Defining Eight+ Habits: Mapping Habit Categories

30.08.2022 |

Episode #8 of the course Multihabit: A radical new approach to habit-tracking by John Robin


Welcome back to the course!

So far, we’ve worked on how to manage 7 habits, and this has helped us see how far we can go with our habits. By now, we’ve seen past the basic Pareto 20%, to how we can track other habits that occupy the “self-improvement” and “leisure” categories.

As we get ready to add more habits, we reach an important crux:

Just how far does this go?

Let’s see where that question takes us next!


Discovering What Eight+ Habits Look Like for You

As we saw in yesterday’s lesson, we have our three categories of habits:

• Productive
• Self-improvement
• Leisure

Now that we have this map of categories, we can think further of what remains.

Just keep in mind the way we’ve defined our habits in this course:

• Type-based with a focus mode

Our group at this point began thinking of further areas we might measure.


First Example: Different Perspectives on Chores

I wanted to see how much time I spent on housework and other obligations, so I created a “chores” habit. It’s important I clarify that “chores” for me does not mean the same thing as it might to someone else. For example, I include doctor’s appointments in this. For me, when I switch into the single-focused “chores” mode I am taking care of stuff that I have to do but don’t want to.

For me, chores were definitely not leisure, so I put this habit in my “self-improvement” category.

Mary, when she thought about what might be missing, created a “housework” habit and put it in her “self-improvement” category. It’s worth comparing Mary’s choice and mine, because this demonstrates again the importance of different outlooks. Whereas housework for me fit into a narrow window of time and was difficult to stay on top of, for Mary, tidying and decluttering her house was part of her routine and something in particular she took great pride in, enough to deserve its own habit.

The idea here is, we both picked a habit label that matches our unique way of mapping out the habits that define significant portions of our day.


Second Example: “If Only I Had the Time” Habits

I decided to also add two other habits, since I also wanted to cover more areas of my “leisure” category. These were “game” and “math”.

Yes, that’s right—I have a “math” habit. It’s one of my quirks.

The point of sharing this is: You don’t have to consider only the habits that you presently do or have to do. You can also consider habits you’d be doing if you “had more time” for them.

Susan and Joe both liked my idea to add a “game” habit and copied me here.

Mary also added “garden” as the thing she’d do if she had more time but seemed never to have time for. Since it was related to the “housework” in that she did it to feel proud of her home, she considered it part of her “self-improvement” category. Mary, like me, also wanted to discover other “leisure” habits beyond “spider solitaire” so she also added “coloring” and “puzzles”, which she also spent a good part of her day doing.


Final Example: Rod and Joe’s Discoveries

Rod took a slightly different direction. He’d already filled in his day with things he wished he could be doing, with his “reading” and “video game” habit. But as he considered, “What have I missed?” he put his finger on something big: “Social media”.

Like Susan using Duolingo to cope with her marathon study sessions, Rod turned to social media to break the monotony of long projects. Particularly with his main “producing” habit, sometimes, he might have to format an entire book for an upcoming publication. This is usually a 3-4-hour job.

He decided to pay attention to the 80-100-minute ultradian cycle and use his “social media” habit as a deliberate break after spending 80-100 minutes on a project.

Because Rod runs a startup publishing company, social media is important. Most of his authors, editors, designers, and marketing efforts were on the other end of important messages or posts in Slack, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

For this reason, he made “social media” a professional habit, so that he’d streamline his time there.

Over the next few weeks, Rod found a direct tradeoff occurred between his new “social media” habit and his other professional habits. Like Susan with Duolingo, his social media time shrunk down to something he only did on deliberate breaks between ultradian rhythm cycles.

Notice our top-bounding concept showing up yet again!

Joe also made a “social media” habit. Joe typically used social media to watch other pianists on Instagram or YouTube, but now that he had a “listening” habit to define a sharper focus there, he still found he wanted to go on Instagram to interact with other pianists, mainly to promote his channel.

Sometimes, Joe felt like he would fall into a “social media pit” where he was just scrolling and tapping endlessly, since there was just so much interaction potential.

What gets measured gets managed.

What Joe found when he took the leap and started measuring this part of his time, was mainly the security of seeing an exact number on how much time he spent there. It was about 3%. Having this number and now another habit compartmentalized gave him a sense of greater freedom in knowing how he was spending his time on what previously had seemed an out-of-control time-suck.

At this point, all of us were loving how our Multitimer panel had the potential to be on almost the whole day, depending on our curiosity.

This begged the question: Is there any time of the day to NOT have a timer on?

The answer to that question will lead us into tomorrow’s lesson. Stay tuned!


Your next spreadsheet

Tracking 8+ Habits • 2 Weeks • Group of 5 (See first tab for instructions)


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