Tag Archives: efficiency

Podcast 111: Beware of Storing Stuff, Another Look at the Stumbling Block of Emails, and the Challenge of Little Slips of Paper.

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

Update: Let me know if you’re experiencing a cut-off during an episode. Thanks for any help in diagnosing this problem.

As Elizabeth mentioned, my new coloring book has hit the shelves — fun! The Happiness Project Mini-Posters: A Coloring Book with 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame. It hit #1 in Amazon’s “Adult Coloring Book” category (a surprisingly huge category). Above you can see a sample page that my younger daughter colored for me.

Try This at Home: Beware of storing things. Unless you’re storing things like holiday decorations or seasonal gear, “storage” often means “shoving it into a dark corner and forgetting about it for years.” Which can be draining and even expensive.

Happiness Hack: Our listener Amanda suggests, “Flip a coin to make a decision.” As Amanda points out, this is a strategy that can work for Questioners who are stuck in analysis-paralysis. Not sure if you’re a Questioner? Here’s the quiz to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

Happiness Stumbling Block 2.0. More on emails! Things to do, and things not to do.

Here’s the Harvard Business Review article I mention: Kabir Sehgal’s “How to write email with military precision.” Many helpful points.

Demerit: I’m surrounded by little slips of papers reminding me to do a bunch of things I don’t want to do.

Gold Star: Elizabeth found a “missing puzzle piece” — the shoe repair store! So simple, so helpful.

New feature: I’m starting a new feature; each week, at the end of the podcast, I’ll list “Two Resources for You.”

  1. Want a list of great books in children’s and young-adult literature? Here are my 81 favorites.
  2. Want a personalized, signed bookplate? Email me to request as many as you like (within reason). Be sure to include your mailing address, and U.S. and Canada only–sorry, mailing costs.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

Also check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #111

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

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.)

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.  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.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier 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).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

HAPPIER listening!

“I Have My Four ‘Go-To’ Habits: Go to the Gym, Go to Lunch, Go to Events, Go to Sleep.”

Interview: Tiffany Dufu.

Tiffany Dufu is the chief leadership officer to Levo, a fast-growing network for millennial women, and is involved with many endeavors related to making the world a better place. Her new book just hit the shelves, and with a title like that, I knew I couldn’t wait to check it out. How could I resist Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less? It’s a memoir and manifesto about “the ability to let go.”

I was eager to hear what Tiffany had to say about happiness, habits, achievement, and all the rest.

You can also join our Facebook Live conversation on March 3 on my Facebook page. Details about how to watch are here.

Gretchen: What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

Tiffany: Dancing to pop music all by myself in my bedroom.

In my head I’m in a music video. I used to do this when I was a little girl and I remember thinking that I never wanted to grow up because I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. But I still do…every night. The only difference is that I used to blast Janet Jackson and now it’s Beyonce.

What’s something you know now about forming healthy habits that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

That the healthy part is forgiving yourself when you break them.

Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?

There is a chair in my bedroom where I habitually throw clothes after I take them off or when they come out of the dryer. I haven’t sat in the chair since I nursed my daughter in it when she was an infant. She’s seven. Every time I look at the pile of clothes (you can’t actually see the chair anymore) I’m unhappy.

Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

In Drop the Ball I write about my four Go To’s – habits that have helped me to flourish at work and in life. They include going to the gym (building my stamina), going to lunch (building my network), going to events (building my visibility) and going to sleep (building my renewal).

Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

I used to get about five hours of sleep a night. It wasn’t enough, but I felt sleep deprivation was par for the course for every working mother. In order to get more sleep, I basically had to get more office work done while I was still at the office so that I wasn’t up late at night checking off professional to-dos along with the personal ones.

I implemented three strategies to make it happen. The first was using a device to limit the time I spent at work in ad hoc conversations that were presented as “Hey do you have five minutes?” but would turn into thirty. Whenever someone would stop by my desk I’d confirm how much time they needed and I’d set the timer. You’d be surprised how quickly people can get to the point when the clock is ticking! The second strategy was to schedule meetings for 30 or 45 minutes instead of defaulting to an hour. The third was to ask in person or over the telephone, whenever someone sent me an email meeting calendar invite, “Are you sure you need me in this meeting?” Seventy percent of the time people would rescind their invitation and give me back the time. So often people send calendar invites without being thoughtful about which stakeholders need to be in meetings to achieve results. Unless I’m working on something major, I get eight hours of sleep now each night. And I’m much happier.

Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

Only an Upholder would need to write a book called Drop the Ball.

[Actually, Tiffany, that is much truer of an Obliger!]

Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

Yes, my desire to delight my family. For example, I really should steer clear of gluten, but my family loves my buttermilk biscuits. Also, the morning is the best time for me to go to the gym, but on the weekends my family likes to snuggle on the couch and watch Star Wars Rebels. Resistance is futile.

Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

Yes! A few years ago I was watching a Levo interview with Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success. Through his interviews with successful leaders he had discovered that all of them have one thing in common: they’ve formed the habit of doing things they know they should be doing, even if they don’t feel like doing it. Our Levo offices were on the fourth floor and I always took the elevator. In fact, I didn’t even know where the stairwell was. That night, inspired by Rory’s video, I found the stairs, and I never went back to taking the elevator up or down.

Do you embrace habits or resist them?

Embrace. They’ve helped me to drop the ball on unrealistic expectations of myself. I can always go back and trace my progress. They make me proud of myself.

Has another person ever had a big influence on your habits?

My father. He’s a ritualist. He eats Kellogg’s Raisin Bran every morning. He reads “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” every Martin Luther King Day. He’s never lost a set of keys.

Podcast 97: Start Your Own Happiness Project, a Deep Dive into Break-Ups, and a Sweatpants Demerit.

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

We’re coming up on our Very VERY Special Episode — Episode 100! Hard to believe. For this episode, send us questions about anything, whether related to happiness or not. For instance, if you’ve wondered, “Why don’t Gretchen and Elizabeth ever have their parents come onto the show?” or “What was the brand of Gretchen’s hard-boiled egg-maker?” you can ask! (KRUPS, by the way.) Email us or call us at 774-277-9336.

To start the new year in a happier way, we’re doing a fun project on Instagram. Every day, for the month of January, Elizabeth and I will post a photo on Instagram of something that makes us happier (by giving us a boost, helping us stick to good habits, reminding us to feel grateful, etc.).  Join in! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.

Try This at Home: Start your own happiness project. I wrote about my own “happiness project” in my book, The Happiness Project.

My Twelve Personal Commandments are here.

Email me if you want to see my happiness-project chart. If you want to take a look at the The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five Year Record, it’s here.

If you’re curious to see Eliza’s Squarespace site for her podcast Eliza Starting at 16, it’s here.

Happiness Hack: Jane says, “To deal with unloading the dryer, I tell myself I only have to fold five items. That gets me started.”

Deep Dive: How to survive a break-up. Our fellow podcaster, Andrea Silenzi of the great podcast Why Oh Why, is dealing with a break-up. We talked about it first in episode 93, and Andrea came onto the show to give us an update.

Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for wearing sweatpants every day.

Gold Star: Our mother decorates beautifully for Christmas. It’s a lot of work, but it adds so much to the holiday, because it’s so festive.

Don’t forget: Elizabeth’s young-adult book Flower is ready for pre-order!

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Squarespace. Start building your website and get your free trial today.  Go to Squarespace.com, and enter the offer code “happier” to get 10% off your first purchase.

Also check out Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses. Pay a fraction of what you’d pay in the store, get free delivery, and returns within a 100 day period. Go to Casper.com and get $50 off a mattress purchase by using the promo code happier.

1pix

1pix

1pix

1pix

1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #97

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

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.)

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.  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.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier 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).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

Podcast 95: Practice Mise-En-Place, Pack a Canvas Tote Bag, and the Tragedy of the Messy Commons.

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

To start the new year in a happier way, we’re doing a fun project on Instagram. Every day, for the month of January, Elizabeth and I will post a photo on Instagram of something that makes us happier (by giving us a boost, helping us stick to good habits, reminding us to feel grateful, etc.).  Join in! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.

Want the Spotify list of Happier 911 songs that I mention? It’s here.

