Ah, happiness – the ever elusive thing we’re all ultimately seeking out. We’re all looking for it, but many of us don’t quite know how to find it – or how to keep it around.

 

That’s where Gretchen Rubin comes in. She’s studied happiness for years and is now one of the most influential observers of happiness and human nature today. She’s well known for her ability to make complex ideas easy to understand with wit and clarity,  so that we can all understand how to simply live happier.

 

Gretchen is a writer who studies happiness, habits, and human nature. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home. She has a huge following and boasts an enormous readership, and her books have sold three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. She also hosts an award-winning podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, all about how to be…happier of course! Together with her sister Elizabeth Craft, she gives her listeners insight into building good habits and creating happiness.

 

Since productivity makes a big difference in our happiness here at SaneBox, we sat down with Gretchen to get her tips on how to work better.

 

Read on:

 

What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?

 

I get up at 6:00 am, walk my dog, grab coffee, work on my email and social media until 7:30, then walk my daughter to school.

 

What’s your number one productivity tip?

 

At my desk, I have three monitors. I was worried that three screens would make me feel scattered and distracted, but this set-up is an enormous time-saver.

 

What’s your number 1 email tip?

 

In a chain of emails, if the subject under discussion wanders away from the subject line, update the subject line. Nothing’s more annoying than finding travel plans for October 25 in an email marked “Travel for October 12.”

 

 

What’s the worst advice you hear often?

 

I often hear people say that “This is the BEST way” or “This is the RIGHT way” to do something. What I’ve learned is that there are no magic, one-size-fits-all solutions to happiness, productivity, creativity, and health. We all must do what’s right for us. People differ tremendously from each other.

 

What book has changed your life and why?

 

So many! Where do I start? The book A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander changed the way I see the world. The book Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes revolutionized the way I eat. The book Cod by Mark Kurlansky changed the way I saw the possibilities of non-fiction. Orwell’s essays and Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary changed the way I view language.

 

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?

 

Marrying my husband.

 

Follow Gretchen on Twitter.