor a specific time frame. I just wanted to get words on the paper. But you can set any goal that works for you. I’ll probably change my goal to write 500 words every day sometime in the next few weeks.
Mark your calendar
For every day that you meet your goal, put a big red “X” on that day on the calendar. After a few days you will get a visual chain of X’s. You won’t want to break that chain. I am only at a few weeks of an unbroken chain and already I have forced myself to write just so that I can get my X and not break the chain. It’s visually motivating and a simple goal: get an X every day. Since the end goal is so simple it makes the more difficult goal of writing easier by extension.
You may have a few false starts where you miss a day or two and have to start over and that’s okay.
I read someone else’s post about this topic and they talked about allotting themselves a certain number of vacation or sick days each year, just like you would receive at a job. Instead of an “X”, you could mark a big “V” or “S” on your calendar instead. That way the visual aspect of the calendar remains intact. That seems like a reasonable addition to the calendar, however, already I feel like I will try my best not to use those benefit days.
Hang your calendar
Hang your calendar in a prominent location where you will see it every day. If you can’t see it, you won’t get the visual impact and reminder of your simple daily goal.
Download the Free Writer’s “Chain” Calendar
This is a dynamic calendar which means that you can change the year and starting day of the week. I made this specifically for writers wanting to use Seinfeld’s Don’t Break the Chain method. I’ve left room on each day to write your word count that won’t interfere with your red X’s. I’ve also added some simple cross-through boxes at the bottom for vacation and sick-day tracking if you wish to use that variation.