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  • feedwordpress 10:00:09 on 2019/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: Ashley Whillans, , , Harvard Business Review, , Money, , Time for Happiness,   

    “If Time is Money, Money Can Also Buy Happier Time.” 


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    Interview: Ashley Whillans

    Ashley Whillans is a Harvard Business School professor and behavioral scientist whose research explores the connection between how we spend time to how we experience happiness. Her recent Harvard Business Review series "Time Poor and Unhappy" looks at why we feel so starved for time today when, in fact, we have more discretionary hours than ever before.

    I couldn't wait to talk to Ashley about happiness, habits, and productivity.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple activity or habit that consistently makes you happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative?

    Ashley: My colleagues and I have conducted survey and experimental research with nearly 100,000 working adults from around the world. Across studies, we find that the happiest people prioritize time over money. People who are willing to give up money to gain more free time—such as by working fewer hours or paying to outsource disliked tasks—experience more fulfilling social relationships, more satisfying careers, and more joy. Overall, people who prioritize time over money live happier lives. Importantly, the benefits of choosing time over money emerge for the wealthy and less wealthy alike. Even spending as little as $40 to save time can significantly boost happiness and reduce stress. Our research suggests that even small actions—like savoring our meals, engaging in 30 minutes of exercise, or having a 5-minute conversation with a colleague (vs. focusing on work) can significantly shape happiness, more than most of us predict.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What has surprised or intrigued you—or your readers—most?

    Ashley: Over and over, I find that prioritizing time over money increases happiness. Despite this, most people continue striving to make more money. For example, in one survey, only 48 percent of respondents reported that they would rather have more time than more money. Even the majority of people who were most pressed for time—parents with full-time jobs and young children at home—shared this preference for money over time. In another study, the very wealthy (i.e., individuals with over 3 million dollars of liquid wealth sitting in the bank) did not always prioritize time over money either. These data suggest that a key challenge to reducing feelings of time stress and increasing happiness for a broad range of the population is psychological: most people erroneously believe that wealth will make our lives better. Research shows that once people make more than enough to meet their basic needs, additional money does not reliably promote greater happiness. Yet over and over, our choices do not reflect this reality.

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

    Ashley: As a happiness researcher, I should know better than to choose money over time. Yet, admittedly, like most people, I make these trade-offs suboptimally. I worked for an hour during my wedding reception and I can often be found typing on my laptop or taking work meetings in spa locker rooms. However, a recent experience solidified for me the importance of focusing on time over money. Two weeks ago, one of my closest friends from graduate school shared some devastating news: Her 32-year-old, fit, healthy partner was dying. Out of nowhere, her partner was diagnosed with terminal metastatic cancer. He was given three months to live. In her fundraising page my friend wrote, “We thought we had all the time in the world.” Today, my friend and her boyfriend ‘immediately-turned-husband’ are trying to savor every second of their time together before the inevitable. As a 30-year old myself, who has focused most of the last 10 years on my career (often at the expense of my sleep, my health, and my personal relationships), this experience was a wake-up call. None of us know how much time we have left, and we cannot take money with us. I have studied the importance of prioritizing time for years. And now, I have started truly trying to live this priority.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”)

    Ashley: Benjamin Franklin wrote “Time is Money.” My personal mantra is a play on this familiar quote: “If Time is Money, Money Can Also Buy Happier Time."

    Gretchen: Has a book ever changed your life—if so, which one and why?

    Ashley: The book that changed my life is Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. This book introduced me to the scientific study of well-being. Dan Gilbert argues that we often mispredict what will make us happy. His persuasive arguments and energetic, insightful and witty writing inspired me to become a social scientist. Specifically, this book solidified my interest in conducting research to learn how to successfully nudge all of us to spend our time and money in ways that are most likely to promote happiness.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:00:20 on 2018/03/29 Permalink
    Tags: , Danielle Town, , Money, wealth   

    “Money Certainly Cannot Buy Happiness, But It Can Buy Comfort, Choices, and Freedom.” 


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    Interview: Danielle Town.

    The relationship between money and happiness is one of the most complex and emotionally charged topics within the larger subject of happiness.

    Danielle Town has written a memoir that takes the reader through her efforts to gain greater control over money and investing -- and with it, a sense of greater control of her life. Over the course of a year (I do love any one-year project!) she teaches herself how to invest wisely.

