Tag Archives: work

A Little Happier: If Others Think I Can Do a Job, I Can Probably Do It.

I love it when people know just the right thing to say in a situation. Here’s one of my favorite examples — when a friend found the right thing to say to me, when I was nervous before a job interview with Justice O’Connor.

(Spoiler alert: I did get the job.)

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Podcast 72: Make Sure to Have “Room of Your Own,” Beware the Incomplete Upgrade, and My Parental Failure.

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

Update: In episode 64, we introduced the segment of the “Happiness Hack.” Some listeners sent us their favorite hacks. Keep sending them in! We love reading them.

Try This at Home: Have room of your own. Maybe not an entire room, but some room.

Happiness Stumbling Block: The incomplete upgrade. Have you experienced this?

Listener Question: Missy “I’m moving in with my boyfriend. I don’t have a TV, but my boyfriend has one. How do I avoid spending too much time on the couch?”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I didn’t warn my daughter that once her cellphone screen cracked, she should go ahead and get it fixed, even though the phone was still working. Why? Because inevitably it will stop working at the most inconvenient possible time. Which it did.

 Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to summer traffic in Los Angeles.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

If you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, it’s here.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #72

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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.

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I Make a Good Happiness Choice, and a Bad Happiness Choice.

One of the advantages of being a writer is that I have a lot of control over my time. However, I often don’t take advantage of that. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not being “productive” when I feel like I should be working — and most of the time, I feel like I should be working.

But the other morning, I made a good happiness choice. I was going to the Panoply studio in Brooklyn to record an episode of my podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and somehow I got it in my head that I needed to leave my apartment at 8:15. Only when I arrived at my subway stop did I realize I should’ve left at 9:15.

So what to do with that hour? First, I considered using that time for work. I saw a nice outdoor cafe, but then I thought — no, I’ll choose to wander.  I want to explore, and spend this lovely June morning getting to know a new part of New York City.

So I did. I walked around Brooklyn Heights, I saw the waterfront, I went to the bank, I got some exercise (I haven’t had much exercise in the last few weeks), I got to understand the geography of the city better — I had a very happy hour. And I had plenty of time to work, later. In The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I write about why these various elements give a happiness boost.

Today, I made a different choice. I met a friend for lunch, and her office was right near a perfume shop that I’ve been meaning to visit for months. I’d planned to go to the store after lunch, but when I got out on the street, I thought, “I just took a long break for lunch. I need to get back to my desk.” And here I am, back at my desk — and I wish I’d visited the perfume shop! I love perfume, it was only a few blocks away from my friend’s office, but it’s quite far from my apartment, so I’m unlikely to be down there again soon. I wish I’d taken the time to enjoy that neighborhood, enjoy some beautiful scents — and delayed my desk time by an hour.

We talk a lot about the problem of procrastinating work in order to goof off. But sometimes, we procrastinate goofing off in order to work. Do you ever have this problem?

Obviously, it’s not a good idea to leisure over work all the time. But sometimes, it’s the right choice.

I should’ve put “Visit perfume store” in my calendar. Upholder that I am, I bet that would’ve helped me to go.

Why Should the Bee Imitate the Beaver? Because Beavers Play at Their Work.

“From beavers, bees should learn to mend their ways.

A bee works; a beaver works and plays.”

–American proverb (allegedly–I’ve never heard this proverb before!), Oxford Treasury of Sayings & Quotations

One of the aspects of my life that makes me happiest is that I do the same thing for work that I do for play. My “job” is exactly what I do with my free time: reading, writing, taking notes, observing people.

Not one day goes by when I don’t think about it, and feel thankful for it.

How about you? Do you find ways to play at your work? There are many ways to accomplish this.

Need a Spark of Creativity? Try Annie Dillard’s Method.

Of a period where she was working on a difficult book, writer Annie Dillard recalled:

“Some days I read part of any anthology’s index of first lines. The parallels sounded strong and suggestive. They could set me off, perhaps.”

–Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I thought this sounded like a great idea to spark creativity — loose associations, unexpected juxtapositions, suggestions of thoughts ready to be completed.

For instance, here are the entries under the letter “I” in the “Alphabetical List of Titles and First Lines” from English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology.

  • I arise from dreams of thee
  • I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers
  • I had a dream, which was not all a dream
  • I met a traveller from an antique land
  • Indian Serenade, The
  • In London, September 1802
  • In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy
  • Introduction (Songs of Experience)
  • Introduction (Songs of Innocence)
  • In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
  • Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil
  • I saw a chapel all of gold
  • It is an ancient Mariner
  • It keeps eternal whisperings around
  • I travelled among unknown men
  • It seems a day
  • I wandered lonely as a cloud
  • I wnated thro’ each charter’d street
  • I was angry with my friend
  • I weep for Adonais–he is dead!
  • I went to the Garden of Love


This list sent my mind racing — how about you?

For more idea for boosting creativity, here are 7 tips I use to spark my creativity.

What are some strategies you’ve found, to give yourself new, fresh ideas?