The ‘Tom-Hanks-Trick’ to Productivity, and a Challenge for Us All.

I once read that the actor Tom Hanks likes to hold himself accountable for his writing by making an “X” on an old-school calendar each day that he writes. He likes to make as long a chain of connecting “Xs” as possible. Obviously the longest chain produces the most writing, but more importantly, the longest chain also reinforces the positive habit he wants, writing.

I believe the same idea of positive reinforcement can hold true for challenges. I have always enjoyed a good challenge that leads to productivity or self improvement. I guess I am a bit competitive.

This month I have a challenge for myself and a challenge for you.

My challenge: I really want to strengthen my habit of blogging more regularly, so I am going to blog on one of my two sites ( and every day this month. I am hoping that at the end of the month I develop a habit of blogging more frequently and forcing myself to schedule the time to write, and get over the small obstacle in my brain that keeps telling me I need everythig to be “just so” in order to write. I want my writing to be a part of my life, and a part of my day. That’s my challenge; I will post a blog every day for the entire month.

Your challenge: I’d like you to read my post every day and leave some feedback if you can. I think that would be incredibly helpful to me, and I hope the posts I write are incredibly helpful to you. You can also challenge yourself to writing every day in your journal (start one) as it has served me incredibly well as a tool for increased productivity and creativity. Or… perhaps there is something else that you’ve been wanting to start doing that you just haven’t gotten around to yet, well… I challenge you! Begin. Let me be push you needed.

I think challenges of doing things are much more powerful than challenges to deny yourself something, like dieting. I hope you will use this challenge to start something.

Worse case scenario for both of us: we don’t make the full thirty days, but we started. We tried. We did something. I know this, every transformation, novel, movie, project, art or idea that saw it’s way to fulfillment began with a very first action. I’m sure many were ugly, small, and shaky.

I have no idea if Tom Hanks really puts an “X” on a wall calendar every day that he writes, but sometimes the story is more powerful than the truth, and in this case the story motivated me, and perhaps I have now motivated you.

Kelly’s book, Along Came a Leader, that delves deeper into six core leadership elements.

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