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How to Stop Procrastinating and Boost Your Willpower by Using “Temptation Bundling”

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How to Stop Procrastinating and Boost Your Willpower by Using “Temptation Bundling”

James Clear,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Do you wish there was a life hack to help you muster the motivation to complete dreaded tasks? There is, and it’s a tempting one.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • For Beginners
  • Engaging


To exercise or to binge-watch Netflix, that is the question. One behavior you should do; the other, you want to do. Exercising is the healthy option with long-term benefits, but decompressing by watching your favorite show offers immediate gratification – until the guilt sets in, that is. Self-help guru James Clear recommends combining both tasks using a technique called “temptation bundling” to boost your motivation and reduce procrastination. His life hack will allow you to enjoy a guilt-free life of planned indulgences that are psychologically healthy and boast long-term benefits.


The tendency to put off dreaded, boring tasks is a universal problem. A behavioral technique called “temptation bundling” can end this procrastination.

Ronan Byrne, an electrical engineering student, solved his procrastination problem by developing a computer program that would allow Netflix to run on his TV and laptop only if he was cycling faster than a certain speed on his stationary bike. If he slowed down, his show would pause. Byrne’s invention is an example of temptation bundling: It allowed him to make an activity he dreaded but needed to do – exercising – more attractive by simultaneously rewarding himself with an activity he enjoyed – watching TV.

Marketers leverage temptation bundling to nudge audiences toward a desired behavior.

Temptation bundling rewards you for doing tasks you need to do. Marketers excel at monetizing this phenomenon. For example, during its 2014–2015 season, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) scheduled three back-to-back shows by screenwriter Shonda Rhimes – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get...

About the Author

James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits. He writes about a broad range of self-improvement topics, including work habits and decision-making.

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