Podcast #6: Try “Power Hour,” Consider Envy, Back Up Your Phone, and Enjoy the Process

My sister Elizabeth Craft and I are having so much fun with our new podcast,  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been on my book tour for Better Than Before, and many people have told me that they’re enjoying it. Thanks so much, and thanks for listening! (If you like the podcast, we’re sheepishly asking people to rate and/or review it, if time and inclination permit; very helpful for a new podcast like ours.)

Here’s what we discuss in today’s episode:

NothingIsAsExhaustingTask_124869Try This at Home: Try a weekly “Power Hour.” This is a habit that’s working very well for me; Elizabeth is intrigued.

Know Yourself Better: Ask yourself the uncomfortable question, “Whom do I envy?

Listener Question: Our first recorded listener question! “Is there any science behind the happiness we get happiness from helping others?”

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth learns, the hard way, about the importance of backing up the data on your smart-phone. On the bright side, though, her Candy Crush account was wiped out! If you listened to episode #2, you know that Elizabeth was battling a serious Candy Crush habit. Now she’s free.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to our father, who always remind us to “Enjoy the process.”

Thanks again to our advertiser, Framebridge — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).

Each week, we give  a “Try This at Home” suggestion, for some easy habit you can try, as part of your ordinary routine, to boost your happiness—something like setting an alarm to signal your bedtime, or using the one-minute rule, to help yourself stay on top of small nagging tasks.

We also suggest questions to help you “Know Yourself Better”—like “Whom do you envy?” and “Are you a Marathoner or a Sprinter in your work style?”—and explore “Happiness Stumbling Blocks,” those small, seemingly insignificant parts of daily life that drag us down—everything from the problem of the Evil Donut-Bringer to the fact that working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.

We “Grill the Guest,” consider “Listener Questions,” and finally, we get even more personal, and each of us either gives ourselves a “Demerit” for a mistake we made that week, that affected our happiness, or awards a “Gold Star” to someone or something that deserves recognition.

We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want to listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Tell us what you think! Drop us a line at @gretchenrubin, @elizabethcraft, Facebook, podcast@gretchenrubin.com, or call 774-277-9336. Or just add your comment to this post.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

Happy listening! Or I should say, HAPPIER listening!

  • HEHink

    Enjoyed listening this morning! I find family dynamics interesting, and appreciate that you share stories about your family members. In light of the idea that our own happiness and habits can be greatly affected by the people around us, I found myself wondering something during your gold star segment. You mentioned that one of your dad’s mantras is “Enjoy the process.” In an earlier podcast, you and/or Elizabeth also mentioned that your mother is a good example of someone who enjoys the process of finding items to decorate her home, and will happily spend extensive amounts of time on that process. It made me curious as to whether your dad has always had the ‘enjoy the process’ attitude, or if he developed it over time as a result of experiencing it with your mother. Either way, it sounds like they’re on the same page now, and that’s a happy thing for a marriage!

  • Kaminia

    I enjoy your podcasts, but don’t understand the need for ‘demerits’ it seems like a really bummer to focus on how we mess up.

    • mom2luke

      I LOVE the demerits!! Keeps it real and helps me forgive myself for my own. Gretchen is so accomplished it would be easy to “hate” her if she didn’t share her own demerits! (Of course I do not really mean “hate,” but I mean hate/envy in the way of that old shampoo commercial, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…” (i.e., Buy this shampoo and YOU can be beautiful too!)

      Demerits are really instructive, i.e., “We learn far more from our failures than our successes” as the adage goes

  • I’m loving your podcast – the format and the length are perfect for me. Here’s my listener question. I’m getting ready to switch jobs in a month which will involve a big schedule change and I’m worried about my losing existing good habits. What can I do now to make sure I start off with my new schedule & job on the right foot with the best habits?

    • gretchenrubin

      Great question! Thanks for the kind words.

  • Ciara

    Listened to this whilst out on a walk this morning (your podcast + exercising = motivational match) and power hour seemed totally doable…..six hours later and I just found the time to finally clear out two kitchen drawers. Thanks!

  • Colleen Robinson

    I’m loving the ‘power hour’! we are practicing it with cleaning the garage (so we’re not spending an entire weekend doing it, which is what was keeping us from getting it done in the first place!). We made a list of what needed to be done and broke it down into specifics, so our 1st hour/week was spent with just tools (finding them everywhere in the garage, putting them all together, getting rid of some, doing maintenance on others and then putting them away on a peg board system), the 2nd hour the following week was spent pulling out things to give away (bike, bike helmets outgrown, toys outgrown, duplicate tools, a forgotten pair of skates, extra sleeping bag – there were two car loads to Goodwill!), 3rd week was spent boxing/re-boxing/labeling & what was left into shelves and actually coming up with another load of items for Goodwill! We still have a few more power hours to go but it looks so much better and the progress made makes me want to get it finished to completion! thanks!

    • gretchenrubin


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  • Sharon T.

    Just “binge-listened” to several of your podcasts while catching up on dishes and a few other small tasks and cleaning the kitchen. Thanks for making them easy to access, and they are full of great easy tips. Definitely want to try the Power Hour! The other one that caught my interest was to Treat Yourself Like a Toddler. Good stuff.

  • Sam K

    As soon as I heard you talk about a Power Hour I knew what mine should be. Then as soon as Elizabeth spoke about losing all the photos and video of her son on her phone I got onto it. You see, all the photos/video of my kids from their birth’s until a couple of years ago were sitting on an old computer that barely works anymore. We were only keeping the computer around because this stuff was stored on it. Thanks to you guys I have not only rescued all these memories from certain death, but I can finally get rid of this relic for good. I can’t thank you guys enough for this kick up the backside.

    • gretchenrubin

      Excellent! What a relief to have that done.

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  • Readerly

    Gretchen, I’m checking in a year after you talked about Power Hour to say that IT WORKS! I love “parking” weird one-off tasks on my Power Hour list and deciding when to do them. (Strategy of Scheduling!) I gear up mentally, put on close-toed shoes and my Project Hat*, and get to work.
    Caution: I try to keep it to just an HOUR and the tasks on the list – i.e. not let “clean up grease spill under the grill” expand into “move all plants and furniture, clean pots and table legs, and scrub down entire patio.”
    *My Project Hat and close-toed shoes are part of a strategy that I might call “make it an event” – when I dress for a task, I feel focused… like this task isn’t interrupting or stealing my time, this task IS my time.

    • gretchenrubin