How The Top 1% Actually Makes Progress (aka the Seinfeld Solution) : Under30CEO How The Top 1% Actually Makes Progress (aka the Seinfeld Solution) : Under30CEO
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How The Top 1% Actually Makes Progress (aka the Seinfeld Solution)

| August 13, 2013 | 75 Comments

Productivity sucks.

For one, it’s hard. I mean, let’s face it – every single time I sit down to “get something done”, it almost never happens. At first, I thought it was just me. I thought that maybe there was some malfunction in my brain that made it physically impossible for me to focus on important tasks when the sweet, sweet Facebook newsfeed is only a click away. It’s sad, actually. The F key on my Macbook is starting to fade out. What’s even sadder is that oftentimes I don’t even WANT to be on Facebook (or insert your poison of choice). I just feel drawn to the distraction like a moth drawn to light. Don’t even get me started on Netflix. I’ve literally watched over 5 years of Weeds this week alone.

photo credit: Flickr/dm74

photo credit: Flickr/dm74

What am I doing with my life?

That’s why I always laugh when I see more of these “productivity” apps come out every month. Who needs another app? Who needs another digital piece of change jangling around in my already crowded brain? How is another set of clicks, swipes and scrolls actually going to help me get anything else done? I already have enough to do.

Sometimes I think I’m going nuts with all the things I have to think about at the same time.

So, in a moment of desperation a few months ago, I started asking other people Under 30 if they were having trouble getting things done in too. Mostly, I just wanted to make sure completely I wasn’t batshit crazy. Here’s what some of you had to say:

“Sometimes, I have so many things swirling around in my head that I just get confused and as a reflex, I do nothing.”

“I spend so much time thinking about how to get things done that I don’t actually get anything done. It’s like spending hours drawing up a map, then never using it.”

“I’m always trying to make progress in work/life, but I constantly find myself stopping and starting…so I never really get any traction.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

You have no idea how gratifying it was to get hear this stuff. I mean, honestly.

Now I know it’s not just me. You’re batshit crazy too! I can relate to all three of these, especially the last one.

I often find myself starting a new project, idea or pursuit then somehow, someway….letting it fade into the mist. Until eventually, it’s no longer part of my life. I treat it like a dead child and mourn for it…but rarely speak of it. Countless times I have tried to get something done and for whatever reason…just couldn’t. I couldn’t really put my finger on it…but it seemed like more than pure lack of willpower was at play here.

Not being able to follow through on the things we want to do sucks.

It sucks if you want to launch a successful startup. In fact, it sucks if you just want to improve your life in any way at all.

So, I took a hard look at my habits and my interactions with the people and things that I deemed important to me.

I discovered something very interesting. Something that has been a HUGE factor in me starting 3 profitable businesses in the last 12 months and ejecting myself out of 9-to-5 misery.

Here’s what I’ve been doing. Let me know what you think.

Maybe it’s not about willpower?

You can’t “will” yourself to be more productive with your time.

You’re not a lemon. You can’t just squeeze more juice out. It doesn’t work like that, young padawan.

To be honest, I don’t even think I have what most people would call “willpower”. If you’re talking about mental fortitude, well I probably use 60% of my energy just getting out of bed in the morning. Maybe 70% on days where I have something un-fun to do. Yes, I made that word up.

If I had to use willpower to be productive, I’d never get anything done.

I legitimately don’t have the wherewithal to combat the temptations of all the fun things I’d rather do (instead of bootstrapping these businesses) on a daily basis. I like having fun, training and “chilling” too much.

But therein lies the problem. On the one hand, I don’t want to do anything but things that excite and inspire me. On the other hand, in order to EVENTUALLY have the ability to only do what I want, I have to make some serious moves now. Moves that require me to be extremely productive.

So I had to find a way.

I’d always thought that the reason elite performers in the top 1% of their disciplines were able to do so much more than me was because they had some sort of x-factor that allowed them to work harder, longer and better than me. Or, I made up all these limiting self-beliefs that they had unfair advantages that I’d never have (“of course he’s more productive than me…he has a personal chef to cook for him while he’s working”). All that is BS, naturally.

Then it occurred to me – maybe it’s not willpower at work here. Maybe these people aren’t “forcing” themselves to get stronger, faster, smarter or more successful.

Maybe it goes much deeper.

Maybe the reason that the world’s most productive people ARE so productive is because they have their entire life designed to get better at their work.

