Processes as Products Part 2: Productivity chain...

Continuing with the notion that processes can be products, the "Seinfeldian Chain" is a productivity secret made famous by the comedian as related to software engineer and casual comic Brad Isaac (and to us via Lifehacker). In this process, the user (it's a product, remember!) determines a goal to be accomplished every day - "work on ___ for 10 minutes," or "write a blog post," for example. For each day that it's done, plant a big ol' "X" on that day on a wall calendar. After a few days of completed tasks, there will be a chain of X's - and secret is, don't break the chain.

Much like the previously discussed LeechBlock, the user has created the illusion that he has granted power, or control, to another entity - in this case, the chain. (In LeechBlock, it's the software that blocks access to time-wasting sites during certain times of day.) In reality, the user is in complete control - but the illusion serves the purpose of protecting us from our own laziness. Not only that but the Seinfeldian Chain harnesses another psychological quirk - the compulsion to keep that chain connected! One doesn't need to be obsessive-compulsive to want to maintain the chain, getting that fix of positive reinforcement from marking those big red X's and seeing the chain grow - but it sure doesn't hurt!

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