I used to read a lot. Every morning on my commute I’d block the world out and read. I enjoy learning new concepts and theories as well as immersing myself in fiction. I feel it’s an important part of my continuous learning and development to be taking on new information and learning new things. Now I don’t have a commute and I also find it difficult to concentrate to read. I don’t know why. It’s just how it is at the moment.
Several people have suggested listening to audio books or Podcasts instead. I had a go and I still struggle to concentrate to listen well enough, I potter about, get distracted and then all of a sudden it’s the end and I don’t know what’s happened for the last half hour.
So last week I decided to get more deliberate and make listening part of my daily routine. I’ve been experimenting with how to make listening to Podcasts and audio books a habit.
James Clear in his book Atomic Habits talks about habit stacking. This is attaching the new habit you wish to establish to something you already do, for example if you want to do improve your fitness by doing more steps, when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, rather than slouching over your Instagram feed, walk round the kitchen and do some steps. Repeat this every time you make a cuppa and you start to make it a habit.
Like most things we want to change, habit stacking is easy in principle, and harder in practice. However, this week I’ve started habit stacking on the morning poo walk.
If you have a dog, you most likely know what a poo walk is. It’s taking the dog for a walk with the primary purpose that they do a poo. For me this is first thing in the morning before I start work for about half an hour.
This week I’ve implemented a new habit that I’ve called ‘the poo walk podcast’ where I habit stack by listening to a podcast on a poo walk with my dog Gary. It’s working OK so far. I’ve definitely listened to more Podcasts than the previous week (actually than any week ever). I have had moments of not listening and had to recap – and this is still progress. Small steps. Plus ‘poo walk podcast’ amuses me which helps keep my interest.
I’ve enjoyed listening to some TED Podcasts, episode 127 on the Bright Spot Podcast and some gems from Squiggly Careers. I’m going to persevere because I’m enjoying what I’m learning and it sets my mindset well for the day ahead. Some days I might choose the empty space of just walking with silence and allowing my mind to wander. If I can listen and learn something on three out of five poo walks then I have success.
What habits would you like to establish? How might you use habit stacking to help you?
And any podcast recommendations much appreciated!