When a Little Investment Creates Happiness & Ease!

a modest splurge in a pen = a little happiness

Years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project and I will never forget the chapter on buying some happiness.  It was a revelation to hear her offer permission to indulge in modest splurges to create more happiness.

I typically subscribe to a “less is more” philosophy, so I paid extra attention reading this chapter. I wanted to see what indulging like this meant.

Since Gretchen is a writer, one of her examples was to buy a good pen.  Instead of using just any old pen, spend a little money and purchase one that makes the work of writing more pleasurable.  This was something I could relate to.  I journal daily and at that time I had been using pens that I had collected over the years from businesses or events. If I was really in need, I would buy a bag of cheap pens even though I knew I wouldn’t like how they felt when I used them.

But Gretchen’s simple examples of how small investments in things that bring happiness stuck with me and I began to recognize the areas and times when I was frustrated and “making due” rather than intentionally purchasing something that would solve the problem and bring more happiness without breaking the bank.

I decided to follow her example and stop taking free pens (whenever possible) and invest $3.50 in a pen that could be refilled and not just thrown away when the ink ran out. I made a trip to Sketchy Artist, a local shop, tried out the pens (an essential step!), found one that felt right, and since then every time I use the pen it reminds me of how I am taking care of myself.

If pens aren’t your thing and you couldn’t care less about how they feel or work, then maybe this example is more relatable to you.

This past spring I committed to writing more creatively each week, but soon realized that if I was going to make that goal into a reality then I was going to have to set myself up for success.  I would need to “indulge in a modest splurge” to set up a writing station with everything needed to set the stage and ensure I could sit down and make writing actually happen. 

my office already set up in the basement

I have two small tables in my house that are my work desks. The one in the basement is where I do my business work and the desk on the main level is for home management -paying bills, updating the calendar, and journaling. My work desk in the basement is already set up for ease. All I need to do is set my laptop down and I am good to go. But the table upstairs has been intentionally sparse since it is located in a corner of our living room.

I knew that I would need to add a few items to the desk to make sure I could sit for extended periods of time without hurting my neck & back as I hunched over, typing on my little laptop keyboard. And I have a few routines that I use as triggers when it is time to work. I turn on instrumental music & light a candle, and then my body and brain recognize that I have shifted gears – it becomes easier to get started.

the upstairs desk after my modest splurges

These simple steps help to create intention around writing time, so I wanted to be sure I could replicate that feeling at the upstairs desk. I indulged in a modest splurge by purchased another keyboard and mouse, bought a new candle, and a metal shelf organizer that could hold my laptop.

“make executing the right things-the essential things-as easy and frictionless as possible.”

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism

These purchases were a little heftier than a $3 pen but I know they are worth it. They definitely decrease the barriers to sitting down and making creative writing happen and that is a big win in my book!

Your Turn…

Do you need to invest in a modest splurge to increase your happiness or make an area of your life run with more ease?

Give yourself permission to make a small intentional purchase & notice how that your attitude or energy shifts once you start to use or enjoy that item.

Next Steps…

In this season of buy, buy, buy, it is hard not to get caught up in bringing more into our homes just because it is available. When you take time before you shop to get clear on what you need, want, and why, then it is easier to resist the extras.

Just like building a muscle, this takes practice, but you can do it! One decision at a time.

Need support to set up a space for greater function and ease OR are you ready for a Virtual Clarity Session to talk through the decisions that you’d like permission to make? Contact me today!

Do you always seem to buy more than you had planned?

The ads and emails are in full force this time of year!  Trying to entice you with sales and steals that might seem just too good to pass up or convince you that the more you buy, the better.

It can be hard to resist!

I’ve been there.

Scanning the ads for the newest items and trends. Walking the aisles in a daze. Getting distracted by sale signs or beautifully crafted displays. Buying things just so I had something to wrap. Making a purchase to relieve the fear that I would miss out a deal that wouldn’t come around again.

I would end up with more than I had hoped to buy and a sinking feeling that the items I settled on weren’t really what I wanted in the first place. It didn’t feel good.

So if you can relate but are longing for a different way or you are hoping get to through the month without that sinking feeling that you bought WAY more than you had planned, then here is one word to insert before you head out shopping.

Intention

Adding just a little more intention to your shopping experience can put you in the driver seat of the experience. Intention allows you to feel and be more proactive and less reactive to the marketing and pressure of the season.

You might say, that sounds good… intention is a nice word, but what does that look like in real life? 

It looks like –

  • deciding on a budget or the amount you want to spend before you head out to the store
  • shopping with a list
  • avoiding the dollar section unless you are looking for something specific
  • shopping when you have energy & noticing when you start mindlessly wandering aisles (that’s the cue to wrap it up & come back later)
  • creating a list of ideas first & then hunting for those items in the ads vs. letting the ads dictate what you buy
  • knowing WHY you are making a purchase
  • putting an item in your online shopping cart, but pausing or walking away for a little bit to check in with yourself – ask if the purchase is needed/wanted OR are you motivated by the fear of missing out on the deal?

It can be hard to resist the frenzy of buying at this time of year, so it’s understandable if you often come away with more than you had planned, but each baby step you take toward shopping with more intention can provide the shield you need to keep your cart from piling up with extra stuff.

Intention creates a little boundary of protection against the pressure of more, more, more.

Are there certain stores or ads that always suck you in & increase the chance of buying more than you had planned?

If you are hoping to simplify this year or get to the end of the holiday season feeling better about the amount you purchased, try taking one small intentional step the next time you shop.

Next Steps…

Feeling overwhelmed? Already have too much stuff in your spaces & dread the thought of bringing in more with the holidays? Tell me about it in the form below.

