Find more time, have healthier families and get more done with habit stacking


Director of Life Rocks

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·5 min read

Parents' most scarce resource is time. The next most scarce is energy. Maybe next most scarce comes patience or sleep. Being a parent can be tough. The parent is always juggling many balls at once, and the pressure is on them to keep the balls moving. One ball might be the families health, the other is finances, the other is work, the other is their relationship etc. All of these balls are important to keep juggling, but sometimes we drop the ball. What balls do we drop the most? Is it health? Is it emotional support? Is it time spent with your partner? Whatever balls are being dropped in our lives, habit stacking can help. Habit stacking is pretty much how it sounds, but no, you don’t have to go to the gym and take your kids with you whilst being on the phone with your boss. Habit stacking ought to simplify, give you more space and combine some of the things you have been meaning to do for you and your kids. During the COVID era, many parents were forced into a stacking type of situation. Suddenly, school, the office, and home all became the one place. This sudden imposed stacking of our life’s contents and spaces, was largely unwanted, but it showed us some things. In a Flex Jobs study of 4000 people forced to work from home, over %75 of these people said that their work-life balance has improved because of it. Other data showed better post-pregnancy outcomes for women not having to return to the office after a set time, better employee loyalty, improved productivity, improved job satisfaction and willingness to reduce pay for the ongoing ability to work from home. These factors are likely to have occurred because, suddenly, people's lives became more simple. When everything is happening in the one spot, it reduces the need to have a life that is constantly driven by external inputs. Parents know the deal of being driven by external pressures; pick up the kids from school, do the shopping, take them to sport, pick them up from sport, take them to music, take them to tutoring, take them to their friends places – and on and on. But what if we began to simplify this complex landscape of activity by bringing it all together? Katy Bowman is a movement therapist, biomechanics expert, mother and author of 7 books. It is her perspective that in our lives, we have the opportunity to stack activities and tasks together to get a higher yield on the activities we do. Realistically, in a day, we are trying to achieve a certain basic set of things: Eating and food, making money and work, education and learning, social time, chores, exercise and fun. Let's start by bringing some of these things together; here are some ideas: 1 . Get more natural light, exercise and nature time by moving the office or the classroom outside. It is easy now that many of us work from home to encourage ourselves or the children to do our work outside. Set up a desk and get out there. 2. Change up the seating options in the house. Katy Bowman suggests having multiple seating options of different heights all through the house. Mix up your sitting position, and mix up your desk spot. This combines better postures and dynamic positions with work, where exercise and work can come together, so we don’t feel as stiff and need that separate yoga class after work so bad. 3. Do food prep for dinner outside and invite your child’s friends family over to cook outside also. Now we are really stacking – can we create social events around food and get the children involved so they learn along the way? 4 . Do you and the kids need more exercise or outdoor time? Walk to the shops and carry the groceries with you. Play with your kids, if you have a kid, you have a gym. 5 . Have lots of phone calls to make? Save them up and go for a walk as you do it. Habit stacking is something that we all need reminding of. We get stuck in routines, and sometimes they are not as good as they could be. When we start thinking through the lens of bringing worlds together, we get more done, and we are more satisfied doing it. You may find a few areas where you can bring more movement, social life, education, work, and play all into the one space. Good Luck! Connecting Children to Nature – Asher Cloran Move your DNA – Katy Bowman Tom Spiggle, FORBES,