Personal Growth

The Seinfeld Strategy Can Help You Be Productive and Prolific

How many times have you tried picking up a new habit? How many times did it actually stick? Yup, that's what we thought. No shame — you can always hop back on the wagon. And with the Seinfeld strategy, or the X effect, you'll have a relatively easy time keeping that thing rollin' too. Just follow the X's.

Related Video: 6 Productivity Tips to Help You Get More Done

What's the Deal With Those X's?

In 1998, comedian Jerry Seinfeld raked in the highest annual earnings for a TV actor ever. He made $267 million in a single year, and he holds the Guinness World Record for it. No big deal. Even since his sitcom heyday, Seinfeld has been netting over $80 million per year. We'll have what he's having. And that may, in part, reportedly, be something called the Seinfeld Strategy. According to software developer and goal-setting blogger Brad Isaac by way of Lifehacker, Isaac once received firsthand advice from Seinfeld before he became a household name with his sitcom.

This is what James Clear and other have called the Seinfeld Strategy. Listen up. Seinfeld reportedly told Isaac, an aspiring young comic, to get a big, year-long calendar, big enough to cover a whole wall. For comedians, writing new material (or trying to) every day is critical, but it's not always easy to force pen to paper on the regular. With the task of writing every day in mind and a big ol' calendar staring down at you, mark off each day's square with a big red X for every day you accomplish your goal. After a few days of writing jokes, you'll have a chain of red X's. What you write every day doesn't have to be usable or even good, but you just have to do it. Your only mission at this point is to not break the chain.

X's Mark the Spot

You may know this productivity method by another name: the X effect. Basically, the same rules apply, save for the recommendation of index cards instead of a wall calendar. And, of course, the goal you're looking to achieve isn't necessarily going to be writing jokes every day. The X effect was originally posted on Reddit in February 2014 (careful: there's some adult language in the posting) and has since grown wildly popular. It even sparked its own subreddit: theXeffect. As of the time this article was written, the community stands at 30,000 subscribers. Quite the collection of people trying to better their lives, together.

Or you could always be like George Costanza and try the opposite of this.

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If you'd like to learn how we form habits and how best to break them and reform new ones, check out "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." The audiobook is free with a trial of Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Joanie Faletto September 19, 2017

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