Software Developer Brad Isaac wrote in 2007 on Lifehacker about Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret. Seinfeld told him the best way to write better jokes was to write every day. To maintain this habit, you buy yourself one of those big wall calendars that have the whole year printed on it and hang it on a prominent wall. Every day after doing some writing, you get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain.”

GitHub Contributions

I read about this in january when GitHub introduced Contributions and with it the Contributions Calendar, which pretty much follows this method. Every time you commit to a project’s default branch or the gh-pages branch, open an issue, or propose a pull request it get’s marked in the calendar. I especially like that they show the current and longest streak. Somehow seeing a streak of 0 days makes me even more bummed then seeing the cain broken.

In the last few months I moved more and more stuff over to GitHub and even my workplace moved all their repositories over. Since literally all my code is now landing on GitHub, I’ve seen this calendar having a big impact on me. In the last two months there were only three days I didn’t commit any code.1

And because I like it so much, I of course added a GitHub Streak endpoint to my status-board-widgets app. Check it out.

GitHub Streak on Status Board

  1. One of those days, I actually committed something to a not-master branch. I don’t really get, why they only count the master and gh-pages branches. ↩︎