The Seinfeld Solution

In 1998, Jerry Seinfeld made $267 million dollars from the 9th and final season of his hit show Seinfeld. Yes, thats a quarter billiondollars. No, that’s not a typo. NBC begged him to do a 10th season to the tune of $5M per episode for 22 episodes (WTF?!). He declined. Needless to say, it was a great decade for him. But the 2000′s have been quite good to him as well – deals from syndication of his now classic show bring in a steady paycheck of about $85 million per year. Not bad, Jerry. Not bad at all.


photo credit: Lifehacker

But let’s take it back. Back, before he was a borderline billionaire comedian. Back before he was even a household name.

How does one amass the talent, skill and productivity to write joke after joke, show after show, year after year at such a high level?

In an interview with Lifehacker, comedian Brad Isaac shares the story of a chance encounter he had with Seinfeld backstage. He asked Jerry if he had any “tips for a young comic”.

Here’s how Brad describes the conversation:

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“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 is to not break the chain.”

Take note here. You’ll notice Jerry didn’t mention anything about having good jokes. He didn’t even mention how long the activity had to last. The task is very simple: write something every day, put an X on the calendar and don’t break the chain.

Using your brain’s programming against itself

It’s almost simple enough to be counterintuitive – but let’s think about what’s happening here. There are a few very sophisticated processes going on. Think about how you could use this model with the skill or process you’re trying to become more productive with:

  • The act of doing something every day programs you to make it a default behavior. Most of us don’t have to force ourselves to brush our teeth in the morning. There’s no mental strain or cognitive dissonance with brushing your teeth. You just do it…because that’s who you are. You are a person who likes clean teeth and fresh breath. Seinfeld managed to integrate writing jokes into his daily routine day after day. Over time, he associated his identity with the writing and from there, it’s much easier to follow through.
  • Default behaviors, repeated day in and day out become habits. Habitual pursuits almost ALWAYS improve because of sheer frequency. In Jerry’s case, writing every day ensures that he’s bound to stumble on some funny material. 365 days of straight writing guarantees some nuggets of wisdom just by the sheer volume of material he’ll have created over time.

In effect, you’re using your own human tendency for habit creation to work AGAINST your natural tendency to procrastinate, stall and be otherwise unproductive. Rather than setting nebulous goals and hoping that you have the power to push through, you are actively installing new software (aka habit) in your brain’s computer to ensure that the program (aka goal) gets run. With enough consistency over time, the new software WILL get installed. You literally will not have a choice but to complete the habit every day. From there, success is on cruise control.

The only thing you have to do is NOT break the chain.

How to use this (and how it’s worked for me)

I’ve had great success with hardwiring new habits into my daily rituals. The best part about creating a new habit is that after a while, you forget that it’s a “new” habit. It becomes so natural that you no longer even need to keep track. It’s just what you do. I’ve done this with a few different things that used to be a struggle for me to do consistently, and now I manage to do them every day without even a second thought:

  • Making my bed (was at a 67 day streak before I stopped tracking. My mom would be SHOCKED)
  • Meditating (was at a 70+ day streak before I didn’t need to track anymore)
  • Reading (40+ days and counting)
  • and 4 or 5 other habits

But here’s the catch…

Some days I was only able to throw the bed together.

Sometimes my meditation wasn’t good.

Often I only read a few pages.

But none of that matters because above all, I did it every single day. Consistently. And I haven’t stopped.

These may not seem like huge challenges, but imagine what it’s like to string together weeks and weeks of things you previously struggled with. Like compound interest, effort over time adds up to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts.

This is the secret sauce. This is how the top 1% of all performers are productive at a level that seems impossible to us earthlings.

Before Michael Phelps won the most gold medals in history, he was on a 10+ year hot streak of not missing a single planned day of training. Some of the days, his training wasn’t good. But he still showed up. It’s that simple.

Don’t break the chain.

Let’s say you want to learn programming for your startup, but are completely overwhelmed by what you need to know. That’s fine, and it’s perfectly normal. Start with small bites. If you learn programming, rain or shine, hell or high water, for 365 days in a row without breaking the chain, you will make progress. Even if you consider yourself way below average at the beginning. At just an hour per day, that’s almost 400 hours of consistent programming after a year. How good could you get at something with 400 hours?

Look at Karen, who taught herself to dance in one year using the Seinfeld Solution:

Check out more of her story here: Dance in a Year

Karen proves that even over a year’s time, you can make remarkable progress in things that at first seemed near impossible to tackle. If you put in the time in little bite-sized chunks without skipping a beat, you can accelerate to advanced levels quickly.

