Side view of fit, young woman running on a treadmill.
Listen to the entire series or skip to 08:45 for Part 2.

In this 3-Part Series, we’re on a mission to make the most of the 24 hours we’re gifted each day. Our goal isn’t just to boost productivity; it’s to enhance our overall well-being. In Part 1, we uncovered valuable insights about owning our attention to break free from living a distracted life. We learned that our focus is a precious and limited resource, and our productivity and well-being flourish when we channel it with intention. Plus, we delved into practical tips for cultivating laser-sharp attention.

Now, if you were disappointed to hear that what we think of as “multitasking” is usually task switching and it has detrimental effects, brace yourself for a twist of optimism… I found a workaround! You can do two things at once as long as one thing is a simple task that doesn’t really require your attention. Enter one of my favorite life hacks, “temptation bundling.” Temptation bundling is a game-changing strategy that involves combining an activity you love with a less desirable activity to boost motivation and productivity. This was introduced to me through Katy Milkman’s book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

“Making hard things seem fun is a much better strategy than making hard things seem important.”

― Katy Milkman

Temptation bundling is a powerful behavioral strategy that involves pairing a task you need to do but might not be excited about with an activity you enjoy. By linking these two activities together, you create a sense of reward and motivation, making it more likely that you’ll complete the task.

Temptation Unleashed: How to Make Your Tasks Irresistibly Rewarding

  1. Identify a task you usually procrastinate on or find hard to motivate yourself for (e.g., exercise, chores, studying, work tasks).
  2. Find an activity you genuinely enjoy (e.g., favorite TV show, engaging podcast, treat).
  3. Combine them: Engage in the enjoyable activity only while doing the task.

Temptation Bundling works because it taps into the concept of instant gratification. Our brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort. By bundling something we need to do with something we enjoy, we trick our brains into perceiving the task as more enjoyable. 

For example, writing is something I ultimately enjoy, but getting started is hard when I know it will likely be a long road to get to something I’m happy with putting out into the world. On the other hand, that first blissful cup of coffee is instant gratification. The aroma awakens the senses, the warmth offers comfort, the taste provides a delicious bridge between rest and activity. Okay, you get it, I love coffee. However, I need to limit my intake (no one wants to be around me when I’m heavily caffeinated!). So, I allow myself one cup of coffee when I start writing. It is the ultimate win-win!

Unlocking the Power: The Benefits of Temptation Bundling

  • Increased Productivity: Tasks become more enticing, boosting completion rates.
  • Enhanced Focus: Pairing enjoyable activities with less desirable tasks improves concentration.
  • Positive Associations: Over time, create positive links to tasks once considered unappealing.
  • Consistency: Temptation bundling builds routine by incorporating enjoyable activities.
  • Reduced Resistance: Tasks appear less daunting, decreasing mental resistance.

Maximize Temptation Bundling: Elevate Your Motivation and Productivity

To apply temptation bundling effectively, consider the following steps:

  • Choose Wisely: Select enjoyable activities that you genuinely look forward to and tasks that need your attention.
  • Create Rules: Set clear rules for yourself. For example, you’ll only watch your favorite show while you’re on the treadmill or only listen to podcasts while doing household chores.
  • Maintain Balance: Be mindful not to overindulge in the enjoyable activity outside of the bundling. This ensures the association remains strong.
  • Be Flexible: As your preferences and tasks evolve, adjust your temptation bundling combinations accordingly.

Whether it’s tackling work assignments, cleaning the house, or hitting the gym, temptation bundling can be a creative and effective way to boost motivation and productivity. It turns tasks from chores into opportunities for enjoyment and growth, helping you make the most of your time and attention.

We Can Do It

Ready to transform the way you approach tasks and boost your productivity while enjoying activities you love? It’s time to put temptation bundling into action! Select one task you’ve been postponing and pair it with an enjoyable activity that will make the process more engaging. Remember, every small step you take towards more productive and fulfilling days contributes to a brighter future. Start temptation bundling today and embark on this journey of intentional living.

With gratitude,

Also in this series:

Photo Credit: Intenza Fitness on Unsplash