There’s no better way to become great at something than to do it every single day. Whether you want to learn to play the guitar, or become a great tennis player, or be a great standup comedian, doing something every single day generates results in the shortest amount of time. There’s no opportunity to forget how something works, so there’s no time wasted catching up to where you last left off, its much easier to see if a small change is affecting your performance or results, and its easier to apply new techniques or ideas to what you’re already doing.
You’ll also get better results. Big projects aren’t completed in one sitting. It takes consistent, daily action. If its a long term project, its easy to allow a day or two to grow between the time you can work on it. The problem is, it’s also easy to let a day turn into two days, then three, then a week. At that point, you’re in full procrastination mode, you lose site of the plan, and nothing gets done.
Jerry Seinfeld, when asked how he became such a great comic writer, shared a great piece of advice. He said he bought a simple wall calendar, and for each day he completed his self-imposed writing requirement, he’d mark that date with a big Red X. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
Once you start doing something every day, it’s easy to keep it going. Getting that action to become a habit can sometimes be challenging, but this is an effective way to help form that habit. Psychologically, it hurts to not be able to put that big red X on the calendar. Nobody likes to look at a month with a bunch of holes in it where X’s belong. It’s also a good way to be able to visualize real progress, which can be hard with abstract or long-term goals. This visualization technique is the same principal behind time tracking, which has been extremely beneficial for me.
So, whatever your goal is, get a chain going. Then, don’t break it.