Tag Archives: organization

Podcast 50: Ask For a Favor, Cooperation vs. Competition, and I Struggle with My Daughter’s Ear-Piercing Request.

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

Update: We’re still basking in the glow of the live event.

Try This at Home: Ask for a favor.

Know Yourself Better:  Do you prefer to cooperate or compete?

Listener Question: Fiona asks, “How can I manage dealing with all the interesting articles and recipes that I cut out from the paper?” Elizabeth and I address this — and what are your suggestions?

 Gretchen’s Demerit: My sixteen-year-old daughter Eliza wanted to get more piercings in her ears. I didn’t handle it well.  If you want to hear Eliza’s perspective on the ear-piercing episode, you can listen to her excellent podcast, Eliza Starting at 16, episode 6. Yes, she has her own podcast!ElizaStartingat16logo

 Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives Michelle a gold star  for her empathetic gaze during a mindfulness exercise.

 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #50

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

HAPPIER listening!

Podcast 46: Don’t Get Organized, Dealing with Sentimental Items, Dealing with Rewards and Treats–and We Hit Five Million!

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

Update: Elizabeth reports on reader advice about how she can make an appointment to get her hair cut.

Try This at Home: Don’t get organized. If you get rid of that stuff, you don’t have to organize it!

Happiness Stumbling Block: It’s tough to let go of sentimental items, but they can become overwhelming.

I mention my post “What do you do with holiday cards? Keep, Toss, Store…” Fascinating answers.

Listener Question: “How do you distinguish between rewards and treats, and how do you decide when you should get one?”

BarnabyinConeGretchen’s Demerit: Barnaby had an operation, and I didn’t react in a calm way. Here he is in his cone, or “Elizabethan collar” as the vet called it, which he did not enjoy. Now he’s all healed and free!

Eleanor’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the podcast Another Round. Note: they do use strong language, if that’s an issue.

Newsflash! We hit five million downloads! While we were recording. Thank you, listeners, and thanks for recommending it to other people!

Remember, if you live in the Bay area:  Elizabeth and I are doing our first live recording of the podcast! January 21, Brava Theater, we hope to see you. Info and tickets here.  We’ll have two outstanding guests, Nir Eyal and Jake Knapp. Plus Elizabeth and I have planned special little treats, and you also get a copy of Better Than Before with your ticket.

 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier Podcast #46

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.)

1pix

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

HAPPIER listening!

Do You Fall for Any of These Common Clutter-Clearing Myths?

Every Wednesday is Tip Day (or Quiz Day or List Day).
This Wednesday: Do you fall for any of these twelve myths about clutter?

This post is back by popular demand.

One of my great realizations about happiness (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is that for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. After all, in the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet is trivial. And yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly find this, myself, that creating order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

But as much as most of us want to keep our home, office, car, etc. in reasonable order, it’s tough. Here’s a list of some myths of de-cluttering that make it harder to get rid of stuff.

Myths of Cluttering:
1. “I need to get organized.” No! Don’t get organized is your first step.

2. “I need to be hyper-organized.” I fully appreciate the pleasure of having a place for everything, and perhaps counter-intuitively, I believe it’s easier to put things away in an exact place, rather than a general place (“the third shelf of the linen closet,” not “a closet.”) However, this impulse can become destructive: if you’re spending a lot of time alphabetizing your spices, creating eighty categories for your home files, etc., consider whether you need to be quite so precisely organized.

3. “I need some more inventive storage containers.” See #1. If you get rid of everything you don’t need, you may not need any fancy containers. Be very wary of the urge to “store” something. Except for things like seasonal clothes and decorations, if you’re “storing” something, that’s a clue that you don’t really plan to use it.

4. “I need to find the perfect recipient for everything I’m getting rid of.” It’s easier to get rid of things when you know that you’ll be giving them to someone who can use them, but don’t let this kind intention become a source of clutter, itself. I have a friend who has multiple piles all over her house, each lovingly destined for a particular recipient. This is generous and thoughtful, but it contributes mightily to clutter. Try to find one or two good recipients, or if you really want to move your ex-stuff in multiple directions, create some kind of rigid system for moving it along quickly. We have a thrift shop two blocks from our apartment where we send a lot of stuff.

5. “I can’t get rid of anything that I might possibly need one day.” How terrible would it be if you needed a glass jar and didn’t have one? Do you have gigantic stores of things like rubber bands or ketchup packets? How many coffee mugs does one family use?

6. “I might get that gizmo fixed.” Face it. If you’ve had something for more than six months, and it’s still not repaired, it’s clutter.

7. “I might learn how to use that gizmo.” Again, face it. If you’ve had a gizmo on the shelf for a year, and you’ve never used it to make gelato or label a sugar jar, it’s clutter.

