In the pursuit of productivity and happiness, many of us find ourselves juggling school pickup with an impromptu "Can we chat?" Slack message from our boss and a last-minute grocery order. We are feeling completely overwhelmed, overstimulated, and out of control simultaneously. And as much as this behavior is a constant in our every day, it can also be detrimental to our mental health

So, after spending a small fortune on planners, timer apps, and productivity books, we feel defeated when we don't accomplish our daily to-do list. 

First, there is absolutely no shame in that! We ALL fall into the "be more productive" loophole, but one tool that has consistently been proven to lessen the load is habit stacking. 

woman listening to music while having her morning coffee

What is habit stacking?

Habit stacking is a productivity strategy that involves linking new habits to existing ones, creating a sequence of actions that become automatic over time. 

For example, pairing morning coffee with journaling or taking your hot girl walk while listening to your favorite podcast (we hope it's From First Period to Last Period!) can help you capitalize on your already precious time. 

Our brains love routines, so combining one task with another can help streamline tasks by associating them with established behaviors. Incorporating new habits into familiar routines optimizes our time and brain power, making us multitasking champions. 

Enhancing multitasking skills

Habit stacking creates a sense of efficiency and momentum that empowers us to navigate complex tasks quickly. It also gives us a dopamine hit, helping us feel more in control of our time and accomplishments. 

Practice makes improvement, and with habit stacking, our multitasking universe can become second nature, easing up our brain space to effortlessly manage various tasks without experiencing cognitive overload.

The mental health benefits of habit stacking

Beyond its impact on productivity, habit stacking offers several mental health benefits that contribute to overall well-being:

1. Reduced stress and anxiety

Habit stacking promotes a sense of control and organization, and lowers levels of stress and anxiety. By breaking down tasks into manageable components and integrating them into daily routines, we feel more in command of our time and responsibilities. This structured approach alleviates the mental burden of multitasking, fostering a calmer mindset and enhancing resilience in the face of challenges.

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woman journaling while drinking coffee

2. Enhanced focus and mindfulness 

Another benefit of habit stacking is enhanced mindfulness, as it prompts us to be present in each moment. When we link habits with activities, we cultivate a heightened awareness of our actions and surroundings. This mindfulness fosters greater focus and concentration, allowing us to engage more deeply with tasks and appreciate the present moment. 

3. Improved self-care practices

Incorporating self-care habits into daily routines is essential for mental well-being. Habit stacking facilitates integrating self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or leisure reading, into everyday life. By prioritizing self-care through habit stacking, you can nurture your physical and emotional health, fill up your energy reserves, and reduce the risk of burnout. 

Habit stacking is valuable for enhancing multitasking skills and promoting mental health. It is also a reminder that you're doing the best you can. By leveraging the power of routines and associations, you can optimize productivity while nurturing your well-being. So habit stacking becomes happy stacking! 

Emmy Hayes Condon is a creative strategist and freelance copywriter. She has a diverse portfolio across Fortune 50 healthcare brands, FemTech startups, and independent beauty brands. On her journey of connecting the dots of wellness, she has launched her project, The Wellness Department, to explore all areas of holistic wellness, beauty, and health. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and rescue mutt Grace, and enjoys “romantasy” books, current event podcasts, and learning how to perfect a classic caesar salad.