Do you have a list of things you really want to get done — or habits you want to start — but you just can’t seem to find the time?
Or maybe it’s hitting the gym. Or spending time with your kids. Or getting through that stack of books on your bedside table.
You know … the “someday” items.
Let’s face it. That someday will never come unless you adopt strategies to GET them done!
Here are three strategies that you can use to get your someday items done:
1. Schedule your someday items first thing in the day
I start every day with a morning routine where I meditate, write in my gratitude journal and read.
Why do I start my day with these items? Because if I don’t do them first thing, they simply don’t get done. (Believe me, I’ve tried!)
It’s been proven that when you schedule your someday items first thing in your day (whether your work day starts at 9:00 a.m., noon or after the kids are asleep), those someday items get done.
For many of us, that means NOT starting the day with email, social media or the morning news. Instead, it’s about starting your day with the things you most want to get done, such as your someday items.
2. Bundle or “habit stack” your to-dos
Every morning, I have two tasks I want to accomplish: my morning routine and spending time with my kids.
Because I have the responsibility of getting my kids up, and getting my youngest one ready for school and driving him to school, this is a habit that’s hard-wired into my day.
My morning routine, on the other hand, is something that I might be tempted to skip (which is one reason why I schedule it first thing in the morning, as discussed above).
So to make sure that BOTH of these activities become habits, I’ve “bundled” or “stacked” the two of them together.
Research shows that this strategy is much more effective than trying to implement a new habit in isolation. By stacking them, I’m using the power of my existing habit to make sure that my new habit gets done.
It’s as if I’m “borrowing” willpower from my existing habit. Because the existing task is already a habit, it’s easier to tack on a new task to the existing habit than it is to try and develop the new habit on its own.
In other words, if you want to add a new habit to your life (e.g. a morning routine), stack it on top of a current habit. It could be something that you do immediately before or immediately after that existing habit.
So think about the habits you already have, such as taking a lunch break or driving your kids to school, and just attach a new habit to them.
For more on habit stacking, check out the excellent book Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott.
3. Reduce the friction in your to-dos
For many weeks, I was determined to get to the gym. I looked at my day and figured that right before lunch was the best time to go. This would allow me to get some work done in the morning, and I was usually ready for a break at that point anyway. Plus, exercising right after eating a meal didn’t seem like such a good idea!
Plus, I figured I’d use the strategy of habit stacking to link my new habit (the gym) to an existing habit (breaking for lunch). So it should work, right?
Not really. Week after week, my “get to the gym” plans never materialized. Eventually, I realized the problem.
I had too much “friction” in the task.
I work from my home office. The gym is a seven-minute drive away, which doesn’t sound like much! But I still have to extricate myself from my desk, get in the car and drive to the gym. And believe it or not, this was enough of an obstacle (friction) to prevent me from doing the task consistently.
So I took steps to “reduce the friction” by removing these obstacles.
Now just I go to the gym directly after dropping my youngest at school in the morning. I’m not saving that much time by going straight there (as opposed to making a separate trip later).
But I’m already in the car, dressed and ready to go. So it just feels easier to get it done while I’m already out of the house.
Again, I’ve removed the friction.
This new approach still uses the power of habit stacking. But now I’m stacking the task of going to the gym on top of the habit of driving my son to school, instead of breaking for lunch. And that’s making all the difference.
Use These Strategies to Get Your Someday Items Done
Think about all the items on your to-do list, whether they’re habits or internal projects. Which ones are you already doing consistently?
Which ones should you start doing first thing in the day?
Which ones should you bundle or “habit stack” with existing habits?
And where can you remove friction to get things going more smoothly?
If you apply these strategies, you’ll find yourself getting your someday items done consistently and with less effort.
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