Last year I listened to an episode of the Freakonomics podcast on temptation bundling and ever since I think of temptation bundling at least once a week, maybe more.
What is temptation bundling you ask? It's pairing something you don't want to do but should or have to do with something you really enjoy doing. Think: treating yourself to a pedicure after your annual exam with your gynecologist. Or you might take it further and limit yourself to only being able to indulge in something when accompanied by the less desirable task. Think: only listening to new episodes of your favorite podcast while cleaning the bathrooms.
As someone who loves habits and systems I quickly realized that I used temptation bundling, or variations on it, all the time, I just didn't have a name for it. Temptation bundling is essentially the carrot method - dangling something I want in front of me to get through something I'm not as excited about - and I thrive on the carrot method.
Sometimes I bundle things that happen at the same time, like listening to the latest episode of Totally Married on my way to a Monday 5 AM Orange Theory class. Or lighting a candle that I love only when I'm in my office working. This feels especially powerful during the 4 AM hour. Or having a piece of my very favorite chocolate cake (above) during a budget meeting. Other bundles take advantage of a time delay, like planning to take a solo vacation when I'm done breastfeeding. Or only allowing myself to to buy a new item of clothing if all of my clothes and closet area are neatly organized.
I also love to help people solve problems and find myself doling out temptation bundling advice regularly. My mom told me she never looked forward to cleaning their downtown Austin vacation rental. I suggested she save new episodes of her favorite podcasts for cleaning duty. My friend told me she wanted to help motivate her husband to exercise. I suggested morning walking dates with a breakfast or lunch date once a week if the three morning a week walking quota was met. Temptation: bundled! (So be forewarned if you ask me for advice: you are likely to get a temptation bundle.)
I'm guessing that most people have at least one temptation bundle in their life already and that by identifying it as a strategy might use it more often. I'd love to know what temptations you bundle in your life!
P.S. To celebrate the Leap Year today there's a BONUS episode of The Girl Next Door Podcast out, happy Leap Day!