I like to build habits for things I want to do more of and less of.
I’ve been writing like mad these days: blogging here and on my business site, writing a geographically distributed teams book with a colleague, and writing other articles and books. I’ve been writing every day—not necessarily a lot, but every day—since early September.
I’m on a streak.
If I was a perfectionist, I would count either words or hours, but I’m not there yet. Maybe next year, but it’s not a goal for me.
I also have a streak going with my walking. During the week, I walk at least 5000 steps every day. I try for that on the weekend, and I don’t always succeed. However, my weekday walking where I tend to sit more is working.
For me, streaks help me build and continue a habit.
It’s not just about the habit, though. I need the streak to keep me going if I can’t walk or write at the same time/”right” time every day. I prefer to walk at certain times during the day. I prefer to write at certain times, also. And, sometimes, I can’t write or walk at those times.
In teams, you might have streaks of delivering something every day. For me, the immediacy of the streak and the daily visibility helps me continue. The streak itself helps me continue to do it.
Notice that I said every day. I can’t count weekly streaks where I finish something or do something once a week. I am not smart enough or motivated enough to use a once-a-week habit to change. However, a daily habit works quite well for me.
There are times I don’t want to. I’m tired and I don’t want to walk. Or, I have a gazillion things to do and writing is not on the list. That’s when I use a short timebox, just to get me over that hump of not doing that particular work. All so I can maintain my streak.
I find significant benefit in a streak. If you are trying to learn something new, move to agile approaches, or improve your performance on something, consider a daily streak. What kind of a habit can you build every single day? That’s the thing to count as your streak.
That’s the question this week: Are you on a streak?