The Process to Keep You on Track, Even When You Go Off Track

Welcome to the last day of examining how The Seinfeld Method can help you achieve your copywriting goals.

The beauty of The Seinfeld Method is that it’s a process and a schedule … one you can look at and reflect on every day.

What’s the objective of The Seinfeld Method?

Don’t break the chain.

But, what happens if you do break the chain? How can you get back on track without getting discouraged or feeling like you’ve failed?

Here’s what I did to enhance The Seinfeld Method, so you stay on track and won’t feel like giving up, even when you break the chain …

Once you’ve got the at-a-glance, year-long calendar positioned prominently on your wall – choose a color you want to make your chain X with that represents you’ve completed your daily action task. I use black.

I use a red marker to X the days that I don’t take action, but only when I completely flake … when I don’t have a legitimate reason why I didn’t do my task …

By the way, “because I just don’t feel like it” is NOT a legitimate reason. I love this quote from novelist, Peter DeVries, to support my point …

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”

I use a blue marker to X the days that I have a legitimate reason why I didn’t do my task. Then, I actually write the reason next to the X. It would look something like this …

X – pipe broke, flooded floors, disaster
X – sick, only left bed to run to bathroom
X – promise to boys and Lisa, only focus on them today

Only you can set the parameters of what a legitimate reason is in your life. I set mine fairly tight … but I’m also reasonable, and I truthfully hold myself accountable.

If you want to get really serious, make a list of what exactly your legitimate reasons are going to be and give them to someone who will hold you accountable to those reasons only.

Using different colored Xs is really a mental process …

When you see the long chain of black Xs, you build self-confidence, momentum and the feeling of accomplishment …

A red X reminds you to recommit, to focus on self-discipline, and to prioritize so you can achieve the task at hand …

A blue X allows you flexibility when legitimate things do come up. And, it allows you to get back on track faster, without discouragement or feeling like you want to quit because you’ve “missed” so many days.

And, there you have it …

“Not breaking the chain” is really about consistency. About creating a writing habit where you keep getting better and better … because mastery follows consistency.

Okay … let’s put Seinfeld’s method all together …

You’ve got your year-at-a-glance calendar on the wall where you can see it every day … and you’ve got some colored markers …

You’ve identified an action that you will be taking every day and mark a big X on the calendar when you take that action. Remember to make the task reasonable, so you can do it every day.

If your task is writing, you’re not going to worry about getting it right, you’re just going to get it written.

You’re going to focus on the process – not the goal. When you focus on the process, you don’t get overwhelmed with the goal, and you enjoy the journey on the way to achieving that goal.

According to Forbes magazine, in 2004 Jerry Seinfeld’s annual earnings from the Seinfeld TV series was $267 million. Yes, annual.

All of Seinfeld’s comedic success was built on one simple and consistent process – with a focus on not breaking that process … which ultimately led him to realize his dream.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Seinfeld Method and if you’re planning on using it to help you achieve your goals. Please feel free to share in the comments.

I hope my sharing The Seinfeld Method with you this week will give you a process you can use to realize your dreams!

Till next time …

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Published: February 27, 2015

11 Responses to “The Process to Keep You on Track, Even When You Go Off Track”

  1. I love this process. I'm working a full time job and family right now. By the end of this year, there will be a flip to full time writing and family. Until then, I've struggled getting that "writing" squeezed into my day.
    This is such an easy to manage process. I already had a HUGE "goals calendar" on my wall, and adding an X for completing writing is a cinch. It's given me motivation to do it every day.
    Last night I was ticked that I wrote, went to bed, and forgot to do my X!

    Dawn Engler

  2. Hi Bob, I love the entire series you shared with us this week. I already have my calendar and am using it. I love the idea of the different colored markers. You answered the question I was going to ask, how do I mark the calendar if I must miss a day? A double thanks for that because now I don't feel as pressured even if I am doing the x on the calendar. Again, for me this was just what I needed and thanks a million times over.

    Guest (Lois)

  3. Hi Bob,

    Thank you so much for sharing The Seinfeld Method. I think it is the simplest and yet most workable approach to achieving goal.

    I have already marked a couple of 'X' on my year planner. I am doing the Accelerated Copy Writing Course and I aim to complete the course in three months. So I am expecting an unbroken chain of 90 X's.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Best regards, Yee Hun

    Guest (YH Hoong)

  4. Thanks for sharing with me the Seinfeld Method. It was inspiring, motivating and enlightening. It has awaken me to proper planing and scheduling, most importantly, the understanding that it is worth noting and very essential to master the process by which a goal is achieved.

    The insights that I received from the Seinfeld Method, have inspired, motivated and enlightened me on how to go through the Accelerated Program and also how to live the writer`s life.


  5. Hi Bob,

    I'm taking the Companion to Six Figure course, and read Will Newman's Golden Threads.

    Your contribution this week dovetails with Companion's challenge to write daily...and complements Will's message of different ways to achieve it.

    Most important, this last message on how to 'recover' from a lost day eases the pressure of performing daily. Even the best habits can take a back seat to life once in awhile!

    Thanks for the very specific instructions.

    Guest (NancyT)

  6. This past month I decided to restart the Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I was interrupted when I started it 5 or 6 years ago when family moved into my house. I had nowhere to write as I had to give up my "office" to make room for others. Now I am back and am set up to study and practice the program.

    The Seinfeld method captured my attention and I wll be using the year calendar to keep me on track daily.

    Thank you for sharing this method.

    Guest (Diane Maurer)

  7. I love the Seinfeld method. I find for me, though, that the big wall calendar isn't practical (small house, big family, little space). So, I use a wonderful Android app called Seinfeld Calendar which tracks your daily accomplishment of your task(s) and has reminders to help you stay on task daily. I've found the app really helpful because I always have my phone with me.

    John Thomas

  8. to buy my Seinfeld calendar 'specific'now and markers....Great idea!

    Guest (Mary)

  9. Enjoyed the entire week of ideas, Bob - definitely doable and motivating. Thanks to you, I have a calendar that's filling up with black Xs and a way to deal with those red and blue days.
    All the best!

    Teri Weber - Enchanted Copy

  10. Thanks for an insightful and inspiring series of articles. I have written the method on a piece of paper along with a quote from Alain de Bottom that says "Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly." I will post it where I work next to a calendar and start moving forward.

    Laurie Wolt

  11. Useful advice that is easy to implement. I made a few adjustments to suit my fancy.

    1. I printed out three 8.5x11 year-at-a-glance calendars for three areas I want to focus: running, photography, and writing.

    I use highlighters instead of an X on each day:
    Green = GROWTH (action taken) Blue = BUSY (legitimate excuse for no action) Red (pink) = REGRET (what I feel when I don't take action)

    I love walking into my office and seeing the colorful wall of encouragement.

    Guest (Diana Busby)

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