#52Tech | Week 8: Don’t Break the Chain

Don’t Break the Chain – for those in the dark, is a productivity tip originated by Jerry Seinfeld. The concept sits around a basic cross-off calendar or chart. For any habit or task you want to set in concrete, and do daily, you create a calendar and each time you “do that act” you put a big fat cross onto the date. The idea is to not break the chain of checkmarks.

Over the years many people have offered Don’t Break the Chain calendars, websites and now apps. Here’s some of the best.


Habit Forming Via Don’t Break the Chain

lifehacker chain post

Firstly, let’s do a brief introduction to the concept’s origins. Here’s a video first off :

Lately you may find Don’t Break the Chain being referred to as Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret. Particularly if you read Lifehacker and the like. According to this Lifehacker post, related by software developer Brad Isaac, Jerry personally told Brad this tip a few years ago.

From there we now have copious calendars, websites and mobile apps to help us set habits and goals and not break the chain.

The jury remains out on whether we should be concentrating on one habit at a time, or working on multiple habits, however. But if you are inclined to work on setting several habits (perhaps from different life streams like exercising, writing, healthy eating et el) then there are several apps that make this easier to document than juggling multiple charts on pieces of paper.

If you’re old school and love to see charts right in front of you, there’s also some nice downloads available for those, or webapps which offer rewards and a community for support.

Image credit: From Adam Dachi’s recent post on Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret at Lifehacker.com

Apps and Docs for Habit Setting – Don’t Break the Chain

1. Don’t Break the Chain Calendars to Download

Let’s start with the hard stuff (or paper stuff). These are free downloadables.

Special Mention: Print This Four-Week Calendar to Use Seinfeld’s Productivity PlanMaxium Barrault wanted to implement Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret of forming a chain by crossing off the calendar every day, So he went old-school and created this printable four-week calendar for multiple tasks. Via Lifehacker, a dropbox shared file. Calendar download.

2. Websites and Communities for Don’t Break the Chain

  • Don’t Break The Chain! – Don’t Break the Chain is based upon a motivation technique purportedly used by Jerry Seinfeld: 1) Pick a goal. 2) Mark off the days on which you work toward that goal. 3) Use your chain of marked off days as a motivator.
  • Website at Chains.cc – This webapp offers lots of chain statistics for each of your habit chains, plus groups of community members with similar chains. There is an iOS app which allows you to take your chains offline also.
  • Joe’s Goals – Free webapp for online habit tracking.
  • List your goals on 43 Things – Create and share an online goal list and learn how to get each item accomplished. Goals community.
  • stickK − Change Starts Now – stickK enables users to form commitment contracts to help them achieve their personal goals. These goals may be to lose weight, run a marathon, exercise regularly or quit smoking. The difference is you put money on the line. If you don’t meet your goals, the money is sent to a friend.

3. Mobile Apps for Setting and Tracking Habits and Goals via Don’t Break the Chain

  • Don’t Break The Chain! – Simple app that puts x’s onto a calendar. iOS iPhone – free.
  • Wonderful Day – Allows you to set multiple tasks, routines of habits to check off. The calendar for each shows dots for days you do the task. iOS.
  • Commit – Commit asks you to fill in the blank in “I will ……. Today” then asks you if you did that one habit, providing a dash through the calendar if you did not. iOS>
  • Routinely – Create several goals, and check off as done. A calendar with check marks is shown. Android, app and home screen widget.
  • MyChain – Don’t break the chain! MyChain helps you reach your goals day by day. This technique worked out fine for Jerry Seinfeld and it will for you too. Multiple habits, a calendar view, variable frequencies. Android app with home screen widgets.
  • Way of Life – The Ultimate Habit Maker & Breaker – Set multiple habits to form, plus you can set days where you don’t want to do the task. Statistical bar line graphs keep data. iOS
  • Website at Chains.cc – mentioned above as a webiste – There is an iOS app which allows you to take your chains offline also. Webapp and iOS
  • Habit Streak Plan – Join over one hundred thousand users to achieve your goals with Habit Streak Plan. Nice looking Android app for setting out goals and tracking streaks. Android
  • Sciral Consistency – A calendar app for tracking non-time deliminated goals and tasks like habits. Windows, MacOS and iOS.

Special Mention: WriteChain – Obviously for writers, set your daily word goals, and record success (and how you felt about the writing session too). If you don’t write, you break the writing chain. Simple but flexible, and free. iOS


Listly Chain ListAll of the Resources and Links profiled in this post on Don’t Break the Chain have been captured in a Listly list for you.

This list can be added to by yourself if you are aware of any additional resources or apps.

Please visit the Listly “Don’t Break the Chain Apps & Hacks ” list, vote on your favourite, and add to the list.


This was a post in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014.

You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at huntingdownwriting.wordpress.com.

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