393: Celebrate Labor Day with #HappierLaborDay, an Easy Hack to Delegate Tasks–and Are You Drifting?


I mention my book The Four Tendencies. If you want to take the free, quick quiz, it’s here.

We talk about a listener’s suggestion to use an area code as a catalyst to celebrate a place — e.g., I could use February 12 as a catalyst to appreciate New York City, because my area code is 212.

We mention a few other ideas for appreciating your hometown:

  • Be a tourist in your own home, from episode 167
  • Create an Album of Now

Try This at Home:
Celebrate #HappierLaborDay.

As we’ve done for the last few years, we’re reminding people to use the upcoming American holiday of Labor Day – which is September 5 this year — as a catalyst to think about our work lives, however, we define work.

If you want to listen to our tips, hacks, and resources for #HappierLaborDay, you can listen to episode 390 — so many great suggestions.

As I write about in my book Happier at Home, for many of us, September is the other January. It feels like a fresh new start to the year, and a good time to re-evaluate. So it’s helpful, at that time, to have an external prompt to ask ourselves, “What could I do to make my work life happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative?

To use the holiday as a catalyst for reflection, consider these questions:

Would I work happier if I…

  • learned something new, or got a certification, license, or another kind of qualification
  • bought something
  • upgraded something
  • made a small change
  • made a drastic change
  • stopped working at a certain hour
  • moved closer to work – or farther away
  • had a wider network
  • started or expanded a side hustle – if so, Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School is a great resource
  • asked for something, such as a raise, more flexibility, a more realistic deadline
  • boosted my energy by getting better sleep, exercise, eating habits, clutter — I write about these habits in Better Than Before and Outer Order, Inner Calm
  • tracked my progress – I mention using the tools in the award-winning Happier app. The One-Sentence Journal, Don’t Break the Chain, the Photo Log, Know Yourself Better questions,

Want to try my free Work Happier SMS Challenge? Over seven days, I’ll text you a series of prompts to help you gain self-knowledge. Text WORKHAPPIER (one word) to +1 (844) 934-1913 and opt-in.

Happiness Hack

A listener suggested a hack that she heard from First Lady Jill Biden: When doing a big task, like preparing for a big family dinner, write individual tasks on sticky notes along with things needed to carry out that task. Then different family members can grab a note and do that task.

If you’d like to read the interview, it’s here.

Know Yourself Better: Are you drifting?

Drift is the decision we make by not deciding, or by making a decision that unleashes consequences for which we don’t take responsibility.

We often drift into certain decisions because other people approve of them. Drift feels small, but once unleashed, drift is a powerful, often almost unstoppable, force.

How many of these statements apply to you, in your current situation? The more checks you make, the greater your risk for being adrift.

__ I often have the peculiar feeling that I’m living someone else’s life.
__ I often think, “This situation can’t go on,” but then it does go on.
__ I spend a lot of time daydreaming about a completely different life as an escape from what I’m doing now.
__ I find myself getting very angry if someone challenges the values that I think I’m working toward.
__ I complain about my situation, but I don’t spend much time trying to figure out ways to make it better. In fact…
__ I fantasize that some catastrophe or upheaval will blow up my situation. I’ll break my leg or get transferred to another city.

Listener Question

How can an Upholder make time for all the nagging little tasks that pile up?

Use Power Hour! I write about Power Hour in my book Outer Order, Inner Calm, and we discuss it in episode 6.

Demerits & Gold Stars

  • Gretchen’s Demerit: I couldn’t find my AirPods, and I forgot the useful hack for finding lost items: If you can’t find something, look very, very hard in the place where you think it ought to be.
  • Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the beleaguered airline workers who are working so hard.




Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.