Schedule Your Habits

I started reading Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives this weekend. The premise of this book is that habits, because they don't require choice, free up your willpower and mental resources to be spent elsewhere. Gretchen then digs into the different types of people and ways to help establish new habits.

The way Gretchen categorizes people is whether they're motivated by internal or external expectations. Upholders are motivated by both, Questioners by internal expectations and they question external ones, Obligers are motivated by external expectations and often ignore internals ones, and Rebels are motivated by neither. Understanding this helps explain why certain things work for some people and not others. For example, for an Obliger to actually stick to a new habit like exercise, they need a partner they don't want to disappoint, otherwise they're likely to do something else for someone else.

The book then moves on to various methods that help establish new habits, including monitoring what's important, working on your foundation (e.g., sleep, healthy diet, etc.), and scheduling. 

I live by my calendar but tend to use either that or various to-do list apps to keep on top of things. After reading Gretchen's description of her daughter's calendar, which includes "DEAR" ("drop everything and read") and choice time, and how Gretchen then added "quitting time" to her own calendar, it got me thinking.

Having to toggle between my calendar and to-do lists is annoying, so I've moved all my to-dos to my calendar. Yes, it makes my calendar look even more overwhelming, but I'll know which tasks can only be moved rather than deleted. Not sure if this will work, but since I now include time to read and quitting time, which will hopefully help me get more reading and sleeping time, I'm definitely willing to give it a fair chance.

Is there something you've been meaning to do and can't seem to get around to? Go ahead and schedule it, and let me know if that helps.


Karina is VP of Operations and HR at 24/7 Teach.

A version of this was originally posted on Business Common Sense blog.

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