I was on a holiday a few weeks ago, taking a 4 day break from work. We checked-in to a secluded resort with (thankfully) no mobile network. After a slightly long drive from the airport, and a sumptuous meal, we went to our room to take a nap. I inadvertently asked, ‘What time should I put the alarm for?”

“Forget the alarm! We are on a vacation. Wake up whenever you feel like.”, came the reply and I realized how habitual I was to setting an alarm as soon as I went to bed (stacking habit you see)!

Now habit stacking is essentially the strategy of introducing changes into a daily routine by grouping them with older habits – to ensure consistency and follow-through. And my alarm-setting reminded me of some of my stacking habits at work as well. (checking emails the moment I sit in the flight instead of reading a book, checking whatsapp everytime I check my emails, looking at a linkedin profile and forming an early opinion as soon as I am sent a resume)

Sometimes stacking habits in both personal and professional life can become derailers.

That is why, in the #DevelopmentJourneysByJombay that we run for our customers, we train managers and leaders on both – stacking habits for increasing efficiency and at the same time unstacking a few habits (occasionally) for triggering fresh perspectives. This means that if we are too habitual to solving a problem or having a feedback conversation in one particular way, sometimes we need to – unstack it, break the routine!

It’s critical for managers and leaders to regularly identify habits that one should unstack. After all, it is as much about unlearning as it is about learning!

What are some stacking habits that have actually helped you? And what are some of those that haven’t? I will be curious to know and learn.