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Don't Break the Chain

The best way to get better at anything is to practice and to practice often. If you want to lose weight, then working out every once in a while doesn't cut it – you have to do it frequently if you want actual results.

Repetition and practice are the best way to become awesome at something. Jerry Seinfeld wrote every day and hacked his routine for maximum effectiveness.

He had an idea that if he were to write every day, then he would become a better writer and comedian, however, he wasn't inspired to write every day. He was able to achieve this by a unique calendaring system that pressured him into writing every day. Each day that he would write for 15 minutes, he would draw a red X on the day. For each following day he would force himself to write for 15 minutes, then draw another red X. Eventually, he'd have a streak going.

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.

Jerry Seinfeld via LifeHacker

I decided to give this a shot. I wanted to hack/create 1 one thing each day.

For the past 10 days, I've built something cool that either didn't exist, solved a problem for me, or made routine things more efficient. For the past 10 days I haven't broken the chain and I'm having a lot of fun doing it, too.

I've built things such as a google map mashup of my friends from Facebook, an iPhone app that helps me remind my friends when they ask, "can you remind me to…", and build some neat features for a few of my existing side projects.

I'll start to share some of the things that I've built in the near future. I like this technique so much that I am also considering another chain for writing.

I strongly suggest trying this. It's helped me become a better hacker and I feel like I'm becoming a better developer/hacker/thinker (there's always room for improvement). I've learned a lot from doing this and it has definitely helped make myself a better me.

Here's a neat tool to help you get started.

You should follow me on twitter here.

1. "To the popular press, "hacker" means someone who breaks into computers. Among programmers it means a good programmer. But the two meanings are connected. To programmers, "hacker" connotes mastery in the most literal sense: someone who can make a computer do what he wants—whether the computer wants to or not." - Paul Graham