One recent morning, in the interest of science, I jumped up from my morning cup of coffee to take an allergy pill, eat an apple, check my blood pressure, do five push-ups, climb three flights of stairs, declutter a pile of papers and a make a to-do list for the day.
Total elapsed time for my mini-marathon of virtue: 9 minutes.
My slightly sweaty scramble was an extreme version of something variously called habit stacking, chaining, anchoring or piggybacking.
The idea: If I jumped up and did those things every morning after my coffee, they’d soon become as automatic as my caffeine habit. I’d never forget my allergy pill or blood pressure check and I’d start every day with an uncluttered desk and mind.