Jerry Seinfeld is credited with a great productivity tip (though he claims to not remember talking about it). He felt that to be a great comedian, you had to write every day. His technique will be useful for you as you learn:
- Buy a wall calendar and hang it on the wall where you practice.
- Every day that you practice, put an X through the box with a red marker.
- As your chain of Xs grows, say to yourself, “Don’t break the chain”.
Go to the downloads page to get the latest practice calendar.
Seinfeld commented, “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.”
I love this. It’s such a simple goal: Write every day. Play every day. Exercise every day. And the tracking system is beautifully minimal. Just make an X in a box. The chain is its own reward, better even than ice cream (I guess that’s up for debate). As that chain of Xs grows you will say “Yes! Yes! Yes!” It feels good once you get in the swing of practice.
Some students are more goal-driven. They get motivated by having a definite goal to work towards: Learning ten Irish reels. Recording an album. Performing in a show. In fact, if you are trying to become an expert performer in your field it’s necessary to be setting concrete goals to work toward. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to set goals and create a series of small action steps to help you achieve that goal.
But the ultimate (and simplest) practice goal:
There are phone apps which accomplish the same thing as the practice wall calendar. I use one called Momentum:
With this you can easily keep track of multiple good habits you are maintaining.
Don’t feel like buying a wall calendar in the middle of the year? No problem! We made a special FiddleHed Practice Calendar for you. You’ll find it in the first lesson of How To Practice Consistently.
Now go fiddle with it…