Jerry Seinfeld is arguably the most successful (and funniest) comedian. 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’s strategy?
The strategy comes from a bit that Seinfeld would tell on the stage about how he produced the content 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 because he knew that if he were to make any changes to his method, it could cost him in terms of his ability to continue producing funny content.
The Seinfeld method is where Jerry Seinfeld hangs a calendar of the entire year 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.
His goal is to create a chain of red Xs as long as possible. He says that the motivation not to break the chain 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 progress on the tasks he is concerned about.
Seinfeld strategy origin
The origin story of the Seinfeld strategy is that Jerry told 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 daily so that his quality could improve.
People think that the work of being a comedian is easy and that the job is fun at all times. 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 time. The Seinfeld strategy is the tactic that Jerry Seinfeld uses to ensure 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 than 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 that we get 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.
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 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 produce much more work when you know you have a chain of reds X’s to keep up with. It is a visual way to see how you are doing compared to what you are supposed to do.
How to start using the 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
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. It would be best if you tried to get the chain as long as possible.
Perhaps you can start using the eat the frog technique and choose the task 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 so you can knock it out and then focus on other things you need to do.
If something is looming in your mind, 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 you want to conquer in mind, 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 know your aim before getting started.
One important note before you begin to work on a task like this is that you should avoid telling too many people your plans. It is not because you are trying to be secretive or anything, but because 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 get positive feedback from people regarding how you are doing with your goals. Still, you may take that feedback and run with it when you should focus on improving yourself and not worrying about what others think.
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 accomplish them. We may start with the best intentions, but things can fall off a cliff quickly when we are not careful about tending to the progress of the garden. 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 toward the things that we are trying to accomplish.
2. It Is Most Important To Measure Yourself Against Yourself
You should 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. It would be best if you only were trying to improve your 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 you can do, but measuring yourself only against yourself is the best way to get 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, you will always feel like 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.