I read an interesting post about American comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
In order to ensure he has enough hilarious material for his routine he believes he must write daily. He works and works on his jokes to ensure they are successful, in terms of making people laugh. He calls his technique “Don’t break the chain”. The idea, and it is one that works for me too, is that in order to get things done (write jokes, or learn a language, or get more proficient at sewing, for example), you have to commit to doing something about it. Every single day.
I go the gym every day. Well every weekday. Some people think this shows incredible commitment. Actually the opposite is true. It requires nothing more than setting a habit; a habit that quickly becomes non-negotiable. Like brushing your teeth, going to the gym has the same boring routine to it – on my way to work I call in at the gym for an hour or so. Some days I lift weights or join an aerobics class. Others I swim or do yoga. But I go everyday; I get an early bus, I read the paper, I sometimes Tweet, I do the exercise class, or run on a machine; I take a shower and go to work. I am on automatic pilot to some extent. And my job is a daily discipline too – although I love my work, it is something I do every day in order to earn a living. Picking up socks, getting the shopping on the way home – the point is we already have a group of things we do automatically, without special effort. The trick is to introduce new things into this routine so that they get done without fail.
When I started sewing I started with a little every day, usually first thing in the morning. I have time to get dressed, drink four cups of tea, and enjoy, maybe, 30 mins of sewing. Therefore it was inevitable that once I started blogging I would do it everyday.
I publish a short post everyday and have done so for around 18 months.
Now while daily disciplines are great, so are weekly, monthly and annual ones! Spring cleaning; annual leave; dental checkups; birthdays; Christmas. Periods of time have their own rhythms. Some people sew more in winter than summer; others vice versa. Many are more active outdoors when the weather is fine. I wasn’t really aware of annual rhythms until I discovered the routine created by Artisan’s Sewing Annual Sewing with a Plan challenge. Annually we plan to make our new wardrobe during November and December and construct 11 garments from Christmas to the end of April. This provides a structure that motivates and drives me.
While I post daily, I haven’t been writing daily for a while. I write weekends, and then automatically schedule my posts. Sometimes I change the order but I dedicate some weekend time, each week, to writing. Which is fine, as I enjoy writing very much. As much as sewing, as it happens. I don’t always give the writing the time it deserves, and the quality is sometimes lost. I hate those typos and inelegant sentences.
This weekend I decided I will post five times a week (skipping Sundays and Wednesdays) instead of seven – blogging will become more of a weekly commitment for me. I will also try to improve the quality of my writing.
How do you ensure you get things done?
- Do you have a list that you tick off?
- Do you set deadlines?
- Do you prefer a spontaneous approach where sometimes you are hyperactive, and other times you take it easy?
- Or are you a “don’t break the chain” type?