    This memoir is just hitting the shelves: Invested: How Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Taught Me to Master My Mind, My Emotions, and My Money (with a Little Help from My Dad).

    Many of us don't even like to think about money, but Danielle Town explains why we're happier if we confront our fears, anxieties, desires, and habits related to saving, spending, and investing.

    I couldn’t wait to talk to Danielle about the relationships among happiness, habits, money, and relationships.

    Gretchen: You’ve written a wonderful memoir about learning investing that is, in many ways, really about happiness. For many people, money problems are huge obstacle to their happiness. Do you connect money and happiness? Do you think money can buy happiness?

    Danielle: Money certainly cannot buy happiness, but it can buy comfort, choices and freedom. Which, for a lot of us, would feel like a lot like happiness. It's funny how wealth is like health - when you don't have it, it's all you think about; when you do have it, life is just easier. Feeling free financially removes stress and creates the space to focus on the important things that actually do create real and lasting happiness: the choice to work part-time, the ability to support wonderful charities, the peace of knowing your student loans are paid off or your kids have college covered – whatever financial freedom looks like for each of us. And I was forced into learning about financial stuff, so I know it’s not a happy topic for many of us, but it turned into a source of happiness for me.

    Gretchen: You’ve gone through a fascinating journey and education. What has surprised or intrigued you – or other people -- most?

    Danielle: It surprised me how much old childhood emotions around money shaped how I think about my finances to this day. Every single person has a framework of money and wealth from their childhood; every one of us, regardless of how much or little we and our family had, had an experience with money growing up. However, we probably didn’t realize or notice it until we got older, because it’s only once we’re older and see how other people handle money that we have any perspective on our own experience. Once I was several months into learning investing, I just couldn’t quite fully imagine myself as a successful investor, and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, I realized it was because I didn’t completely trust my dad. Which is, on its face, ridiculous: my dad is a well-respected investor who has been investing for thirty years. So I looked deeper, and it went back to when I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was eleven, and my experience was that my dad left and took the money with him, and it was awful. But he came back, and we repaired our relationship, and until I started learning investing from him I would have told you that the childhood trauma was all in the past. It wasn’t. It forced us to talk about it, and for the first time in my life, I heard his perspective on the situation and, as an adult, I could see his point of view and his choices in a way I couldn’t have when I was a kid. Working through it released me from some of its effects, while at the same time, that was my experience and I will always need to be aware of how it’s affecting me as an investor.

    Usually as soon as I start talking about childhood experiences with money with people, they flash back immediately and they know exactly what shaped them. It’s extraordinary how it’s right there, present, but we avoid it for years because it’s uncomfortable or painful – which is completely logical, actually, to avoid something that brings pain. However, by avoiding it, we’re compounding the pain by bringing money stress on ourselves, and I believe we have to think about it, transform it, and go forward with that information about ourselves to take our power back.

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

    Danielle: When I initially read Better than Before, I thought I was a Rebel because I absolutely love the feeling of not doing something I’m expected to do. It used to give me huge amounts of pleasure to, for example, cut class in school – but only when it was a class I knew was unnecessary and skipping it wouldn’t hurt. However, at the same time, I really care about the expectations of others and don’t want to let anyone down, right up until it gets to be too much and then I tend to shut down. So I wasn’t quite sure how I fit into the framework. But then, when I read The Four Tendencies, and discovered that you had identified a subset of Obliger that is also a Rebel, I felt seen. I distinctly remember reading your book on an airplane and, when I read that section, I flashed back to when I started looking into my Investing Practice – I think I was deep in Obliger-rebellion, overwhelmed at work, and trying to find a way out while still being able to pay my bills.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now that pushed you towards building healthy habits or happiness, which you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Danielle: I didn’t know inflation was destroying my savings without me doing anything wrong! Finding that out changed everything, and pushed me towards building the habit of my Investing Practice, which has created so much happiness in my life. It probably sounds ridiculous to those who are aware of it, but did you know that inflation reduces the buying power of your savings? I didn’t know that, because I had never connected inflation to my own personal money like that. I thought savings were incredibly safe, but they’re not safe from inflation.

