Give yourself something nice to do if you're struggling to get to the gym
Give yourself something nice to do if you're struggling to get to the gym

How to stop procrastinating

Between 29 and 51 per cent were more likely to exercise if they gave themselves enjoyable tasks to do afterwards

Mollie Goodfellow
Friday 16 October 2015 13:23
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“Temptation bundling” may be the answer to the struggle with procrastination.

A study has found that if you struggle to accomplish things and put off important tasks to do more enjoyable past times, it may help you to combine the two.

Katy Milkman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that when she got home from work she couldn’t motivate herself to go to the gym and would rather read a book or watch TV. She decided that she would only allow herself to read her book or watch her shows if she had already been to the gym – she called this “temptation bundling”.

She said: “I struggle at the end of a long day to get myself to the gym even though I know that I should go. And at the end of a long day, I also struggle with the desire to watch my favourite TV shows instead of getting work done. And so I actually realised that those two temptations, those two struggles I faced, could be combined to solve both problems.”

She tested the theory by setting up a study at the university with 226 students and staff members. The research found that people who used the 'bundling' temptation technique were between 29 per cent to 51 per cent more likely to exercise if they gave themselves enjoyable bribes to do later

Professor Milkman outlined an easy system for creating your own bundle, in four steps.

1. Simply create a document that features two columns.

2. In the first column, list all the things that you enjoy doing and would rather be doing than tedious “life admin”

3. Then in the second column, label all the tasks and chores that need doing – for example doing laundry, going to the gym or paying your bills.

4. Once completed, go through the list and link the things you want to do with the things you need to do – even better if you can do things at the same time, for example listening to your favourite podcast while you exercise.

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