Your only task is….you guessed it….don’t break the chain.

It doesn’t matter what the field, pursuit or project is. Consistency over time is mastery. To track my progress with new habits I’m working on, I often use the habit-building app Lift as my digital calendar to track my “chain”. It’s one of the few worthwhile productivity/lifestyle apps out there.

What new habits are you planning to integrate on a daily basis to help you become more productive and advanced in your career and life?

Leave me a comment below. Let me know!



Daniel DiPiazza is the founder of Rich20Something, where he teaches young people how to stop doing shit that they hate and break free of 9 to 5 boredom by starting their own businesses. Click here to join his tribe of hungry young entrepreneurs and get free coaching.

About the Author: Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel DiPiazza teaches young people how to stop doing shit that they hate and break free of 9 to 5 boredom by starting their own businesses at his blog

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  • Justin Tan

    This article must have been reuploaded or something because it’s unbelievable that nobody has any comments on this since I read this a week ago. I always used to think it was “quality over quantity” and you had to be smart about how you invest your time. My problem was I thought quantity was just going through the motions, not actually trying my best to do well (even if that day’s “best” sucked). With that mindset, I didn’t really get anything done. After a week of reading this article thought, I’ve managed to get a solid week of meditating done (way more than any other streak that I’ve done) and start to feel confident that I can really make changes in my life. Thanks Daniel for such an inspiring article, looking forward to reading more!!

  • Marc Brodeur

    I did this with learning Spanish. I bought myself Rosetta Stone, and did 3 lessons every week, using a calendar with big X’s. Worked great!

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Glad to hear from you, Justin. How do you meditate? I use music to drift off.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Sweet, Marc. Are you using the method for anything now?

  • Marc Brodeur

    Not the calendar, no, but I’m a huge fan of “pre-deciding”, which is how I think of habits.

    Basically, I make a decision to do something, then it no longer counts as a “choice”, but something that I just do. It’s a bit of a brain trick, playing off the idea of biologically-limited-willpower. Things like exercising every M T Th F. It’s not a “choice”. I just do it. (And Foursquare kind of keeps track of it for me :)

    I could relate to how you wrote that you tracked it until it was no longer worth tracking. That’s the mark of a great habit/lifestyle!

  • Nabeel Malik

    This was a great article to read. I really enjoyed it and you make a lot of sense. Seinfield Solution is a great way on becoming more productive and creating a habit out of it. Thank you very much.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Glad to have helped, Nabeel. Can you think of any ways to apply it to your life immediately?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    That’s an interesting point – I agree that we do have pretty limited will power. Deciding to do something because it’s just “what you do” is all about creating identity based habits. My friend James writes about this:

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    Love this! My son (who is 2.5) has actually helped me with this tremendously. His nap-time is my “me time” and it has allowed me to maximize the use of my time and energy. I don’t think I’ve missed a day of meditation in almost a year. Even if it’s just five minutes of deep breathing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I do keep my commitments to myself. My other big one is writing. Even if it’s just a sentence or 5 things I’m grateful for. Good to know there are other batshit crazies out there!!! :)

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Haha! Agreed @carrieleighsandoval:disqus! Mediation has been huge for me, even if I can only squeeze 3 minutes in. Collectively, it really adds up. Can you talk a little bit about how consistent mediation has helped you?

  • Nabeel Malik

    I have been meaning to launch a business which I have been working on for months. I need to start making it a habit and work on it every day and believe in it more. It gets hard with family and work to launch a business.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Agreed on that – it is hard. Now for me to play devil’s advocate: if you stall on launching the business because of family, how will you ever have time to actually RUN the business?

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    Well I’m really sensitive to energy and I feel other people a lot. So for me personally it has helped me be more self aware of what I’m putting out and what I’m picking up on. I’ve been meditating for years and years and years, but doing it every day, like you said, actually changes your brain. I respond differently, I’m calmer for the most part, it lets my subconscious know that I am worth the extra time and energy and therefore validates the belief that I am lovable and deserving of good things. I feel more centered and confident in my body than I ever have. And it has greatly increased my psychic abilities. :) How has it impacted you?

  • Karisa

    Love this! Practical tips and meditation is SO important I appreciate you highlighting that.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    I think meditation is one of the most underrated tools in the entrepreneur’s arsenal. For me, I have so many things swirling around in my head on a minute-by-minute basis…but in the past, I’ve never taken the time to consciously calm myself down, take note of my priorities, and move from a place of centered intelligence. Meditation allows me to do that. I can make better decisions and stop worrying so much. BTW, it’s absolutely essential with a 2.5 year old running around ;)

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Thanks for reading, Karisa! Can you think of a specific way you’d like to implement the idea of creating habits through consistency?