    Inflation on average is 3% per year. Which means that just to stay even, just to keep my money and not lose it, I have to get 3% per year on my money. No one had EVER told me that. It still blows me away. Why don’t they teach this stuff in school? And I have a father who is a long-term value investor, and I didn’t know. So when I found that out, I knew had to do something with my money simply to not lose it, and I still hemmed and hawed and tried to avoid learning how to invest. I’m such a reluctant investor. Investing is often scary, volatile, and emotional. Of course it is - we get virtually no financial education but live in an incredibly complex financial world. But now my practice of investing - which I treat as a practice, just like yoga or meditation – has, surprisingly, become such a wonderful part of my life because it’s not really about making money. Money is a nice byproduct. But the real reward is in the learning, studying, and appreciating knowing so much more about my world around me, and then getting to make a difference by voting for my values with my investing dollars.

    Gretchen: How does bringing your values into your Investing Practice make you happier?

    Danielle: It makes me feel like a joyful warrior – who knew investing could do that? My money is a vote, and if it’s in the market, it’s being voted – even if I didn’t choose the companies my money supports. That vote still counts. Which means that if I’m not choosing the companies my money supports because it’s in a fund or index, it probably is literally helping companies do things I hate – polluting, hurting animals, treating employees poorly, just to name a few things that are important to me to avoid. Once I took my power back and started voting my money myself in wonderful companies for the long-term, it made the process of learning about investing in the markets so much more interesting, because now it’s personal. We little investors control so much of the market that, if we all voted consciously with our money, we literally could change the entire market. If we took our money out of companies doing terrible things, those companies would change or die, quickly. They really would. Within a year, probably. We have so much power, and we have the skills, we just need a bit of knowledge about how to use it. It makes me happy to use it for good.

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

    Danielle: Meditating. I’ve practiced Transcendental Meditation since I was ten years old, and it consistently reduces my stress and gives me an experience of stillness that I draw on in many situations outside of meditation. Knowing that I have that experience inside me, no matter what, gives me the groundedness to be brave and take leaps like quitting my law firm job and moving to another country.

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

    Danielle: Staying up late is a terrible habit of mine. Lack of sleep really negatively affects me. After a string of days of little sleep, I get pessimistic and down and start feeling depressed. Someone called out that connection between sleep and getting pessimistic for me a few years ago, and it was really helpful to be made aware of it. Now, I try to notice those negative thoughts instead of being consumed by them, and review whether I’ve been sleeping enough, and I almost always haven’t been. It’s pretty amazing how much rosier the world looks in the morning after a night of great sleep.

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

    Danielle: I am extremely introverted, which means that people pull energy from me instead of giving energy to me. Not a bad thing, just how it is. I had always felt uncomfortable about being introverted, but reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet was a life-changing lightning bolt that made me realize it was ok to be me – or, as you would put it, to Be Danielle. Her research proves it’s not only ok to be introverted, it’s beneficial in many ways. Our world is not particularly conducive to introversion, though. I remember being called ‘shy’ in a derogatory way when I was a kid and being constantly pushed to be around people. My respite after a long day at school was to come home and get to read alone in my room, and I remember one afternoon my mom asked me, “Why don’t you make plans to play with your friends after school?” All at once it occurred to me for the first time that that was something the other kids did, so I was different, and also, I didn’t want to do that at all. After all, I had just spent all day with those friends. But I tried to be “normal” and more social and carried that effort with me my whole life. So reading Quiet, as a 35-year-old attorney, taught me more about myself than I could have imagined. I understood why I went into law – because I loved getting to spend long hours thinking out an agreement or problem – and why I was miserable in my legal practice – because we didn’t have long hours to think; work had to be done quickly and while being constantly pulled away to answer emails within a few minutes of them arriving and juggle clients. I realized that’s probably why many lawyers are unhappy. We go into it for the intellectual challenge and deep thought, and come out of it into a peripatetic job managing the constant needs of others. The two don’t match up. I started thinking seriously about my future and how to structure my life so that it fit me, instead of me trying to fit it.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”) Or a quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?

