Habit Stacking is something that I have been doing for several years without even realizing it was thing. Some call it task-layering, but that sounds a little more daunting for some reason. Maybe it’s the word task that suggests that more work is involved? I’m not sure, but today we’re talking all about the benefits of adapting these ideas into your busy days.
This post shows examples of how to strategically group things together in your current routine to minimize stress and enable you to do more things by the end of every day.
Whether we realize it or not, this is something that a lot of people already do. It’s called multitasking, and I feel confident in saying that we tend to become experts in this department the minute we enter parenthood. It’s just something that we learn to do!
That said, habit stacking is more than just multitasking …
What exactly is habit stacking?
Well, it’s a strategy that allows you to do more things that you’d like to when you feel like you don’t have the time. It’s combining two goals or actions, and turning them into habits that you can easily merge together and do at the same time. Doing these same stacked activities on the regular will help you build a long-term habit, so think about your ideal frequency and make it realistic. The consistent repetition will help you build the habit faster!
The end goal is to train your brain to build more habits, and in the case of this specific post, we’re discussing healthy habits.
For example, it’s listening to a podcast while you’re working out at the gym. You’re working out, but you’re also learning something new or getting your fix on entertainment in the same hour.
Another example is drinking a large glass of water before your morning coffee to make sure that you’re starting the day off hydrated. It’s simply adding something else (a goal) to a task that you’re already doing to turn the act of doing one thing into two.
Now, this strategy isn’t for everyone. Some people hear the concept and feel more overwhelmed with more things “to do” … but that doesn’t have to be the case if you keep your tasks easy and stack them when and where it makes sense. I highly recommend you give this a try!
What, when and how to start habit stacking
A great habit stacking formula to follow is:
Before, during or after [insert current habit], I will [new habit].
(See this article for a lot of helpful information here!)
My favorite combination of habit stacking is pairing some type of physical activity with something for my brain. For me, this includes something work-related (like catching up on a Beautycounter webinar I missed) while I’m doing the dishes, or listening to an educational podcast or audiobook while I’m sweeping or mopping the floors. Stacking movement with some type of learning exercise is the only way that I get through the long list of things that I want to listen to and accomplish every day!
Once I realized that I was habit stacking, it became more intentional and I started fitting more important tasks and healthy habits into my everyday routine … without much additional time or effort.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Here are some real-life examples that you can try:
- Meditating or practicing positive affirmations for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
- Drinking a large glass of water before drinking your morning cup of coffee.
- Taking vitamins with breakfast.
- Making your bed as soon as you get up before heading to the bathroom.
- Making a mental to-do list for the day while brushing your teeth.
- Writing your to-do list down as soon as you sit down to work on the computer.
- Standing and doing 10 jumping jacks when you feel sleepy or need an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Stretching before/after every workout.
- Stretching or foam rolling while watching television.
- Taking the stairs whenever the trip is five floors or less.
- Adding vegetables to your plate before any other food group.
- Listening to a podcast while doing the dishes or cleaning activity.
- Putting your phone on a charger in another room before you get into bed.
Also, don’t discredit the importance of self-care and including those habits. I recently posted a reel on this subject (meant to entertain), but there is a lot of truth behind the message. Adding more self-care into your day doesn’t have to require a ton of extra time!
Here are some tips on adding more self-care into busy days:
- Go for a solo walk or run to your favorite podcast or playlist.
- Put on a face mask and try to relax for 10 minutes before you get into the shower (I do this on Sundays!).
- Have a quick dance party after cleaning up your living room full of children’s toys.
- Complete your skincare regimen while your child is taking a bath, if they’re old enough to sit and play.
- Follow and visit motivational accounts on social media before you start scrolling.
- Call or video chat with a friend while taking a stroll outside.
- Reward yourself after you reach a new goal or accomplishment.
- Take activities or even zoom meetings outside while the weather is nice.
- Do something creative when you’re in a funk like paint, write or journal.
- Do a few stretches before bed if you don’t have time for a full yoga class.
This is just a small collection of ideas to hopefully set you on the right path of incorporating habit stacking into your routine!
The next time you write out your to-do list and it feels overwhelming, look at it from a habit stacking perspective and see if you can group anything into something that you already do every day. You’d be surprised to see how simple and effective this can be!
I would love to hear more about habit stacking in your life.
Have you tried this strategy before?
If so, drop some of your favorite ideas of incorporating more healthy habits into busy days in the comments below!
Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll see you back here on Friday with a new set of favorites.
Have a great rest fo the week!
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