  • craig roberts

    Great article! Thank you!!!

  • Nabeel Malik

    I have a plan… Does not involove a lot of my time but, at the end of the day Im a workaholic. I work a lot and all the time. Its just that I had a kid last week which is taking a lot of my time. I need to get his schedule established and I use to own a business as well therefore I understand how hard it can be. You mentioned you launched 3 businesses. What type or industry?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Thanks for reading, Craig. Where do you think it’d be useful in your life right now?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Wow! Congrats, man! Me? A test prep company, a web development company, monetized my blog and now working on a 4th. It’s secret. Can’t tell.

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    Agreed! My brain is the queen of batshit crazy shit. Luckily there is more to me than my thoughts. And yes as for my biz it makes decision making A LOT easier! I’m trained to facilitate meditations for people too! It is amazing watching/hearing/feeling other people shift from that place of feeling overwhelmed to just being.

  • Tom Egelhoff

    Hi Daniel, Just sent you a note about a possible interview on my radio show.

  • Kaushal Kumar

    awasome, its true i have experiance from 10 year, in these situations

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hey Tom- looking, don’t see.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hey Kaushal-

    Any tips you can give us?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Oh wow! Do you do guided meditations?

  • Julie

    Hi Daniel, interesting article. Thanks! I think ultimately, while we are keep going and not break the chain, it is still back to having discipline aka will power. The main point is we do not set too high a standard of what we need to achieve that a lot of times, paralyzed us from moving forward. Ultimately it is still discipline to keep doing what you need to do, to achieve what you want, until it becomes a habit, a part of your life. It’s like losing weight(consciously selecting healthier options until it becomes a life style change), training for a marathon(keeping to running 3times a week by design my schedule around this plan) and learning about a new knowledge area(by reading up on it). Only that we don’t stress ourselves by setting lofty goals right at the beginning. If I want a sundae today, then eat more veg for the rest of the day to balance off. If I’m tired today, then I run a shorter 30min run, and if i’m really busy today, then I will read just an article instead of spending 1 hr on the subject. Yes, Consistency over time is mastery!

  • Claire

    what do you do during vacations? how do you keep your habits going?

  • Tom Egelhoff

    I sent it from “Contact” on your web page not tied to this article.

  • Justin Tan

    Yea i do the same, I got this set of great binaural beats from OmHarmonics at a $50 discount that got rid of my inability to focus.

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    Yes! As a coach I use meditation as one of my main tools. I did a short one for a group of foster kids recently and at the end I checked in with them and asked how they felt and one kid said, “I feel like I can conquer the world!” So it works.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Binaurals are awesome. They have some good ones on Omvana as well. I’ll have to check OmHarmonics out. Thanks for the tip.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    That’s the EXACT feeling you want to invoke. Powerful stuff. Awesome to hear.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    I better check that form, it seems to be malfunctioning. Shoot me an email instead!

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hi Julie – welcome to the community and thanks for the feedback!

    I think the key is setting attainable goals, like you mention – ones that you won’t have a problem staying consistent with. But I still think that over time, will power becomes much less of a factor as the “normalness” of a new habit takes over ;)

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Yep – even if they are only little tidbits, just to say I kept the chain alive. Occasionally if I’m sick or really can’t do something (for a real reason, not an excuse) I’ll give myself a “pass” and still count the day as to not break the chain – but you have to be careful with these passes, as 99% of the time, we abuse them.

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    Thanks! :)

  • Tyson Hartnett

    Daniel, you are raising the bar high with these articles. I love everything you said about production, and getting into habits which will determine what we do in the future. I also try to consistently meditate, and i think it’s one of the most powerful things a person can do. I don’t like how it’s kind of a taboo, like with self-help, and how if you are, more specifically, a male, and you meditate, you are seen as weird, just like if you read self-help books then there must be something wrong with you because you are trying to better yourself.
    Howweevverrr, with the productivity idea, I think there is a real grey area here. If I meditate for only 1 minute every day, does it count? How about 20 seconds? How about if i just stare at the sky, in a meditative trance, without physically closing my eyes and focusing on my breath?
    Or the writing. Everybody writes every day, whether it is an email, a text message, or the url of Do you mean an article should be written every day? Or what if you write 20 pages one day, then the next day you need a break, and don’t do it. Is the streak broken? Did you fail? Is jerry seinfield going to punish you?
    I am going to try to do all these things though, and consistently stay on track. I think the more we do things, the better we get, even if it isn’t high quality stuff. It’s like an artist creating a masterpiece. The painting looks like shit until it’s completed, and then people are like, “Wow!” And I think you will reach a tipping point (whaddup malcolm gladwell) if you just do it enough. There will be a moment where you will realize all that writing/ training/ eating healthy has actually worked, and you are so proud of yourself for putting in the time.
    Ok, give me your thoughts on this. I wanted to write a long comment because I feel you deserve it from the quality pieces you have been providing the internet recently.

