Podcast 89: Control the Cubicle in Your Pocket, Mail an Actual Invitation–and What Habit Would People Change?

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.”

Try This at Home: Control the cubicle in your pocket.

Happiness Hack: Mail an actual invitation, say, to a family gathering.

Know Yourself Better: If the people around you could change one of your habits, what would they change?

Listener Question: Kristen asks, “What is the origin of our Tendency?” Again, to take a quiz for the Four Tendencies, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here. If you want to know when my new book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves, sign up here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Because of her renovation, Elizabeth didn’t water her trees.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: Curriculum Night! I love getting the chance to hear what my daughters will be learning and to meet their teachers.

MugObligerHappierUpdate: Mugs! We have mugs for sale. A Happier mug, or you can also buy a mug specifically for your Tendency. Just scroll down here.  (Want to take a quiz for the Four Tendencies, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here. )

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #89

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  • Courtney Hunt

    If you get the extension “boomerang” for gmail, you can write an email and schedule delivery for up to 30 days later. So, Gretchen could still write the email when she thinks of it and set it up to be delivered on Monday morning. Some people say this is more effective because then it’s at the top of the recipient’s email inbox when they get back to work. Just a thought! Love your show!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks! Simple and effective approach.

    • Jennifer Lacy Rivers

      You can do this in outlook too on the Options Tab with Delay Delivery. I do this a lot so I can get it off my plate, but not pound people with emails early in the morning or on the weekend.

    • I use Boomerang all the time – love that it disguises when I’m working so that people don’t expect me to respond to emails on weekends or evenings.

  • Courtney Hunt

    Also, is there any way we could get tendency tote bags too? Thanks!

    • gretchenrubin

      That would be so fun. I need to start a whole product line. I’ve already been fantasizing about Tendency office products. Like for Rebels, instead of a To-Do List pad, I would offer a Could-Do List pad.

      • Courtney Hunt

        Wow! I’d love that–and they’d make great gifts too.

  • Bookworm9798

    With regard to the diet soda can issue, perhaps it could become a paired task: taking an empty can with you when you leave the room. I can’t remember if something similar to this was already a “try this at home” or not, but when my daughter was a baby, I started taking something with me every time I left a room because there was always something to be put in a hamper or a closet or the recycling. It only takes a few extra seconds to scan for items that need to be somewhere else and it doesn’t seem as onerous somehow because you were going to be leaving the room anyway.

    • gretchenrubin

      It’s funny –once I realized it was a thing, I effortlessly have been dealing with the cans. I just didn’t realize it bugged him.

  • bwells

    For managing your cubicle: I recommend utilizing the drafts folder of your email account. This allows me to type up what I need to get done and off my plate and hit send at a more appropriate time or edit it once I have had a minute to think about it! Then I am not sending the message that it is OK to contact me or expect a response at that time of day (say I am doing if after work hours or weekend days). It can also prevent you from bothering others who may see the email as a burden.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great solution

    • gretchenrubin

      Great solution.

  • Constance

    I teach online classes at a university, so I have students emailing me all weekend and all hours of the night with questions and problems. At the start of the semester, I send an announcement that the school policy is that I have 48 hours to reply to any email or message. This allows me to take off weekends or vacation days if I need them. It also requires my students to think ahead, because they cannot email me 2 hours before a deadline and expect a solution. It really helps my students to know and understand the reality and expectations of emails. I often reply much quicker than 48 hours, and then my students are pleased and happy that I have exceeded their expectations.

  • Betsy Rumble

    Email outside of work hours is such a difficult topic and expectations or perceived expectations around it can significantly influence corporate culture as a consequence of employees feeling they can never “turn off”. When the leadership in an organisation is sending emails from all hours of the day, throughout the weekend and over their own holiday time, it sends a strong message to everyone that this is an expectation for all.

    Emails like the ones Gretchen says she sends with a subject along the lines of “For when you are in the office” rarely assist the recipient in taming the pocket office (sorry Gretchen!). The mere receipt of these kinds of emails can result in hours of rumination on the ideas or issues they raise. For me, the only way to close the mental loop such emails present is to address them immediately and often at inappropriate times (while helping my kids with homework, cooking dinner, etc). The suggestions in @disqus_f6yGFINusG:disqus and @courtneyhunt:disqus ‘s comments which schedule or otherwise ensure email is sent in office hours can be used instead to alleviate this issue for mere “thought bubbles” (which can wait) and set apart those truly urgent or thoughtworthy points where consideration outside work hours may be warranted.