8. “I might lose a ton of weight and then I’d fit into these clothes again.” If you lose a bunch of weight, you’ll want to buy a new pair of jeans, not a pair you bought seven years ago.

9. “I need to keep this as a memento of a happy time.” I’m a huge believer in mementos; remembering happy times in the past gives you a big happiness boost in the present. But ask yourself: do I need to keep all these t-shirts to remind me of college, or can I keep a few? Do I need to keep an enormous desk to remind me of my grandfather, or can I use a photograph? Do I need fifty finger-painted pictures by my toddler, or is one enough to capture this time of life? Mementos work best when they’re carefully chosen – and when they don’t take up much room!

10. “I need to keep this, because the person who gave it to me might visit my house and be hurt when it’s not on display.” Is that person really likely to visit? Is that person really likely to remember the gift? Will the person really be upset by the lack of viewing of the gift?

11. “If I have any available space, I should fill it up with something.” No! One of my Secrets of Adulthood is Somewhere, keep an empty shelf. It’s funny; people often ask me, with open suspicion, “Gretchen, do you still have an empty shelf?” Yes, I do! Want to see it for yourself? Watch here in the behind-the-scenes-of-Happier-at-Home video; the shelf appears at 6:40. (Gosh, it was fun to make that video.)

12. “Yay, it’s free, I should take it!” Be very, very wary of accepting something because it’s free. It’s so easy to take that water bottle or tote bag, then realize that you’ve just brought more clutter into your house.

What other clutter-clearing traps have I overlooked? Do you fall prey to any of these?

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A Surprising Happiness Booster? Cleaning My Office.

One of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm. Clutter seems like a trivial matter, but I always find that I feel more serene and cheerful if my apartment and office aren’t too messy.

Along those lines, I’ve learned from my happiness project to be wary whenever I have the urge to “treat” myself, because often my treats don’t make me happy in the long run. For instance, one of my “treats” is to let piles of papers, clothes, books, and dishes pile up–which ends up making me feel less happy.

In fact, when I want to calm myself, or cheer myself up, I often take an hour and clean my office. For instance, this morning. My office had become a wreck, because I wasn’t taking the time to put anything away. I kept putting off little tasks, thinking, “It’s more important to answer my emails,” “I need to get this little piece written first,” “I need a break, I don’t want to deal with this now,” but finally, I got down to it.

I set aside an hour and tackled the mess. Methodically I entered reading notes, copied information, filed, wrote emails, tossed papers, wrote a thank-you note, took coffee cups to the kitchen, got rid of empty yogurt containers, etc. One of my daily habits is to take notes on a scratch pad–mostly to-do reminders–and these multiply quickly. I worked my way through the items on those sheets so I could toss them out.

I even dusted.

Now when I look around my office, I feel a shock of relief. All those clean surfaces! No more stacks of papers and books teetering on the edge of the desk! No more feeling harassed by uncompleted tasks! It gave me a real boost.

As Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.”

Overwhelmed? 9 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Home Feeling Serene and Organized.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
Feeling overwhelmed? Nine tips for keeping your home feeling serene and organized.

Because of the subject of my next book, Happier at Home, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about—you guessed it!—how to be happier at home. Here are a few very simple suggestions. These aren’t the most profound things you can do to make your home feel more serene and organized, but they’re steps you can take fairly quickly.

1. Be wary of bargains, sales, hand-me-downs and give-away. Do you really need this thing? Or love it? Beware: because of the “endowment effect,” we value things more once we own them. Once that thing enters your home, it will be tough to get it out again.

2. Never label anything “Miscellaneous.”

3. Remember: most decisions don’t require extensive research. Aim to be a satificer, not a maximizer.

4. Don’t let yourself fall into “empty.” Keep cash in the house. Keep gas in your tank. Keep an extra roll of toilet paper squirreled away. Keep your phone charged.

5. Don’t keep excessive amounts of anything. Those glass vases that come from florists. Those ketchup packets that come with take-out food. A house with two adults probably doesn’t need fifteen mismatched souvenir coffee cups.

6. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Lower the bar. Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending a weekend cleaning out the basement.

7. Clean while you cook (literally and metaphorically).

8. Put things away in a specific place. It’s much easier to find things later, and it’s oddly satisfying to slot things into their precise places. “Ah, this particular basket on this shelf is the place for the AAA batteries.”

9. Make your bed. I know it sounds trivial, but it’s a bigger happiness booster than you’d expect.

* Hey everyone: a New York City-based production company is looking for people who’ve been inspired to start their own Happiness Projects—and who want to share their stories. Does this describe you? Do you live in the greater NYC/tri-state area? Could you spend a few hours filming, at a convenient time?

If so, email a brief description of yourself, your Happiness Project, and how your life has changed as a result to THNKcasting@radicalmedia.com.