  • Debi Davis

    I’m working on writing. I’ve finally got myself convinced that when it comes to my blog, quality is more important than quantity. But, the take-away from this post is that quantity (i.e., do it every day) can reap quality. Like the Jerry Seinfeld story. He wasn’t writing jokes every day. He was writing every day. He ended up with enough good jokes to turn him into a career comedian. So, I’ll write every day, but not with the intention of turning everything I write into a blog post. With luck, some of what I write will be worthy of posting to my blog.


  • Mike Darche

    Daniel you totally knocked this one out of the park–again! I love your writing because it’s always so spot on. You know how to connect to your audience and we can totally relate to your hook…There are some awesome points in this post, especially on consistency with your routines. In Charles Duhigg’s ‘Power of Habit’, he talks about a similar thing to Seinfeld’s solution: setting up cues to jumpstart your habit. Just by writing that big red X on the calendar or seeing the chain of your progress, you’re subconsciously developing a tool to put your writing, or programming, or whatever on autopilot. I think these cues like tracking your progress are huge motivators that will build a solid routine. Do you find that it’s easier to start new habits when you deliberately attack them in the same mindset as the ones you already have down, or does it depend on the habit?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hi Tyson,

    Thanks for much for the AWESOME response and the compliment as well.

    To get to the meat of your question – if you’re doing something for one minute, or classify typing a URL as your “writing” for the day, it definitely doesn’t count and you’re just cheating yourself. The idea is that you don’t have to be a Nazi about the process, and that sometimes you will only have a limited amount of time – so the focus is on number of days in a row, not number of hours in one sitting. But don’t cheat yourself just to get an “X” on the calendar.

    What types of habits besides meditation would you like to integrate?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    You made a really good point that I didn’t touch on, Debi. After a while, Jerry wasn’t writing jokes…he was just writing. And out of that writing came great material. Writing every day is an amazing practice- and remember, it doesn’t always have to be in the same format. You can spice it up. Journal entries, poems, lists, blog posts, raps…whatever. The idea is that creativity is a muscle that has to be built consistently to get stronger. So just work on being more creative and you’ll end up stumbling upon the gems when you least expect it.

    Is your blog up and running? I’d love to take a look.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to respond, Mike. Love Charles Duhigg.

    I think the approach depends on the habit entirely.

    For instance, I think it’s much easier to create a “don’t do” habit than a “do” habit. It’s much easier to say “I’m not going to watch TV” than it is to say “I’m going to watch an hour of Spanish TV every day” because that involves not doing something, which essentially just drops something from your brain – less exertion, easy. That was a weak example, but you get the idea. Humans are cognitive misers, always looking to conserve energy.

    This gets tricker as habits deal with things like mild to severe addictions, high-level skill work, emotional engagement, etc. But overall, I think the type of habit you want to form definitely affects the approach.

    What habits are you working on integrating right now?

  • Monit

    Awesome Article Daniel, I am your fan from today :)

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hi Monit! Nice to hear from you. Look forward to giving you more great stuff to read. Thanks for commenting ;)


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  • Tyson Hartnett

    Yea I think we will try to rationalize our way out of things, and that is the real enemy. Once we control our false rationalizations, then we can really conquer our mind, our time, and our progress.
    I would like to integrate reading more. Like, even if it’s only a few pages a day. I like to get in hours of reading at a time, but now that’s not looking like a plausibility, except for sometimes on weekends. So maybe 5-10 pages at a time, every single day.
    also, definitely writing, trying to write a little more, and stay consistent with it.
    Also, my abs are getting a little flabby, so getting on my abs for at least a few minutes a day.

  • Joe Formica

    My old friend Daniel!

    Great stuff here, touching on many things that I (and I guess many others) struggle with daily.

