I know it’s kind of cliché but TGIF!! I had Monday off so after barre, I headed straight for Trader Joe’s to fill up my empty fridge and desolate pantry. When I say my fridge was empty I mean seriously empty. You could practically see a tumbleweed go by the strawberry jam. Two really heavy shopping bags later, I was retroactively kicking myself for moving into a walkup as I lugged those bad boys up a few flights of stairs. But once I got into my apartment, the real work began. I knew the first week back to work would be crazy and wanted to be as prepared as possible. Breakfasts had to be batched, lunches made and outfits ironed and laid out. All the steps to help the week go as smoothly as possible.
As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just can’t get excited to meal prep. Especially with my couch and fuzzy blanket just a few short steps away. And ironing might be my least favorite chore of them all. I’m guilty of letting the hot water run in my bathroom to steam clothes. I know it’s horrible and I’ve since given up that practice. How? Thanks to a suggestion I learned from listening to the Happier podcast.
I added Happier to my list of podcast subscriptions a few months ago and quickly became hooked, binge-listening until I was all caught up on the most recent episode. Happier is hosted by Gretchen (who wrote The Happiness Project and Better Than Before) and her TV writer sister Elizabeth chat all about bringing happiness into your life and discovering ways to create (and sometimes break) a habit. I am completely fascinated by psychology and if it wasn’t for that pesky science aspect, I would have probably studied it in college. But alas, science goes way over my head and thankfully, Happier keeps it easy for us non-science majors to understand.
In each episode, Gretchen and Elizabeth share a hack for productivity or how to be happier. Episode 74 introduced me to the “Strategy of Pairing.” It’s refreshingly simple: Two things go together that might not necessarily belong together. But to do one thing, you have to do the other. For example, if you want to watch a certain TV show, you have to watch it while running on the treadmill. But you can only watch that show while you’re on the treadmill.
I thought this sounded like a great way to reinforce a habit and decided to test out this Happier podcast strategy. Whenever I had to iron clothes, do a mundane household chore or meal prep, I would press play on my podcast list and get to work. I don’t listen to podcasts on my way to and from work or on the weekends when I’m bouncing around town running errands. But when I’m in my apartment and need to scrub the bathroom or clean the fridge, it’s podcast time. And if there’s a new podcast episode that I really want to listen to, I know that means I have to get cleaning or meal prepping!
In the past, I’ve been guilty of the “Make a cleaning list and then flop on the couch after completing one task” trap. But I’ve noticed a serious improvement since I started pairing cleaning with podcasts. I’ll pick a podcast, see how long the episode is and then create my to-do list. If the podcast is 30 minutes, I’ll make a list that I know I can finish within 30 minutes. If I want to listen to another podcast, I gotta get going. It’s worked like a charm for me!
The pairing strategy can easily be applied to most, if not all, New Year’s resolutions. What pairings would or will you use?
Check out what other podcasts I subscribe to here!
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