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  • feedwordpress 16:00:01 on 2022/07/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , Bookends, , obliger, Zibby Owens   

    Zibby Owens: “Books Change My Life Every Day.” 

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    Interview: Zibby Owens

    Zibby Owens is the founder of Zibby Owens Media, which, among other things, includes a new publishing house for fiction and memoir. She's also the host of the award-winning podcast, Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books, and a regular columnist for Good Morning America. And if all that's not enough, she's also an editor and author—her new memoir, Bookends: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Literature (Amazon, Bookshop), just hit the shelves this week.

    I've known Zibby for many years. We first got to know each other through our deep love of reading and libraries.

    I couldn't wait to talk to Zibby about happiness, habits, and, of course, books.

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

    Zibby: A habit that makes me more productive is active email management. Once a day, I stop replying to incoming messages and attack the backlog. (Okay, fine, maybe once a week.) When I do that, I dedicate at least two hours to it and sort the emails alphabetically rather than by date received. That way, I can go through one person’s emails at a time, delete unnecessary emails, and then really dig into the rest. I note the starting amount when I get discouraged about how many I have left, I start working my way up from the Z’s. Then I’ll flip back to working down from the A’s. If I don’t do this after two weeks max or when I get to 500 emails, I basically freak out.

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

    That I could be profoundly happy at my current weight. I think that would have horrified me then.

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

    I’ve started eating a protein and veggie shake for breakfast every morning instead of my kids' leftover pancakes. It sets the day on a better path. (I love the chocolate flavor from Ka’Chava, a sponsor of my podcast that I have grown obsessed with.) I did it a few times in a row and realized it really did make me feel better. Now I miss it on the days I’m traveling or have run out.

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

    Obliger. 100%. After doing a recent event with Gretchen, I realized that each one of my four kids is a different temperament. It’s actually changed the way I parent in such a positive way!

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits or your happiness?

    My compulsion to manage my emails and not get behind on work. (See #1 above.) It throws a huge wrench in my determination to move more.

    Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful?

    Don’t miss the plot. An old therapist told me that and it helps me every day.

    Has a book ever changed your life – if so, which one and why?

    Books change my life every day. I do 365 podcasts a year, each one with a different author. I’ve learned such an enormous amount it’s crazy. I’m like in the school of life.

    In your field, is there a common misconception that you’d like to correct?

    I’m in a lot of fields: podcasting, publishing, book-fluencing (is that a thing?!), parenting, being an author. A misconception is that you have to pick just one field!

  • feedwordpress 17:52:53 on 2018/03/15 Permalink
    Tags: anna palmer, , obliger, politico   

    “A Good Nap Can Change a Person’s Whole Perspective.” 

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    Interview: Anna Palmer.

    Anna Palmer is the senior Washington correspondent for POLITICO and the co-author of POLITICO's Playbook She’s also the co-host of the daily POLITICO morning podcast Playbook Audio Briefing (which she records at 4 a.m. every morning!) as well as host of the Women Rule podcast.

    I couldn’t wait to talk to Anna about happiness, habits, and productivity.

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

    Anna: WATER. I challenge myself to drink 90 oz of water a day – I really believe it bleeds into making similar healthy choices and keeps me peppy despite my early mornings and late nights!

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

    Anna: FOMO. I used to have a huge fear of missing out and that would mean I was going to all kinds of things on the off chance it would be something special and run myself ragged in doing so. I try to be much more deliberate and be present at the events I choose to attend.

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

    Anna: Sleep. I always want more but it's hard when we are all on the go. I got great advice a few years ago -- and that was to be comfortable taking a nap. A good nap can change a person's whole perspective.

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

    Anna: Regular workouts are a must to keep me sane -- it's easy to blame my schedule for my energy levels, but I know that a session with my trainer Keith will always turn things around. He's also refocused my energy from just doing cardio to really spending time with weights, squats and ab work. I love band workouts -- we are focusing on walking lunges and eliminating sugar (except my wine, a lady needs one outlet!).

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

    Anna: I used to love to stay up late. My hours made that impossible and I have found early to bed, early to rise is a much healthier, consistent way of living my life.

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

    Anna: Definitely an Upholder. I like to know what the expectations are from others and myself and then not only meet, but exceed them.

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

    Anna: I travel a lot for work and keep unconventional hours -- waking up between 3:30 AM and 4 AM Monday through Friday to write Playbook and record the Playbook Audio Briefing. At the same time, I am really focused on keeping up my close relationship with my friends and family. That can be challenging when traveling to the West Coast and getting up at 1 a.m. to do my job.

    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.?

    Anna: I made a promise to myself in my early 30s that I would try to travel abroad at least twice a year. I hadn't done much international travel at that time (mostly because I was working and a struggling journalist). It hit me that I needed to work hard, but also play hard -- and I have traveled the world, explored new cultures and come back reinvigorated in my career.

