I would give almost anything to get 25 hours a day while everyone else is sitting at 24. As it stands, I haven’t figured out a way to bend time, so I’ve resorted to gimmicky tricks throughout the day that make a noticeable difference. The to-do lists pile up ever so easily. If you want more flexibility, you need to stretch more. Eat mindfully (A.K.A. add 20 mins to your meal). Practice gratitude and journal and pray and write thank-you letters. It feels like a full-time job to optimize your mind, body, and health when you (most likely) quite literally already have another full-time job. Every day is a battle of how much health optimization I can squeeze in without entirely losing it (it being defined as reality, a social life, productivity, or anything else worth having on this rock we call Earth).
A neat little hack to circumvent this overwhelm is to stack a more important activity on top of a mindless/habit-formed activity so that you aren’t adding more time necessary, you’re simply getting more juice out of the same squeeze. I’ve had terrible ankle mobility since time immemorial (interchangeably using mobility with flexibility here, as the differences aren’t worth mentioning for the purpose of this post). I’ve also been massively lazy and never prioritized stretching since genesis.
Here’s a useful, real-world example. I’ve had terrible ankle mobility since time immemorial (interchangeably using mobility with flexibility here, as the differences aren’t worth mentioning for the purpose of this post). I’ve also been massively lazy and never prioritized stretching since genesis. I started stretching my calves while I brushing my teeth, yielding 2 mins, twice a day of ankle mobility work. Within a few months, I had respectable ankle mobility as was able to do deeper squats, with better, back-friendly posture (my primary motivator). Teeth brushing as a great one to stack or layer on another activity because it’s done entirely automatically. There’s no decision making or complexity to it as it’s a habit. When stacking (or layering for lack of a better word) properly, you aren’t in fact multi-tasking in the way that’s been recently and justly criticized. Multi-tasking becomes an issue when the two or more tasks require cognitive resources and decision making. That’s not what this is unless I’ve tremendously overestimated your teeth brushing abilities.
These minutes add up well. Find a few spots in the day where you become a mindless autopilot drone, and use that time more wisely to get the Slight Edge effect. How about when you’re stuck in traffic, a meeting, or some other colossal waste of your time? You could daydream, but why not use that time to catch up on your gratitude or deep diaphragmatic breathing? The point is not to tell you what to stack, but rather to provide the lens through which you can apply to better optimize your time and health.
Objection handling disclaimer. Being “mindful” does count for something, and that is a fair application of stacking where you would otherwise mindlessly proceed. As is our constant theme, you must prioritize what result you most value. Being 10% more flexible may beat out being 10% more zen, your call.
Tech Add-On: If you need help forming the new stacking habits, I recommend the simple app Way of Life to build daily compliance through self-reporting and tracking.