A blog about succeeding as an independent creative
by Jared White

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Pygmy Nuthatch

Hacking Persistence

I watched The Founder on Netflix (last year’s biopic on Ray Kroc of McDonald’s starring Michael Keaton), and one of the key themes of the story is the importance of persistence. That singular quality, to keep going no matter what happens, no matter what the odds, will often prove to be a more valuable contributor to success than all other factors.

This summer has been unusual for me in that I’ve had a lot of travel and plenty of both family and client commitments. These are not bad things, and I’m not about to complain. However, it does mean that I’ve had less available time for writing and working on other creative side projects. And with less free time and a busier schedule comes what I call the “funk”—that icky feeling I get when my internal happiness tank is running too low because of the lack of consistency in attention to my creative pursuits.

Enter Streaks. It’s a simple but beautifully designed app for iOS that lets you set up a few tasks you wish to complete on a regular basis, and then you can keep track of when you complete these tasks and be reminded based on a schedule you set. For example, I created a “Blog for Pygmy Nuthatch” task which runs on certain days of the week. If I miss a day, it’s not a huge deal, but it does mean I’ll break my streak. With all the available graphs and stats, it makes it that much more rewarding to complete the tasks on your schedule and maintain your streaks.

I’m basically using Streaks to hack persistence. For example, this blog post is a direct result of using the app. I’m writing late in the evening when I’m tired and would be perfectly happy just browsing Twitter or playing with my kids. But because Streaks reminded me I needed to write a blog post (and in fact I had already missed several days), I decided to charge ahead and get’er done. And now I’m very glad I did.

What tools or techniques do you use to keep persisting in your side projects, hobbies, or creative pursuits? Do you use an app like Streaks? Old-school sticky notes? Calendars? Send me a tweet: I’d love to know!