I've been experimenting with a new productivity / motivational tool that I discovered the other day. It is called "Wonderful Day," and it is an iOS app that is designed to give you an easy, in-your-face way to establish and reinforce productive habits. It reminds me of that old adage, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Apparently, this app was inspired by Jerry Seinfeld's productivity technique - very interesting.
Set a goal, create a chain
The premise is simple: You pick a goal you want to achieve that requires persistent commitment, and you put it in the Wonderful Day app. You decide how often you want to perform some activity that contributes to your goal (daily, weekly, etc.), and set up how often you want to be reminded / nagged so you don't forget.
Now, for each of your goals, you have a "punch card" that you use to record whether you actually did what you set out to do. The objective is to build a "chain" of punches that advance your goal, and to keep at it so you don't break the chain. If you stick with it, you'll get a lot done, improve yourself, and establish new habits.
One of the goals I used Wonderful Day to track was to spend at least 30 minutes each day working on a specific work project. I wanted to do this because I keep forgetting about this particular project, but I want to get it moving.
Now, the app reminds me of this project every day and I pick some element of the project and work on it for 30 minutes. Each day I do that, I get to punch my card in Wonderful Day. I didn't think this was rocket science, but punching that card turns out to produce a rewarding feeling. Here are a couple of screen shots to give you an idea (these aren't mine - they are from the App Store, but I think they illustrate it very well and show a longer "chain" than the ones I have so far):
In the screen on the left, you see the Activities (I call them Goals in my head) and you can have as many as you'd like. I recommend starting with no more than 5 to keep from overwhelming or annoying yourself.
On the right, you see one of the "punch cards" I mentioned. Each dot is an interval (in this case each dot represents a day). The green dots represent the times you did what you wanted to do, and the red dots are times when you didn't do it.
This is a pretty simple and effective way to log your progress and ingrain habits into your daily life. I think the Wonderful Day app is a novel approach to getting things done, and worth a look.
If you try it out, let me know how it works for you.