    Danielle: I remind myself to be thankful for my problems. I struggle with gratefulness practice because it feels a bit forced to me, and I don’t like that feeling. But noticing my problems and being thankful for them – that they’re not bigger, that there might be a silver lining to them, that they show me what’s important to me – is simply noticing reality and shifting perspective a little bit. There was an investor in Japan, Wahei Takeda, who was often called the Warren Buffett of Japan, and he actually required that the companies he invested in have thankfulness as an institutional practice. If they refused, he pulled his money out. I think it showed him whether the people running those companies shared his values or not, and he didn’t want to be supporting a company of people who didn’t share his values. And neither do I.

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:20:08 on 2017/08/16 Permalink
    Tags: , Money, myths, ,   

    Podcast 13O: Seven Myths of Happiness. 


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    Note to Readers and Listeners: I wanted to let you know that Elizabeth and I recorded this episode before the shocking and despicable events in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017, and following. That’s why we don’t mention it. If you’d like to hear some discussion, check out this Facebook Live video from August 15.

    Such events are a reminder that all of us, in our own lives, must strive in our own actions and words to live up to the highest ideals of our country. What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?

    In recent days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill, and also about the “America feeling” I get, for instance, from this scene from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma! If you’d like to hear me describe it, listen here.

    And now — the show notes.

    Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 27 days.

    To thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

    We loved everyone’s suggestions for clever phrases to capture the distinction between people who like to tackle the hardest task first, and those who work up to the hardest task. My favorite: “up-hillers” and “down-hillers.”

    Seven Myths of Happiness

    1: Happy people are annoying and stupid.

    2: Nothing changes a person’s happiness level much.

    3: A “treat” will cheer you up.

    4: Money can’t buy happiness. Here’s the article we mention, about using money to save time to boost happiness.

    5: You’ll be happy as soon as you…

    6: Spending some time alone will make you feel better.

    7: The biggest myth: It’s selfish to try to be happier.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth didn’t plan play dates for Jack with new families.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I love the world of Game of Thrones! I love George R.R. Martins’ books, I love the HBO TV show, and I love “Binge Mode,” the GoT re-cap show with co-hosts Jason Concepcion and Mallory Rubin.


    Free Resources:

    1. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.
    2.  If you’d like a free, signed bookplate or signature card, sign up here. U.S. and Canada only — sorry about that, mailing costs. Ask for as many as you’d like (within reason).

    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.

    As I mentioned above, 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 Honest Tea, who is celebrating the lighthearted ways that we’re less than perfect through the #RefreshinglyHonest Project. Learn more by visiting HonestTea.com/podcast.

    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,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    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.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 13O: Seven Myths of Happiness. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 15:42:04 on 2017/05/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Money, , , side hustle, ,   

    Podcast 116: Start a Side Hustle, a Travel Hack, and the Stumbling Block of “Raising the Bar.” 


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    Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches on May 18!

    Try This at Home:  Start a side hustle. We were inspired by Chris Guillebeau‘s excellent podcast Side Hustle School (which is part of The Onward Project, by the way).

    Elizabeth and I interviewed Chris during our live event in Seattle. If you want to listen, it’s in episode 87.

    Chris’s terrific book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, is available for pre-order.

    If you want to take the quiz to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take it here.

    Also, I now have a cover for my book The Four Tendencies. We worked on it for a long time, and I love the final version.
    1pixThe Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

    The Four Tendencies is now available for pre-order. (If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order; pre-orders build support among booksellers, the media, and other readers.)

    Happiness Hack: When Christa travels for work, she takes pictures of Mr. Potato Head in various places. This gets her out of the conference venue and is a fun thing to send to her children.

    Elizabeth mentions the father Stephen who photo-shops pictures of his baby in dangerous places (see above). You can see more photos here.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: Sometimes, with very good intentions, people “raise the bar” in a way that takes the satisfaction out of our achievements.

    Listener Question: Sarah asks whether it’s a crazy idea to keep a chart of “keeping-in-touch goals” to strengthen her relationships.

    Demerit: Elizabeth doesn’t make timely decisions.

    Gold Star: I give a gold star to my daughters’ school, which has many lovely, fun traditions for seniors to celebrate the end of high school. If you want to hear Eliza talk about a school tradition on her podcast, Eliza Starting at 16, listen to the bonus clip at the end of this episode, or listen to the whole episode here.

