🏗️ Building Productivity with Habit Stacking


This week during rounds, I want to discuss a powerful hack that can help us be more productive and create healthier habits🍎.

I recently did a quarterly review of goals I set at the beginning of the year📝 and it got me thinking about how difficult it can be to start new healthy habits and to stop unhealthy ones.

One method I use to increase my chances of making this happen is called habit stacking.

Habit stacking consists of taking a new habit you hope to implement and "stacking" it on top of an already existing habit🏗️.

For example, one habit I wanted to add to my daily routine was to set aside some time to reflect on what I was grateful for each day😌. At first this would occur at random, and I would often forget to do it entirely🤦🏽‍♂️.

However, one night while brushing my teeth it occurred to me that this would be the perfect habit to stack daily gratitude onto🪥. After all, I brush my teeth every day without even thinking about it! Within short time I was building my new habit, and it rapidly became part of my nightly wind down routine✅.

So what might this look like for a medical student or resident? Check out these examples below:

  • When I'm making my morning coffee, I will do 5 stretches🤸
  • When I first sit down in the library, I will do 10 UWorld questions💻
  • When I take off my shoes after school/work, I will change into my gym clothes👟
  • When I am done pre-rounding in the morning, I will eat 1 piece of fruit🍌
  • When I am going to see patient consults, I will take the stairs🪜

By stacking these habits on top of existing ones, we create a trigger that reminds us of our new habit and lowers the threshold to adding it to our routine🔗.

With time, one can even build a "habit staircase" that consists of multiple habits stacked together like the picture below⬇️

These small tweaks in our day can have massive impacts on our productivity, mood, and overall health💙.

I encourage everyone looking to change their habits to give habit stacking a try and see how it works for you!

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