Seinfeld Strategy of Time Management: One of The Most Simplistic and Brilliant Methods

Jerry Seinfeld is arguably the most successful (and funniest) comedian of all time. The show that bares his name was the most-watched television show of all time when it was aired live, and it is still in reruns every day on television nearly a quarter-century after its last episode hit the airwaves. Given that, it is fair to say that a time management strategy named after the man is something worth paying attention to. 


What is Seinfeld strategy?

The strategy comes from a bit that Seinfeld would tell on the stage about how he produced the content that he needed for his shows each day. He said that the way that he became a better comedian was to write better jokes, and the way that he wrote better jokes was to focus on the writing process every single day.

He did not want to deviate from this at all because he knew that if he were to make any changes to his method that it could cost him in terms of his ability to continue to produce funny content. 

The Seinfeld method is a method where Jerry Seinfeld hangs a calendar of the entire year up on a wall in his home. If he sits down and writes jokes on that day, he puts a red X on the day to mark that he completed his task. He does the same thing each day that he writes.

seinfeld strategy calendar

His goal is to create a chain of red Xs as long as he possibly can. He says that the motivation to not break the chain is what keeps him going.

This helps build the habit and keeps him focused on what is important when working on his writing. It is not even about the quality of the writing that he does that day. Instead, it is all about the fact that he has stuck to the work at hand and made forward progress on the tasks that he was concerning himself with. 


Seinfeld strategy origin 

The origin story of the Seinfeld strategy is that Jerry was telling jokes about his method of creating those jokes. He detailed the calendar method that was mentioned above.

What he was trying to accomplish was to set himself up to be as productive as possible as far as creating jokes. He didn’t care as much about creating jokes that were better than everyone else. Instead, he just wanted to create jokes every day so that his own quality could improve. 

People think that the work of being a comedian is easy and that the job is fun at all times. Actually, it is a tough slog that requires a lot of work and dedication.

Those who are good at it are only good at it because they are willing to put in that kind of time. The Seinfeld strategy is the tactic that Jerry Seinfeld himself uses to make sure he is always making more progress on his goals. 

The beauty of this method is that it doesn’t require you to stack yourself up against others. Rather, you are simply trying to be a better version of yourself tomorrow compared to how you were today.

That is something that we can all work on, and it is something that Seinfeld has gifted us in the form of showing us all how it is possible. 


Why does Seinfeld’s strategy work?

The Seinfeld Strategy works because of its focus on improving yourself and not worrying about what other people are doing. It is so often the case that we get ourselves into a tizzy worrying about what other people are doing that we forget to check in with ourselves and make sure we are in control over our own life. That is something that we have to put a stop to. 

woman worrying about what others will say

Freelancers and those who work from home might see extraordinary benefits from the Seinfeld strategy because it is a great way to hold yourself accountable. You are your own boss when you do either of these things, but that also means that you have to hold yourself accountable for the actions (or lack of actions) that you take.

You might end up producing a lot more work when you know that you have a chain of red Xs to keep up with. It is a visual way that you can see how you are doing compared to what you are supposed to be doing. 


How to start using Seinfeld strategy?

You won’t need much to get started with the Seinfeld strategy, but you might consider going out to the store and purchasing a large calendar that you can hang up on your wall to use.

If you place the calendar where you tend to look a lot, there is a much bigger chance for you to form a habit, as the visual triggers remind you constantly about the things you need to do

seinfeld strategy calendar on a place where everyone can see

This is where you will mark each day that you complete your tasks for the day with a red X. That will let you know that you finished your work for that day, and you can move on to the next one. You should try to get the chain to be as long as possible. 

Perhaps you can start by using the eat the frog technique and choose the task that you know will be the most challenging for you. This is called eat the frog because it refers to taking on your most unpleasant task first so you can knock it out and then focus on other things that you need to do.

If there is something looming in your mind, then it is probably your eat the frog task. Perhaps you will want to take this one out first and then try to work on some of the others as time goes on. You can get a lot done by using eat the frog and knocking out some of those most irritating tasks first. 

Once you have the task that you want to conquer in mind, then it is up to you to start making your marks on the calendar and accomplishing more and more tasks. You can get a lot done by following this simple method, but you need to make sure you know what you are aiming at before getting started. 

woman painting with passion

One important note before you begin to work on a task like this is that you ought to avoid telling too many people what your plans are for this. It is not because you are trying to be secretive or anything, but you don’t want to allow yourself to get overly confident in your abilities before you have proven any of them.

In other words, don’t put the cart before the horse. You may end up getting positive feedback from people regarding how you are doing with your goals, but you may take that feedback and run with it when you should really be focusing on improving yourself and not worrying about what others are thinking.


3 Things Seinfeld Strategy teaches you

There are a few things that you can learn about yourself from the Seinfeld strategy that you should try to take on this journey with you. 

1. Life Is About Momentum 

Often, the thing that holds us back the most from making progress on our goals is a lack of momentum to get them accomplished. We may start out with the best of intentions, but things can fall off a cliff quickly when we are not careful about tending to the garden that is progress. If we let things slide too much, we may end up making mistakes that we easily could have avoided.

Thus, it is important to remember that making forward progress is the ultimate goal that we should all have as we work on building up to full steam momentum towards the things that we are trying to accomplish. 

2. It Is Most Important To Measure Yourself Against Yourself 

You should make sure you measure yourself against yourself when trying to accomplish anything new.

It is very easy to set yourself up for less than optimal results if you take on the tactic of comparing yourself to everyone else. People who do that are often quite unhappy with the results. They start to see themselves in a distorted light that does not reflect reality.

Instead of doing that, it is better to measure yourself against yourself. You should only be trying to improve your own results, not worrying about how your results stack up against the results that someone else has produced. It may not be the most competitive thing that you can do, but measuring yourself only against yourself is the best way to real results. 

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity” – James Clear

3. It Is Fun To See The Progress Stack Up 

Comparing yourself only against yourself is the best way to see your progress stack up. If you are always comparing yourself to someone else, then there is a chance that you will only see your shortcomings compared to what they have done. That is no way to live your life. You won’t give yourself credit for the progress that you have made. 

“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason” –  Jerry Seinfeld


Not everything in life is a competition. If you only measure yourself against the best, then you will always feel like you are falling behind. When you measure yourself against yourself, you can see how much progress you have managed to make overall this time. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Hold yourself accountable by making sure you only compare yourself against yourself. 

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