    Two Resources:

    1.  If you’d like a discussion guide for my Better Than Before, you can download it here; for The Happiness Project or Happier at Home, download here. Or email me to request what you want.
    2. Speaking of my books, Mother’s Day approaches. If you need a gift for a mother in your life, I will self-promotingly suggest that one of my books might make a good gift. The books, the coloring book, The One-Sentence Journal for Mothers, there’s a lot to choose from.

    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 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,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

    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.

    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 on May 18.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 116: Start a Side Hustle, a Travel Hack, and the Stumbling Block of “Raising the Bar.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:40:07 on 2017/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Money, , , , , , Russ Laraway, Side Hustle School,   

    A Not-So-Little Happier: Announcing the Launch of “The Onward Project” Podcasts! 


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    The Onward Project - Podcasts curated by Gretchen Rubin

    Ta-da! In this not-so-Little Happier, I’m announcing the launch of a family of podcasts, headed by me, called The Onward Project.

    These podcasts will made your life better — happier, healthier, more productive, more creative.

    The shows are very different from each other, but they share a similar vibe. They’re fascinating, with great hosts, and they’re all full of concrete, manageable ideas, research, stories, and tips for how to make your life better.

    The idea is that if you like Happier, you’ll like the other Onward Project shows, too.

    Radical Candor 

    Radical Candor from Kim Scott and Russ Laraway. Kim describes the podcast as “how not to hate the boss you have, and how not to become the boss you hate.” It’s all about how to be constructive, and critical when necessary, and also kind. If you want to look at Kim’s book Radical Candor, it’s here.  New episodes every Tuesday.

    Side Hustle School

    Side Hustle School from Chris Guillebeau. If you heard our episode 87, our live event in Seattle, you heard us talk to Chris — so you have a sense of what an interesting guy he is. In Side Hustle School, he talks about how to pursue a “side hustle” — a money-making project you pursue apart from your day job. It’s not a part-time job; it’s not a hobby; it’s something you create. Chris is a Rebel, by the way.  New short episodes every day.

    I’m so excited about these podcasts — these hosts are so engaging, with such interesting stories and perspectives. And I can’t wait to hear what you think! Let me know.

    And to give a teaser, in March, two more podcasts will launch:

    Happier in Hollywood

    Yes, Elizabeth is doing another podcast! This one is with her longtime writing partner, Sarah Fain. It’s about how to be happier, healthier, saner, more creative, more successful, and more productive in a back-biting, superficial, chaotic, unpredictable, fundamentally world. I can’t wait to listen. Elizabeth and Sarah have the craziest stories.

    Whole30

    We got a huge response after episode 52, when we interviewed Melissa Hartwig of Whole30. Whole30 is a very structured way of eating for thirty days, to re-set your body clock. As we discussed, it’s not an approach that works for everyone, but for many people, it’s life-changing (and I don’t use that word lightly). Her ideas resonated so much with listeners that I asked her to start her own podcast.

    Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Not-So-Little Happier: Announcing the Launch of “The Onward Project” Podcasts! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:50:13 on 2016/11/24 Permalink
    Tags: Black Friday, , , , Money, , shopping, ,   

    5 Tips for Not Over-Spending — on Black Friday, or Any Other Time. 


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    In the United States, Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, and the Friday following the holiday is known as “Black Friday.” It’s such a popular shopping day that one explanation for the name is that it’s the day when retailers go from being “in the red” to “in the black” (i.e., they start to show a profit).

    Many people begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday; there are sales and special promotions; it’s a popular day to visit the mall.

    Which means that for some people, it’s a challenge not to over-spend. 

    In my book Better Than Before, about how to change habits, I identify the 21 strategies we can use to make or break a habit. If you’re worried about spending too much, try these strategies:

    1.The Strategy of Monitoring: keep close track of what you’re spending. It’s easy to forget various purchases, or maybe even to forget to check a price tag. Monitoring has a very powerful effect — even if we’re not even trying to change a behavior, we tend to do a better job if we monitor it.

    2. The Strategy of Distinctions — cash or credit cards: Some people do a better job controlling spending when they use cash.  For most people, using cash makes it harder to spend, because handing over actual bills feels hard. In fact, that’s one reason that casinos use chips instead of cash; loss seems more imaginary when you’re not handing over actual greenbacks.