    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?

    Anna: There is no substitute for excellence. My mom Joyce -- or JMom as she calls herself -- repeated that a lot to us as kids. And I have even heard her say it as an adult. Without that internal north star, I wouldn't be writing my first book and still dragging myself to the treadmill in the mornings!

  • gretchenrubin 17:02:25 on 2017/05/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , obliger,   

    Struggling to Get Something Done? Set Up Outer Accountability (Especially if You’re an Obliger!) 

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    Have I mentioned that I’ve created a personality framework called the “Four Tendencies?” Oh right, I think I have.

    Well, if you don’t know about this framework, which divides all of humanity into four categories — Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebelyou can read an explanation and to take the quiz to find out your Tendency here.

    Of the Four Tendencies, “Obliger” is the largest Tendency, the one that the most people belong to, for both men and women. And the defining fact about Obligers is that they readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectation. For instance, they wouldn’t miss a work deadline, but they’d find it hard to find time to exercise on their own.

    The key point for Obligers: To meet inner expectations, Obligers must create outer accountability—and it must be the right kind of accountability.

    1pixWhile people of other Tendencies may benefit from the Strategy of Accountability, Obligers require it. They need tools such as supervision, late fees, deadlines, monitoring, and consequences enforced from the outside. For Obligers, this is the crucial element.

    Also, Obligers must pick the right kind of accountability for them. Obligers also vary dramatically in what makes them feel accountable.

    For some Obligers, an auto-generated email or  buzzing FitBit might be enough; some Obligers feel accountable only to an actual person.

    I was surprised to find that for many Obligers, the prospect of wasting money doesn’t bring a sense of accountability. An Obliger friend told me, “I’ve always wanted to try yoga, finally, I actually signed up—and I went one time. It was the $300 yoga class.” Maybe money doesn’t provide accountability because it’s their own money; if they’re wasting someone else’s money, they might feel accountable.

    So if you’re an Obliger, and you want to create accountability, here are some options to consider:

    Accountability partner

    Obligers can team up with an accountability partner: a classmate, trainer, personal organizer, coach, health-care worker teacher, family member, or friend.

    Unfortunately, informal accountability partners can sometimes be unreliable. If that partner loses interest, gets distracted, or doesn’t want to play the enforcer, the Obliger stalls out.

    Because it can be tough to find a reliable accountability partner among friends and family, Obligers may do better with a professional. For instance, coaches—career coaches, health coaches, life coaches—can provide the crucial accountability by setting concrete goals, establishing deadlines, and looking over their clients’ shoulders.

    Accountability groups

    People who don’t want to pay for a professional, or rely on a single accountability partner, can join or start an accountability group.

    As Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, law-school study groups, and Happiness Project groups demonstrate, we give and get accountability, as well as energy and ideas, from meeting with like-directed people.

    I created the free Better app for people to exchange ideas and tips about the Four Tendencies, and Better app also makes it super-easy to form accountability groups of all kinds.

    Having a client, customer, or student

    Clients, customers, and students impose accountability by the very nature of the relationship. An Obliger told me, “I’d been putting off creating an online training course to accompany my podcast on self-publishing. So in my latest episode, I offered a free copy of the training course to the first 25 listeners who sign up. Because people have signed up, I actually have to create the course.”

    Similarly, many Obligers mention using getting a paid or volunteer job as an accountability strategy. Want to exercise? Teach Zumba.

    Duty to others

    Obligers often do things for others that they can’t do for themselves, so an Obliger may be able to meet an aim by thinking of its benefit to other people, instead of its personal value. An Obliger wrote, “I’m Controller of a company, and to create accountability, I tie my personal commitments to my commitment to work: if I get enough sleep, I work better; if I exercise, I have more energy, plus I spend less time and money going to the chiropractor.”

    Many Obligers struggle to say “no,” even when they’re feeling very burdened by expectations. To overcome this reluctance, Obligers can remind themselves that saying “no” to one person allows them to say “yes” to someone else. A highly regarded professor told me that he accepted too many speaking engagements, until one day he thought, “By turning down the keynote talk, I’ll give someone else the chance to speak.” That thought allowed him to decline some speaking requests.

    Some Obligers feel a duty to their future selves. “I need to do this for future-me.”

    Role model

    Many Obligers can meet an expectation if it’s tied to their duty to be a good role model, which is a form of outer expectation. “If I stay at my desk until 9 p.m., I set a bad example for my staff.”

    Other ingenious solutions:

    “I heard myself say, ‘This summer, I’m going to get my finances in order.’ As the words left my mouth, I knew they weren’t true. So I made an appointment with my expensive accountant. I had to get my finances organized to have the meeting with him and not have it cost a fortune.

