Habit Stacking in a Nutshell

Wood Stack. This image is CC0!

I recently stumbled upon the book Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott. The concept is very simple but powerful. Instead of a classical review, you will find an “in a nutshell” version in this post.

The idea of habit stacking is this:

  1. You can use it for small habits (actions) that you can either do or not, but which you cannot divide. Think brushing your teeth.
  2. “Small” means it takes anything between 1 and 5 minutes, give and take.
  3. A habit stack is a checklist of habits that fit into 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Start with a small list (let’s say 5 items and 15 minutes).
  5. You perform the actions on that checklist daily.
  6. The checklist keeps you from forgetting things
  7. By cramming the habits into this short time frame you increase your productivity enormously.

Here is what S.J. Scott writes:

Habit Stacking works because you eliminate the stress of trying to change too many things at once. Your goal is to simply focus on a single routine that only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. […] All you have to do is to create a checklist and follow it every single day.

Scott suggests a list of 97 small habits you can put into habit stacks and gives advice how to build the stacks. The idea is also to have more than one stack, for example in the morning, at work, and in the evening. These habits are divided into 7 chapters:

  1. Productivitiy
  2. Relationships
  3. Finances
  4. Organization
  5. Spirituality and Mental Well-being
  6. Health and Physical Fitness
  7. Leisure

I recommend this book for everybody who is overwhelmed by his daily routines. I think it fit’s well into the mind set of Lean Self. Do remember my posts about micro-sports and micro-meditation? You may want to put them on one of your habit stacks.

I seldomly endorse other web sites, so this is an important message: you also want to look at Scott’s blog Develop Good Habits.

And don’t forget: You can re-invent yourself 30 times!

PS: There is another concept, called mini-habits, by Stephen Guise. The two fit well together but are not the same. Stay tuned, I surely will review that book as well.




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