Let’s set up an appointment, develop a customized plan and create a space you feel proud to come home to!

Do You Need a Permission Slip?

The word PERMISSION keeps popping up all around me.  I hear it on podcasts, in conversations with friends, and when working with clients. 

It seems there is a longing for someone outside of ourselves to grant us permission to say, be, or do something that might feel scary or go-against-the-grain.

You may want – 

Permission to let go of the gift a friend gave you ten years ago that has never been used.  

Permission to say no to the request to be on another committee.

Permission to take 15 minutes to read a book or close your eyes during the day. 

Permission to say no to hosting book club or Thanksgiving.

In Braving the Wilderness, Brene´ Brown talks about writing herself permission slips to feel how she wants to feel and be who she wants to be.  She started this practice after feeling nervous and second-guessing herself.  Instead of looking outside of herself for permission, she grabbed a sticky-note and wrote down words that would allow her to enter her day in the way that felt right.

This is something I keep working at.  Tuning in to the times when I am holding myself back because I want someone else to tell me it is okay.  Noticing is the first step.  The next is to let go of that hesitation and offer yourself the permission to do, or be, or say what you want.

Want more ideas on how you can offer yourself permission to let go of something FOR NOW.  Check out this post and see if those two words lift some of the pressure of letting go.

Need Permission to Let Go?

I hope you can offer yourself a permission slip to enjoy everything that you love about this upcoming holiday season.

Are you a REBEL & it’s getting in the way of being organized or productive?

Have you had the desire to “be more organized” but something inside pushes back against this idea? 

Do you go back and forth between beating yourself up about the state of your space and wondering “what is the point?” 

Are you able to start something new & stick with it when it feels important to your identity & how you represent yourself, but have a hard time following through if you don’t really believe in what you are doing?

Maybe you are a REBEL and you need to start OWNing it!

Here’s what I mean.

I work with all different clients and I wish I could say that I offer a one-size-fits-all approach, but it just doesn’t work that way. There is no “right way” when it comes to decluttering, organizing, or being productive because we each bring our unique experiences, personalities, quirks, and tendencies to everything that we do!

Which is why it is so important to get in touch with what makes us “tick” so that we can stop pushing, struggling, and hitting road blocks, and instead start tapping into strategies that allow us to shine.

Finding out what motivates you & allows you to “buy into” what you are doing is important!  And this is especially true for someone that longs to create systems & spaces that function with ease.  

So what does being a Rebel have to do with this?

Gretchen Rubin, a best-selling author, researcher, & the creator of the Four Tendency framework has studied habit formation & determined that people fall into 4 different groups based on how they are motivated. Her 4 Tendency framework explains that adopting new habits may be easier for some people than for others.

You can take her free quiz here and find out if you are an Obliger, Upholder, Rebel, or Questioner.

Your tendency offers insight into how inner & outer expectations affect your ability to form new habits. And habits often play a role in keeping spaces tidy.

What if you are a Rebel?

Gretchen says, “Rebels resist all expectations, both inner and outer alike. They want to do what they want to do, in their own way, in their own time — and if you ask or tell them to do something, they’re very likely to resist.”

The Rebel’s natural tendency is to push back against many of the methods that often work to get and stay organized. Consistency, scheduling, accountability, or rewards typically aren’t going to work for Rebels, which means that if you are a Rebel then you think outside-the-box and that can be exciting!

It’s time to embrace your unique tendency and work with your resistance. Let go of the notion that you are doing anything wrong when you aren’t able to get yourself to start or follow-through. Instead when you feel the desire to clear clutter, create new systems, or develop a new habit, consider these ideas.

Identity

Do it because it enhances who you believe you are. When you are able to link your actions to your identity then you are more likely to be motivated.

Challenge

Your natural instinct is to push back against outer expectations, so use that to your advantage and make it a challenge. If you have been hearing a voice that told you that you’d never (fill in the blank), then prove that voice wrong by doing it.

Feeling

Gretchen says, “instead of keeping a to-do list, keep a “could do” list.” Tap into that desire to have choice & freedom by waking up each day and asking what you feel like doing today.

Clarity

Rebels are more likely to do things when they are clear on what they want & why they want it. Taking time before you start anything new to get clear on the reasons behind your actions will create greater likelihood of follow-through on the things you decide are important & worth your time.

Remember, you are a Rebel. Decide for yourself what feels right for YOU!

Take it or leave the tips, but the one thing that I hope will resonate is that you can take pride in the fact that you are going to find the way to declutter & build habits that works for YOU.  Not because someone says you should or you think you had better.

Are you a Rebel? Need support to start making these shifts & honoring your tendency? Fill out the form below & we will find a way to get started.

I’m here to help you shed the old patterns & worn out ways of thinking so you can create the spaces & systems that work for YOU!

End-of-the-Year School Papers & Artwork Got You Overwhelmed?

Lots of school “stuff” collects & comes in at the end of the school year. Programs from concerts & events, end-of-year assessments, art, the list goes on…

Here’s a tip to try – Pare down the duplicates, scratch papers, & practice pages as soon as you can & then collect the rest in one place. In late August, as you are preparing to start off the next year, take a minute to remember & wrap up the last one.

You can ask your child to find their “best work” & the items that they want to keep because they hold good memories. Then find a way to store these favorites – it may be a in file box with a folder for each year, in a binder, or in an art portfolio.

Offering a little time & space between when the work was created & the decisions, can make the letting go easier.

If you want a more info. on this process, you can check out AUGUST IS A GREAT TIME TO DEAL WITH KID ART, HERE’S WHY!

And I’d love to hear if this tip offers a little relief or if you have a system that works well for you!