    My Questioner husband came up with this idea to help me fight my sugar addiction: any dessert that I eat, he has to eat double.”

    “When I want to finish some writing, I tell someone else that I’ll send it to them for review by a certain date, and I also set up meetings to present ideas, which forces me to get them down on paper.”

    “I wanted to stick to a budget, but also wanted to keep my finances private. So how to create outer accountability? I told my family, ‘I’m saving so we can finally make that beach trip.’ They’re so excited, I can’t let them down.”

    “My sister-in-law and I both made a list of some healthy habits we want to cultivate, with a three-month time limit. If we both stick with the plan, we’ll earn a spa day. The catch is that, since we’re Obligers, we earn the spa day for each other.  If I don’t follow through, she won’t get her spa day—and vice versa. We would let ourselves down, but we would never let each other down.”

    “I wanted to get up earlier, but I live alone. So I created an embarrassing Facebook post, and used Hootsuite to set it to post every morning at 8:00 a.m., unless I get up ahead of time to disable it.”

    “I have many suggestions to help my Obliger music students practice consistently: join a band or an orchestra (especially effective if the student has a special role, such as the bass clarinet in a quartet); become a mentor for a younger musician; organize practice sessions in pairs, where a failure to show up will hurt a fellow student; or make a pact with a loved one that that person can’t do some desirable activity unless the Obliger has practiced.”

    Whenever an Obliger struggles to get something done, the solution is always the same: external accountability. It’s just a question of figuring out what form it’s going to take.

    I can’t emphasize this enough. For Obligers, it’ s not a matter of motivation, or putting yourself first, or balance, or self-esteem, boundaries, or priorities. Plug in outer accountability, and you will be able to meet inner expectations. (Unless you fall into Obliger-rebellion, which is a story for another day and a big chapter in The Four Tendencies.)

    If you want to learn more about the Four Tendencies, you can sign up for the free Better app and join the fascinating conversations there.

    My book The Four Tendencies goes into much greater depth on these issues. It will hit the shelves in September, and you can pre-order it now. (If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it now; pre-orders matter a lot for building support for a book among booksellers, the media, and other readers.)

    I have to say, one of the most fun aspects of working on The Four Tendencies was hearing all the ingenious, imaginative strategies that Obligers have devised.

    Have you used or seen any other helpful accountability strategies?

    The post Struggling to Get Something Done? Set Up Outer Accountability (Especially if You’re an Obliger!) appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

  • gretchenrubin 23:05:27 on 2017/04/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , , obliger, , Rex Tillerson, , ,   

    Obliger-Spotting in the News? Rex Tillerson on Becoming Secretary of State. 

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    As I may have mentioned, I’m obsessed with my Four Tendencies framework, in which I divide all of humanity into four types: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. (Don’t know your Tendency? Take the short quiz here.)

    As I go through my days, I’m always searching for greater understanding of the Four Tendencies; I search for patterns and insight. Am I right that Rebel children are often especially close to their grandparents? Do many Questioners love to share links and articles?

    I also constantly search for examples of the Four Tendencies in real life and in memoirs, movies, novels, and TV shows.

    It’s crucial to remember that we can’t determine a person’s Tendency from the outside — we need to know why a person talks or behaves a certain way.

    But at the same time, it’s true that sometimes people do say things that seem to be a powerful indication of Tendency. I was struck by this fact when I read about an interview with Rex Tillerson.

    Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, was named by President Trump to be Secretary of State.

    In an interview about his new position, Secretary Tillerson said, “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job.”

    He explained that his wife “told me I’m supposed to do this.” She also told him, “God’s not through with you.”

    Secretary Tillerson added, “I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to the ranch to be with my grandkids.”

    “My wife convinced me…She was right. I’m supposed to do this.”

    To me, this sounds like an Obliger. The expectation is coming from the outside. What do you think?

    Of course, because Obliger is the largest Tendency, it’s also likely that Tillerson is an Obliger because that’s the Tendency a person is most likely to belong to.

    From these comments, Secretary Tillerson doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic about this responsibility. Obligers have told me, however, that they’ve had the experience of starting a position because they felt obliged by an outer expectation, and then finding a real passion for that position. Sometimes passion follows, rather than leads, as we grapple with a new expectation.

    What’s your view?

    (Note: These days, any mention of politics can bring out people’s combative sides. Please keep the conversation civil and about the TENDENCIES.)

    My book The Four Tendencies will hit the shelves in September. If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it now. Pre-orders are extremely important for building buzz and support for a book among booksellers, the media, and the publisher.

    The post Obliger-Spotting in the News? Rex Tillerson on Becoming Secretary of State. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

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