4 Months of The Seinfeld Calendar

I made the original Seinfeld Calendar post 4 months ago.

It’s simply a giant year calendar that faces my bed so I see it all the time. If I accomplish my daily to-do list, I put a checkmark. If I don’t finish the to-do list, I put a dot:

The whole reasoning for this calendar is to make finishing my daily goals consistent. The quote I keep on top of the calendar sums it up:

Excellence is not an act, but a habit
–Plato

Here’s the number results of these four months (weekends included):

Good Day: When my written-the-night-before to-do lists get completely finished.
Bad Day: When to-do list not fully finished. Most of the bad days are weekends.


UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES:

The to-do lists I give myself are generally quite a bit of work. A standard to-do list generally will keep me occupied for a full 8-12 hours. Sometimes it takes less, sometimes it takes more. Most of this work involves me staring at a computer, so 8-12 hours of this per day gets a little straining.

I noticed when I tried getting a checkmark 7 days of the week, I burned myself out! The following days would be very unproductive and filled with low quality work because I was burning myself out. So after figuring out different ways of becoming more productive, I found out the best way is to allow myself about 2 bad days per week. This can be the weekdays or weekends…whatever I feel. This way the work is enjoyable and I still get large amounts of work done.

Here is a recent shot of the filled out calendar:

The first month I was getting REALLY pissed if I didn’t fill out a checkmark for the day, so I started working very hard the next day to fill it out. After a while I started making checking these off a habit. It’s helped me stop procrastinating as much, because in the middle of the day I think, “I can either continue to screw off and get a dot for the day, or just start doing this work, getting it out of the way and get a checkmark for the day.”

I also have less fun going out if I don’t finish all my work. When I finish off a great day of work, it feels good and well deserved to go out. So being more productive actually allows me to have more fun!

Anyhow, I’d highly recommend this Seinfeld Productivity Calendar method. It’s definitely helped me become more focused and productive through the day!

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    Blog posted on: October 2, 2009

    8 comments on “4 Months of The Seinfeld Calendar

    1. avinoamr

      Nev,

      That's definitely a good idea I'm going to try out myself. However, I think you're conceptually wrong about the 2-bad-days solution.

      If the stress of work and fulfilling your goals is getting too tiresome, and eventually hurts your efficiency – the solution should be to change the goals and expectations.

      What I mean is, you need to have 2 short days per week, with less demanding goals – but you still have to completely finish your to-do list. You should inspire to reach 100% commitment to the to-do list.

      My point is – reduce the workload by being aware to your capacity when setting the goals, and not by changing your commitment to achieving your goals.

      What do you think?

      Reply
    2. Neville

      Avinoamr,

      Sometimes I can't tell if the day will be unproductive. If I've been staring at a computer for far too long, my eyes will let me know it's time to do something else.

      So I'll allow myself to skip certain non-time sensitive tasks the following day. However I'm getting pretty good at having almost every day be productive!

      Reply
    3. dorigen

      Thanks for updating. I thought your original post on this was very interesting and I actually had "buy erasable calendar" on my to-do list.. but.. well.. I guess I was having a bad "dot" day.

      I'm going to try this, especially seeing that it has helped you a bit with your productivity.

      My only question is whether or not your to-do lists overwhelmed you at first? I was doing lists for a while, but most days I would look at the list and start feeling overwhelmed & hopeless, so i'd end up procrastinating (and not getting much done as a result). My lists weren't terribly long, i think it was just psychological. Perhaps it was the lack of a reward system?

      Reply
    4. Neville

      Dorigen,

      Absolutely! I always make my lists the day/night before, and when I wake up I'd think, "What the hell was I thinking adding ALL this work on there???"

      You should checkout the post I did on my to-do list:
      http://www.nevblog.com/2008/08/evolution-of-daily-to-do-list.html

      I'll do an update for you within the next week about a simple trick I did that made a big difference.

      I simply…COVER UP THE WHOLE TO-DO LIST with a sheet of paper. I inch it down the list one item at a time, then do that task, no matter how difficult or long it takes.

      I have ONE singular goal in mind and I complete it, then go to the next thing.

      By the end of the day I'm almost always done with EVERYTHING!

      Try it!

      Reply
    5. dape

      “In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen.” Burroughs
      It looks a bit depressing

      Reply
    6. Anonymous

      "Excellence is not an act, but a habit."

      You have this quote twice on your website. Once you attributed it to Aristotle, the other time Plato. Who was it?

      Reply

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