Practice “Pairing” for Enhanced Accountability & Excitement behind Tasks
Pairing is one of my favourite accountability hacks that add anticipation and liven up specific tasks to a higher degree. Pairing is the idea of putting two activities together simultaneously, with the intention of increasing the enjoyment of one activity by adding another slightly more enjoyable second activity. A great example is going for a walk, and pairing it with listening to your favourite podcast. The walk becomes something you look forward to even more so, due to the added bonus of wanting to listen to your favourite podcast.
Pairing is a great idea to not only increase our likelihood of sticking to our initial, less anticipated goal (“walking”), but pairing allows us to maximize our time even more efficiently. A common excuse is, “I have no time”, and as we know, this is a fairly weak excuse. The real issue comes with our management of time. The more positive activities we can pair together, the more we can get done, and the more we begin to look forward to our initial healthy tasks.
This past summer I used pairing for my long trail runs. I already enjoyed my trail runs, but sometimes in prep for an ultra marathon, 4-5 hours on the trails can feel like quite long and can take some convincing to get out the door. When I started pairing activities with my runs, I noticed the time went by faster, I enjoyed myself more, and when I did just run without any pairing, I gained an added appreciation for the isolation.
The two types of pairing’s I added to my runs came from listening to podcasts, and from having friends run with me. I really started to fall in love with my Sunday long-runs when I knew I had hours upon hours of some of my favourite health and wellness Podcasts to listen to. I felt like I was optimizing my time to the max. When friends or running partners came out to run with me, I found the social aspect of conversation, discussion and idea sharing incredibly stimulating and productive as well. Both of these pairing’s greatly increased my enjoyment for running long distances and turned an activity that I wasn’t always looking forward to, to one of my most anticipated activities of the week.
Again, pairing can be used to either maximize your time, or help increase enjoyment and excitement behind a less than enjoyable task, but an activity that you know is good for your health.
Here are some popular and common ways to make productive activities more enjoyable, accountable and exciting through the practice of pairing.
- Reading – Pairing Option – Book club
- Exercising – Pairing Option – Podcast, Audio Books, Social Workouts, runs etc.
- Stretching – Pairing Option – Podcast, Audio Books, Meditation, Music
- Meal Prep – Pairing Option – Podcast, Music, Social Cooking with Spouse, kids etc.
- Journaling – Pairing Option – Foam Roll (foot, legs), Take a Bath,
- Early Morning Walks – Pairing Option – Walk with a hot cup of coffee, Listen to Podcasts, Embrace the sounds of Nature