Tiny Stacked Habits for Change

I’m a productivity junky. I’m not a workaholic, quite the contrary. My motivation is to get a lot done in as little time as possible so I can move onto the fun stuff.

This year I’ve been focusing on a few new habits. So far I’m still in the early stages, but like the results!

This approach isn’t new, it’s a mash-up of several others. Since I read a lot about human behavior and productivity I can’t help but be influenced by other people’s work. You’ll see at the end a list of recommended readings. Who knows, you may have influenced this approach – thanks.

Welcome to Tiny Habit Stacking.

Like so many indie professionals, I want to take advantage of my most productive time. I also have a long list of things I want to do on a consistent basis. I decided to combine these two and create a Tiny Habit Stack for my morning productivity. Here’s the approach in a nutshell:

  1. I identified the habits I wanted to develop.
  2. Then I determined the smallest increment for creating that habit (Mini Habits).
  3. Finally, I anchored the new habit to an existing one (Habit Stacking).

TIP: I get excited about new projects. It’s a blessing and a curse. The energy is fantastic to kick off anything new, but it can lead to unrealistic expectations. Not this time. I committed to only one new habit at a time.

Adding To The Stack

Establish one new habit and then onto the next. I knew a behavior was becoming a habit when I actually craved it. If there was a day I had missed the habit, I felt something was off and knew it was taking hold. That’s the time to add the next habit.

Warning: Developing patience is a by-product of using the tiny habit stack approach. There is no rushing this process. Each habit is different and each person unique in their approach. Two things help in staying the course.

First is looking at the small activities as investments that will grow over time. Just like compounded interest. Small amounts of effort over time can have big impact on our lives.

Second, I found mixing up the type of habit helped me avoid boredom. All work and no play, or all brain and no body is a recipe for failure.

I started with an easy fitness habit (5 minutes of yoga). Then mixed it up with a social habit (sharing a #human2human post). And now I’m working on my daily writing habit. Two of these are direcly related to work, one is not. However, as an indie who spends many hours sitting at a keyboard, yoga is critical for longevity.

The Anchor Habit

Everything is anchored to an existing, virtually unbrakable habit. For me it’s my morning latte. There are very few days I don’t make my morning latte and it’s something I enjoy. Now, I enjoy the tiny habit stack: Latte-Yoga-#human2human-writing.

How to Get Started

What habits do you want to create?
What’s the smallest action you can take daily to start this habit?
What can you anchor your new habit to?

Here are a few recommended readings to dig deeper into creating both tiny habits and habit stacking:

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise
Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J.Scott

If you want help in selecting and establishing your own unique powerful habits to grow yourself and your business, just ask.