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  • Writer's picturejondab

Stack Your Tasks



I often work with clients who do not have regular routines or habits. They know what they need/want to do but somehow, it rarely happens.


Several have had a great deal of success by choosing one task that they want to incorporate into their life and stacking it on top of a task that they do have as a regular routine. The stacked task is done immediately after or before doing the routine task.


Client Stories:


· One client was in a rush in the mornings to get to work on time. She had lots of thoughts swirling around in her brain and quite often would end up at the office without her laptop. This would mean that she would have to borrow someone else’s laptop or go back home and retrieve hers. She was afraid that she was going to be fired.

Now, at first glance it would seem that the logical thing would be to put her laptop by the front door at night before she went to bed. But she took her laptop into bed with her and often that is where it would stay – or on the couch – or the kitchen counter – etc.

But one thing she did every morning without fail was feed her cat.

I had her put a big sign on the cat food that said., “Laptop to door!”. As soon as she put the food in the cat’s dish, she found her laptop and leaned it against the front door. Bingo! It worked.


· Another client is working on routines to make the out the door to school routine less stressful. We had talked about having her children’s clothes all laid out the evening before. But she said that while that was a great idea, she was often so tired that it just did not happen.

One thing she did every evening was see that her children had a nice supper meal. So we did a task stack that was a reverse stack. In her kitchen she had a sign, “Lay out clothes”. Either right before fixing the supper or while the supper was cooking, she would go to the children’s rooms and lay out their clothes for tomorrow.


She also wanted to make her children more responsible for getting out the door in the mornings with less fuss and stress. Now, right after they finish their homework, they repack their backpacks and put them by the front door before they are allowed time on their devices. This seems to be working well.


Other possible pairings:

· Make bed before getting dressed

· Drink a glass of water before eating

· Do homework right after snack and before free time

· Work on a project before checking emails

· Clear desk before leaving office for the evening


A challenge:

My challenge to you is to find one routine or task that you would like to incorporate into your routine but are having difficulty making happen. Then find one routine that you do without fail that makes sense to stack with the new routine you desire. Please share with us what you are going to try.


If you want guidance or just accountability in completing a project, organizing a space in your home, or managing your time join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.



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4 Comments


Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Mar 02, 2023

Excellent examples. I had a client who loved what I taught her about using her tickler file but always forgot to put it where she'd see it early enough in the day to prevent distractions. But she always did her personal Bible study/devotion right after breakfast, so we set an alarm for her to put her Bible on top (literally stacking) on top of her tickler file when she'd leave her desk at the end of the day. A colleague was always avoiding taking her vitamins, so we set an alarm for her to put them on her keyboard at the end of her workday. They'd be there the next morning, and if she wanted to work, she'd have to…

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jondab
jondab
Mar 02, 2023
Replying to

Love the examples you have added. Thanks for sharing.


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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Feb 27, 2023

These are wonderful examples of habit stacking! It's amazing how simple tweaks can yield such positive outcomes. This speaks to the idea of noticing what IS working and building from there. Love that!

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jondab
jondab
Feb 27, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your comment. I love it when a good plan comes together.

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