    One thing that I try to implement regarding productivity is create less and less grey area between when you’re “doing” and “not doing”. Taking a break from writing/coding/whatever is necessary, but I feel like taking a break and sitting in the same seat in front of the same computer looking on facebook or chatting with a friend makes it way harder to get back in the groove.

    I try (still very much a work in progress) to set times, and as you said, cues for consistently getting things done. Eating lunch outside for 20 minutes isnt going to kill my momentum, but eating lunch in front of my computer half assing work will.

    Another great read – I’ll be coming back to this one for motivation!

  • Mike Darche

    I definitely agree with you on the approach. It’s actually funny you mention it in your post but I’ve really been trying to commit programming into my daily routine. I’ve been tackling web development languages for the last 3 months and I want to make it a consistent occurrence. There are always a million things pulling at my time but with this article I have some revived motivation to stay up on it!

    Another habit I am trying to develop: waking up earlier. Im 100% more productive in the morning so I have been shooting for a 6am wake up across the board. But MAN that first step out of bed can be tough!

  • Justin Tan

    Yea I think they’re part of the same company, Mindvalley. They’re all about empowering our mental and subconscious part of the brain. Some of the stuff is a bit weird, but they’ve definitely got it right with omharmonics. You should be able to get a free 10 sample on the website.

  • Justin Tan

    Hey Daniel actually just thought of a book that resonates well with this article. It’s Josh Kaufman’s “The First 20 Hours”. It talks about how to develop new skills/habits, and although it doesn’t have the same end message as what you discuss here, it has a lot of similar process points that I thought you might like. Honestly you only need to read the first 3 chapters to get 80% of what he’s talking about, but hope it helps!

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Haha – thanks for jumping in @joeformica:disqus. Key takeway from what you said: set up barriers. For me, that means laptop doesn’t go in the bedroom. Why? The bedroom is for sleeping. The office is for working. Habits are easier to cement with barriers.

    Do you have any barriers set up right now to keep your habits in check?

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    @mikedarche:disqus Try the Duhigg approach. Every time you wake up early, the first thing you do is immediately eat a piece of chocolate to reward yourself. LOL. Seriously though, program yourself with rewards.

    Also, I really want you to check this thread out on early rising “hacks”. Immensely helpful:

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    For me right now, only meditiation. Trying to stay sane. In the past, as many as 9 at a time. If you have an iPhone, I seriously recommend HUGE help

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Will definitely check it out.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Love Kaufman – have you read The Personal MBA?

  • Justin Tan

    Never got the chance, but definitely on the endless list of books to read

  • Tyson Hartnett

    ok, cool

  • Mike Darche

    Wow awesome stuff in there– I love hacker news! Thanks for all of the help Daniel, keep these awesome articles coming!

  • Web Development Company

    I am inspired with the exceptional and instructive contents that you provide in such short timing.

  • Andrea Francis

    You have an absolutely fantastic writing style – so much fun to read! I love the Seinfeld solution.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Thanks so much, @andrea_francis:disqus! Working on any specific habits yourself?

  • Daniel DiPiazza


  • Andrea Francis

    @Daniel DiPiazza As opposed to daily, I try to go with a weekly goal list. I have some stress issues that mean if I can’t do my X amount of a task that day I damn well just can’t! But I aim to make up for it by 15:00 Saturday so I can take the afternoon and Sunday to chill.

    I usually have general groups of tasks: tough+time-consuming, medium+time consuming, and the rest is easy peasy. On Monday morning I spend an hour going “OK – we’ve got 3 tough tasks this week. Let’s do one every second day, in the morning. There are 8 medium tasks. I’ll do 2 every afternoon when my brain starts to get sleepy. And whenever I feel my motivation dropping I’ll do a bunch of easy things to make me feel awesome and like I’m achieving something.”

    I fit in 2 gym sessions and 2 school sessions per week around whatever fits the particular week.

    It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps me!

  • Kyle

    Great Article Daniel. Very inspiring. I have realized there are so many habits that I want to build on myself. Do you find it possible to just start all of them the same day or to incorporate only one at a time?

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  • Lisa

    I LOVED reading every ounce of this!! Thank you SO much :)

  • Wendy

    What can I say? Every day I find myself stuck in the same whole. It happens to most of the people that I know as well. it is hard to keep up with a new behavior, or improving a skill. However, I will be trying on writing down the big red X on my calendar and will let you know how that goes. Great article!

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  • Doug

    First article I have read of yours…def coming back for more!

  • Doug

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

    (sorry for getting philosophical but I felt it was an appropriate quote for your conversation.)

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