Holidays are approaching! Want a Happier t-shirt? Email us if you want to get one. Or if you want to buy one of my books, journals, calendar, mug, etc., look here.

Try This at Home: Practice mise-en-place.  In cooking, cooks “put everything in its place” — the idea is to get all your tools and supplies together, so that once you start working, you can work easily and well. Preparation is a true stage of working.

As I mention, if you’d like some personalized, signed bookplates or signature cards for your copies of my books, e-books, or audio-books, you can sign up here (U.S. and Canada only, sorry; mailing costs).

Happiness Hack: Pack a canvas tote bag in your suitcase.

Happiness Stumbling Block: The tragedy of the messy commons — or, the problem of shared work. We mention the Four Tendencies; if you want to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, look here.

Listener Question: A while back, we asked for suggestions for wedding readings, and I collected them into a single document, which you can get when you click the button below.

Click here to get the Wedding Readings PDF now

Along the same lines, Sylvia asked for suggestion for funeral readings — such a great idea. I’ll make a collection of funeral readings, too. So please send in your suggestions. I’m sure it will be very helpful for people to have this resource, during a difficult time.

Demerit: Elizabeth forgot to check the school schedule before picking a date for her son Jack’s birthday.

Gold Star: I get half a gold star — a better-late-than-never gold star — for finally getting the flu vaccine for my daughters and me.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Olive and Cocoa. Surprise someone you love with a meaningful gift today. Go to OliveandCocoa.com/happier to see gift options specifically chosen for our listeners.

Sign up for The Great Courses Plus today for access to thousands of fascinating lectures taught by top professors and experts in their fields. Special offer for our listeners: try it for free for a month when you sign up at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier.

Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

1pix

1pix

1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #95

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

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.)

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.  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.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier 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).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

Want to Get an Extra Hour in Your Day? Use the End of Daylight Saving Time.

For Better Than Before, my book about habit change,  when I talked to people about the habits they want to change, they often mention that they lack the time for a new habit.

To clear time to schedule a new morning habit, many people try waking up a bit earlier, but this can be tough for people who struggle to get out of bed.

One trick? Use the autumn end to Daylight Saving Time on November 6 as a painless way to add an extra hour to the morning. (Obviously this only works if you live in a place that follows DST.) Getting up earlier is a great way to make time for something important to you.

We all love to “fall back” and to get that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. It’s a great boon to get a little extra sleep. In fact, car accidents and heart attacks are more common in the week after Daylight Saving Time starts, because losing that hour puts stress on people’s bodies.

On the other hand, the autumn change means earlier darkness, and that poses safety challenges for pedestrians and drivers.

But while you may love that extra hour of sleep, consider not sleeping in, but instead get up after your customary amount of sleep. Your body is getting up as usual, but the clock will say that you’re up an hour early.  And there’s a lot you can do with that hour–especially if the people around you are still sound asleep.

Remember, when it comes to habits, it’s easier to change your surroundings than to change yourself or other people. It’s easier to get in the habit of waking up earlier by getting up at the same time, when the clock changes, than to train yourself to get up earlier.

A reader commented: “A couple years ago I decided not to reset my clock at the end of daylight savings. I suddenly had writing/exercise time.”

You could use that time to do something like exercise or work on a project–or maybe you want to use it for pure pleasure. I have a friend who wakes up early to read for fun.

The morning is a great time to form a regular habit, because self- control is high, there are fewer distractions, and it’s highly predictable.

NOTE: This system wouldn’t work for true “owls” who stay up late and sleep late. Night people are at their most productive, energetic, and creative later in the day, and mornings are tough for them. But for many people, it’s possible to make a very satisfying use of that hour.

ALSO NOTE: If you try this strategy, you must also go to sleep earlier! It’s so, so, so important to get enough sleep, and if you lose an hour in the morning, you need to gain that time in sleep. (Here are some tips for getting yourself to go to bed on time.)

The question is: where would you rather have the hour? At the end of the day, or at the start of the day?

Most people would use those slots in very different ways.  The hour of 7:00-8:00 am looks very different from the hour of 11:00-mindnight. Which hour would contribute the most to your happiness?

If you suddenly had an extra hour in your day, how would you use it? Have you ever used this method–or any other–to shift your waking time?