How to Make Getting Things Done on Time a Habit

16.08.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course How to overcome procrastination by Jurgen Wolff


In the previous lesson, you added 4 more powerful tools to your anti-procrastination toolbox. It may be that you’ve already started applying these lessons to a project that you were avoiding. If you turn this into a habit, it can change your life for the better. That’s what you’ll learn in this lesson.


How Long Does It Take to Build a Habit?

Researchers disagree on how long it takes to establish a new habit. Some say 21 days, some say 45 days, and other figures have been proposed. Regardless of exactly how long it takes—and it probably varies from person to person and habit to habit—all agree that consistency is the key. The more days in a row you do the new behavior, the closer you are to making it your default.


Use the Jerry Seinfeld Method

A good way to help you be consistent is to use a simple method that has been called, “The Jerry Seinfeld Method,” after the comedian talked about it to Brad Isaac, an aspiring young comic. Seinfeld told him the best way to learn to write better jokes was to write every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

He said the way he did this was to get a big calendar with a whole year on 1 page and a red marker.

Hang the calendar somewhere prominent, where you can’t avoid seeing it every day. When you’ve done your desired behavior for the day, put an X through that date. After a few days, you’ll have a chain.

“You’ll like seeing that chain,” Seinfeld said. “Then your only job is not to break the chain.”

You can use that method for any kind of habit, and you can strengthen your efforts by adding the rewards/punishments methods you learned in a previous lesson.


Habit-Building Apps

There are many apps for your smartphone, tablet, or desktop that can help you track and build habits, but as I’ve said before, it’s easy to fall into the “app trap” of spending too much time looking for the perfect app and learning how to use it; that’s why I like the Seinfeld method so much—there’s nothing to learn and it takes only a few seconds a day. But if you love tech, you can google “habit-building software” and find plenty of alternatives.


The Increasing Benefits of Getting Things Done on Time

Like many good habits, after a while, getting things done on time will become its own reward. You’ll find you’re less stressed, and the quality of your work will improve. If you’ve procrastinated on projects that other people expected you to deliver on time, it may even improve your career prospects.

Now you have a simple way to build this rewarding habit. Even so, once in a while, you may find yourself unable to meet a deadline. The next lesson reveals the best strategy to use if that occurs, and it also recaps the key points of the course.

All the best,

Jurgen Wolff


Recommended book

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin


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