What if I told you that you could end procrastination with one easy step?  Sounds a little crazy, right?  And no, it’s not “eat the frog.”  I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me.

I get overwhelmed easily, and when I have a million things to do they all seem like the damn frog.  Which one do I eat first when they all seem so important and need to be done NOW?   It’s paralyzing.  So, instead of just picking one item and getting it done, I procrastinate…and procrastinate…and take up weaving or calligraphy.

I literally wove a wall hanging one night instead of doing the dishes or folding the laundry. I’m not kidding.  It turned out pretty great, but I still had a pile of clothes that I needed to fold and dishes that weren’t going to clean themselves.

Right now, the dishes are done and the laundry is put away all because of one little trick.  Two words – temptation bundling.  Katy Milkman figured this out in her personal life, and was so intrigued at the idea, she began a study.  Milkman and her colleagues conducted a study  of the exercise habits of 226 students, faculty, and staff at the University of Pennsylvania. They found that those using temptation building were 21-51% more likely to exercise.  You can read the full study here.

The only trick

What is temptation bundling?

Temptation bundling is the simple technique of combining a dreaded task with instant gratification.  I began doing this a couple of months ago, without even realizing I was doing it.  I turned my love of podcasts into a type of reward.  I could only listen to them while I was folding the laundry or doing the dishes.  What’s so amazing, is that it worked instantly.

How to create your own temptation bundle. 

Grab some paper, or my handy Temptation Bundling Worksheet, and make two columns.  On one side, write down all the tasks that you procrastinate doing or just simply dread.  On the other side, write down things that you find pleasurable.  Now, set some rules.  Match up each item on your procrastination list with a reward from the other side.   You can only do A while you’re doing B.  The idea is to blend the two so that the reward is worth the effort of the task you don’t really want to do.

Here are some examples:

  • Doing the dishes – Listening to latest podcast episode
  • Working out – Catching up on your favorite TV show
  • Responding to emails  –  Drinking your favorite tea or coffee
  • Running errands – Listening to a favorite playlist

This one little trick has made a HUGE difference in my every day life, especially when it comes to procrastination.  Those dreaded chores aren’t so bad anymore.  Laundry gets done and I get to catch up on my favorite podcast Sword and Scale.  It’s a win – win.

Give it a try and bet you’ll see a difference too!

Have you created temptation bundles, maybe with out even realizing it?  I want to hear how this works (or doesn’t) work for you!  Leave a comment, shoot me and email or use the hashtag #wildforawhile on Twitter and Instagram.  Also be sure to follow me @wild_for_awhile


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