    On the other hand, some people are more careful when they use credit cards. They know that they’re going to confront a record of every single dollar they spent. So do what works best for you.

    3. The Strategy of Clarity: shop from a list, so you know exactly what you’re planning to buy, and you don’t make impulse purchases. If you’re shopping for Christmas presents, say, don’t buy something for yourself.

    4. The Strategy of Accountability: have a partner who has to be notified every time you make a purchase. You could go shopping with your sweetheart who holds your wallet, for instance, or — like a friend of mine — you could text your brother every time you pull out your wallet. She found that just knowing that her brother would see what she was buying helped her to make better choices.

    Remember, if you’re an Obliger, you need accountability! This is crucial! If you want to form an Accountability Group, to get that crucial accountability, you can join the Better app. If you don’t know if you’re an Obliger–or an Upholder, Questioner, or Rebel–take the quiz here.

    5. Strategy of Loophole Spotting. “Boy, we’re good at thinking of loopholes. What are some loopholes you might invoke, as you’re browsing the aisles?”

    Moral licensing loophole: “I’ve been so good sticking to my budget, I deserve to splurge a little.”

    Tomorrow loophole: “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be so frugal, it doesn’t matter what I do today.”

    Lack of control loophole: “Stores are designed to be so tempting that no one could resist buying.”

    Arranging to fail loophole: “I’m not going to buy a single thing today, but I thought I’d just come and look around, for fun.”

    Questionable assumption loophole: “If it’s Black Friday, this price must be a good bargain.”

    Fake self-actualization loophole: “You only live once, I should treat myself!”

    One-coin loophole: “What difference is this one purchase going to make? I’m not going to bust my budget in one store.”

    When we recognize that we’re invoking a loophole, we’re able to resist.

    How about you? Have you found some good ways to avoid over-spending?

    Now, I myself am an under-buyer, so I don’t have trouble with over-spending. I have trouble with under-spending; it’s inconvenient and inefficient to be an under-buyer. So I have to force myself to purchase.

    On the subject of money, you may be interested in this question: Which of These Four Stories Do You Tell Yourself about Money?

    The post 5 Tips for Not Over-Spending — on Black Friday, or Any Other Time. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:51:06 on 2016/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , Money, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Podcast 90: Very Special Episode on the “Essential 7” for Happiness and Good Habits. 


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

    NOTE: This episode was recorded before Election Day 2016, which is why Elizabeth and I don’t mention it. The election has been unusually emotional and contentious. As with any milestone moment, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect about our own values, and how we can serve the highest ideals of our country and ourselves.1pix

    Update: To hear the Happiness 911 songs, the link is here, or you can search for “Happier 911” on Spotify. Currently at 397 songs — that’s almost 25 hours of happy music.

    podcastt-shirthappierblackIf you want to buy a Happier t-shirt, email us here, and we’ll get your information.

    Every tenth episode is a Very Special Episode. For this VSE, we talk about the “Essential Seven,” the seven areas in which just about every desirable habit falls.

    Try This at Home: Figure out what you’d do using the Essential Seven, to make your life happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative:

    1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)

    2. Exercise regularly

    3. Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, make purchases that contribute to happiness or habits, pay taxes, stay current with expense reports, take classes to expand career options)

    4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (pursue a hobby instead of cruising the internet, enjoy the moment, stop checking email, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car, take time for myself)

    5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress (practice an instrument, set aside two hours daily for uninterrupted work, learn a language, maintain a blog, keep a gratitude journal)

    6. Simplify, clear, and organize (make the bed every day, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle, give away unused clothing) If you want listen to Episode 10, the clutter-clearing episode, it’s here.

    7. Engage more deeply—with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world (call family members, read the Bible every day, volunteer, spend time with friends, observe the Sabbath, spend time alone in nature)

    Of course, the same habit might satisfy different needs for different people. For one person, yoga might be a form of exercise (#2), for someone else, a way to find mental rest (#4); for someone else, a spiritual practice (#7). And people value different habits. For one person, organized files might be a crucial tool for creativity; another person finds inspiration in random juxtapositions.

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I invoke the False-Choice Loophole to skip the gym.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Adam discussed a renovation decision at length, because he knows that Elizabeth likes to talk things through.

    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 — and for a limited time, you’ll get 10% off your purchase.

