Don’t Break the Chain is a productivity strategy popularized by the renowned comedian Jerry Seinfield.
The productivity technique requires you to commit to achieving a daily objective over a long period of time. You have to cross off each day that you achieve your daily objective on a calendar. Eventually, you’ll create a chain of Xs that spans weeks or months and gradually form a long-term habit that will last forever.
Every “X” on your calendar signifies a step closer to your objective. For example, every night, your schedule to study ensures your academic achievement in the future.
The tiny things that you do every day help you move closer to your big goal. Success stories may appear to be instant achievements, but most people fail to notice all of the small details that contributed to the great win. The greatest approach to work on your big goal every day is to make it a habit.
Most students find it pretty difficult especially when dealing with daily procrastination. However, the “Don’t break the chain” technique is an excellent solution to this problem. It’s a basic technique and all you need is just a paper calendar and a pen. Even though you don’t need a lot of prep for this trick, it is a really powerful approach for forming healthy habits.
How “Don’t break the chain” is beneficial for students?
Don’t break the chain helps you concentrate on the present moment. It emphasizes performing your daily habits rather than requiring you to think about the next day or the year after today. Instead, you only need to extend your streak of “Xs” by one day.
This approach focuses on the current action that you have full control over, rather than a long-term objective with multiple variables at play. So, you get short-term rewards for habits that pay off in long run. For example, read two pages every day to build a long-term habit of reading.
Don’t break the chain helps you gain the benefits of compounding. You have to complete the daily task and add an “x” to the calendar. Eventually, you’ll discover that your efforts compound as you continue to prolong your streak.
Getting Started with “Don’t Break the Chain”
It’s really easy to get started with your chain. You just need a paper calendar, and you’re all set to go. Here are the fundamentals:
Set your goal
Goal setting is the foremost process, where you have to think about your ideal future and drive yourself to make it a reality. Setting objectives allows you to decide where you want to go in life. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve allows you to focus your efforts in the right places.
While setting this goal, be realistic. The key is setting SMART goals; goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. For example, there’s no point in setting a goal to read 10 books a month if you’ve never even read one. First, determine your big goal or long-term goal and break them into smaller, more manageable goals. Write it down on your calendar why you want to do this task every day.
Taking breaks is utterly important—whether you are sick or cannot get out of your bed, or you really want to go on a vacation— take a break is fine! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Taking breaks for your mental well-being as well as physical health is important in order to be able to continue along your chain.
Adam Dachis suggests adding an “S” in the calendar for sick and “V” for vacations. Set your specific boundaries and do not cheat. If you take a day off for reasons that fall outside your boundaries, start afresh.
When people know there will be a reward at the end of the road, they are more likely to succeed. This is especially true when it comes to forming new habits. The streak of “Xs” in your calendar is increasingly rewarding.
However, if you don’t feel satisfied, start rewarding yourself on every milestone to stay motivated. Just be careful while picking your rewards. Pick something that you will be looking forward to, meanwhile don’t pick something that somehow undoes all of the hard work you’ve put in over the year.
Picking up the tool
The technique originally includes large monthly calendars printed and stuck on the wall. However, if you want to go for a smaller and more convenient option, you can choose a diary or a single sheet calendar. You can also choose to go digital. However, we personally do not recommend that as it can be quite distracting. That said, the technique is all about finding what works best for you.
The “Don’t Break the Chain” productivity approach is an extremely effective tool for creating goals and forming new habits. However, if you’re starting for the first time, start with one activity and do it for at least 10 minutes a day. You can always push your limits as you improve over time.
Remember: No matter how big your goal is, you will ultimately succeed if you take a small step towards your goal every day.