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  • feedwordpress 09:00:26 on 2018/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Strategy of First Steps   

    Do You Undertake “Spring Cleaning?” 


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    March 20 is the first day of spring. We’ve all heard the phrase "spring cleaning," but I wonder how many people actually do it. I sure don’t — but I think it’s an intriguing idea.

    I’m a big fan for using dates as milestones, as prompts for self-reflection or for action. People say Mother’s Day is a Hallmark-driven, consumerist holiday – but still, it’s nice to remember to call your mother. Ditto with Valentine’s Day – it may be annoying to feel like you’re being pushed to buy, decorate, and celebrate – but still, it’s nice to take a moment to celebrate the people you love. Making New Year’s resolutions on January 1st may be arbitrary, but the discussion around that date helps us remember to think, "How might I make the new year better than last year?"

    And the first day of spring and the idea of "spring cleaning" can act as a catalyst for cleaning and clearing.

    The challenge of clearing clutter is one of my favorite sub-topics within the larger subject of happiness. For some reason, I find it utterly absorbing. It’s interesting – researchers aren’t very interested in exploring the connection between happiness and clutter, but in popular culture, it’s a huge subject of discussion.

    I’ve found that for most people – and certainly for me – outer order contributes to inner calm. We’d all agree that in the context of a happy life, something like a crowded closet or an overflowing in-basket is a trivial issue, yet most people find that when they clear clutter, they feel happier, more energetic, and more creative.

    Do you find that getting control of the stuff in your life -- making your bed, hanging up your coat, clearing off your desk, cleaning out the fridge -- makes you feel more in control of your life, generally? It may be an illusion, but it’s a helpful illusion.

    In Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I write about the "Strategy of First Steps." At least in my part of the world, spring feels like the right time to begin to tackle clutter-clearing, because as nature becomes renewed, fresh, and energized, we want our homes, offices, and cars to feel recharged as well. The outer world is bursting with growth, and it’s a good time to create more space for our own growth in our surroundings.

    "Oh! Old rubbish! Old letters, old clothes, old objects that one does not want to throw away. How well nature has understood that, every year, she must change her leaves, her flowers, her fruit and her vegetables, and make manure out of the mementoes of her year!" –The Journal of Jules Renard (a wonderful book by the way)

    For a while now, just for fun, I’ve been working on a short book called Outer Order, Inner Calm – and I’m excited to announce that it’s coming out March 2019. Just in time for spring-cleaning. If you want to hear more about the book, its publication date, get bonus tips, and so on, sign up for my monthly newsletter.

    If you’d like to read more about creating outer order, these posts provide tips, ideas, and strategies for clutter-busting.

    Of course, there’s no bad time to clear clutter. Once you’re ready to begin, now is always the best time. But when we need a reminder, the first day of spring is as good as any.

    Do you plan to do any spring cleaning? Of what?

     
  • feedwordpress 20:08:52 on 2016/03/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Strategy of First Steps,   

    Daylight Saving Time! How to Survive the Loss of an Hour of Sleep. 


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    day light savings time tips

    There’s a very helpful Daylight Saving Time mnemonic: “spring forward, fall back.”

    This Sunday, we “spring forward” and turn our clocks ahead one hour — which means losing an hour of sleep. And for many of us, each hour of sleep is precious.

    So what can you do to offset that loss? My book Better Than Before has lots of ideas about forming habits — including habits related to sleep.

    1. Use the Strategy of First Steps.

    There’s a magic to starting, to taking that first step. Often, it helps to have some kind of external prompt, or a cultural milestone, to remind us to take a first step. Like a New Year’s resolution, a cue like Daylight Saving Time makes a good time to start a new sleep habit.  You could start new better sleep habits at any time, of course, but Daylight Saving Time is a good prompt. For instance…

    2. Give yourself a bedtime.

    Many adults don’t have an official bedtime; they just go to bed when they feel “tired.” But it’s so easy to keep ourselves jacked up on sugar, caffeine, office email, or binge-watching TV, so we don’t feel tired, even though we belong in bed. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep. Do the math and give yourself an official bedtime. That way, you know, “Well, it’s 11:00 p.m., I’m up thirty minutes past my bedtime.” It helps.

    3. Consider setting an alarm to mark your bedtime.

    You probably set an alarm to help you to wake up; so set an alarm to help you go to bed. Often, we just need a reminder that “Oh, yeah, it’s about time for me to turn off the light.” You might even want to set a true “snooze” alarm, a fifteen-minute alarm that reminds you that it’s almost bedtime. We often give children warnings that bedtime is approaching, but grown-ups also need transitions.

    4. Consider getting ready for bed well before your bedtime.

    This really helps me. I realized that often, I was so tired that I couldn’t face changing my clothes, brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc., so I just kept staying up. Not exactly a rational response. Now I try to get ready for bed well before I intend to get in bed. Huge bonus:  brushing my teeth really helps me to quit night-snacking. I’d heard this advice before, but it seemed too easy to be effective. To my astonishment, it works really well.

    5. Sleep really matters.

    Sleep affects mood, memory, immune function, self-control — lack of sleep even contributes to weight gain. In fact, sleep is so important that in Better Than Before, sleep is part of the Strategy of Foundation, along with exercise, eat and drink right, and unclutter. Good sleep is at the foundation of good habits.

    How about you? Have you found some strategies to cope with the loss of that hour of sleep — and to help yourself get more sleep, generally?

    The post Daylight Saving Time! How to Survive the Loss of an Hour of Sleep. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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