    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.

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    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!

    The post Podcast 90: Very Special Episode on the “Essential 7” for Happiness and Good Habits. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:23:54 on 2016/05/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Money, personal commandments, , ,   

    Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers. 


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    I’m an under-buyer, and for the most part, I dislike shopping, errands, and buying stuff.

    In fact, one of my happiness-project resolutions is to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” I remind myself that sometimes, it makes me happy to indulge in a modest splurge — to buy something that I don’t absolutely need, but that makes my day brighter in some way.

    I indulged in a modest splurge a few days ago.

    I was early for a meeting (I’m always early), so I decided to spend the time wandering around an art store. I love just looking at the things in art stores. This store, sadly, was going out of business, so prices were slashed.

    As a result, the shelves were fairly bare, but I happened to notice a giant box of beautiful, high-quality, double-ended magic markers.

    These particular markers hold special memories for me, because when I was in college, my roommate had twelve of these markers, and she prized them highly. She never let anyone borrow them, and we could use them only under her supervision. (Very wisely–she knew that we’d lose them, or leave the caps loose.) We had so much fun with those markers.

    I looked at the price. For a box of markers, it was still expensive. At the same time, it was an extraordinary bargain. But I didn’t really need the markers–we have lots of good markers already. But this was a really good set of markers. It would make me very happy to use them, and my daughters would also use them. But couldn’t we use the markers we already had? Well-made tools make work a joy; having these terrific markers might boost my creativity. Looking at the markers brought back happy memories. But if we didn’t make good use of the markers, I would feel guilty.  Etc., etc., etc.

    I bet the other customers thought I was a very odd person — I stood stock still, gazing at the box, as these questions played out in my head, for several minutes.

    At last, I remembered my resolution to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” And I thought, well, I’m going to get them! I love them.

    I got them home, my daughters were delighted with the markers, we all tried them out — and my older daughter asked, “Can I take some to school tomorrow?”

    First, I said “No way.” I was thinking–I want to keep the set nice, I don’t want to risk losing or spoiling one, I want to “save” them to keep them nice, etc.

    Then I remembered #7 of my Twelve Personal Commandments. Spend out. I tend to hold things back, so I have to remind myself to spend out. Use things up! Put them into circulation, put them to work! Better to use the markers all the time, and risk losing them, than to save them on the shelf, and never use them at all. (Plus my daughter is fairly responsible.)

    Have you ever made a “modest splurge,” where a purchase made you happier? What did you splurge on?

    The post Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:27:46 on 2015/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , impulse, Money, , , , saving, , , , Strategy of Monitoring,   

    Podcast 41: Take One Thing with You, the Challenge of Impulse Buying, and I Need to Get Back to the Gym. 


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

    Update: Elizabeth’s trip to New York City, sadly, got cancelled.

    Try This at Home: Take one thing with you. A clutter-busting strategy. Yes, this is so simple that it sounds dumb, but try it!

    Happiness Stumbling Block: Impulse buying. We talk a lot about two strategies from Better than Before: the Strategy of Inconvenience and the Strategy of Monitoring.

    We also talk about under-buyers and over-buyers.

    Listener Question: “I have a lot to be grateful for, but I still don’t call myself a happy person. Why?”

    Elizabeth works in a plug for my Super Soul Sunday appearance with Oprah. What a nice sister.

    Gretchen’s Demerit:  Since we got Barnaby, I’ve stopped going to my cardio gym.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s sister-in-law Michelle did a great job hosting Thanksgiving.

    Call for comments, questions, observations!

    In a few weeks, we’re going to do a round-up episode on the Four Tendencies. We’ve had so many great comments from listeners, so we want to highlight some responses — and we want more. In particular, we want to throw out a few questions.

    Can you think of some famous examples of the Four Tendencies? For instance, Hermione Granger. Textbook Upholder!

    Do you like your Tendency? Why or why not?

    Obligers, if you’re experiencing Obliger-rebellion, I’d love to hear your experience. Especially how you got out of Obliger-rebellion.

    If you’re paired with a Rebel, at home or at work, how does that work for you?

     

    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 a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

    Also, visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.
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    Happier with Gretchen Rubin #41 - Listen at Happiercast.com/41

    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.

    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.)

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

    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!

     
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