Budget for Happiness – The Composed Domain Newsletter September 2017

The smokey skies have cleared up and the temperatures dipped a bit this week, perfect for the last half of August. Guess that reveals my native Northwestern nature! I am writing a few weeks early and so this issue might be missing some interesting developments right before publication time, but that will also be the week I prepare to leave town for just over a month.

Those packing recommendations I like to make will be tested once again, but I just love the process. I know many people dislike packing and wish it would be done for them by elves in the night.

Which reminds me of an article that was in the Seattle Times last month (July 28th) regarding ways to get things done and end up happier along the way.

Yes, you can buy happiness — if you spend money to save time

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, the new study suggests. If you feel pressed for time, your life satisfaction can be improved by trading money for minutes that you can use as you wish.”

This is certainly true for organizing.

One reason this seems to work so well is that by spending both money and a bit of your time facing organizing tasks, you not only get more usable space which looks and feels better, you can also learn how to keep it that way. Even if maintenance is not your thing, by having a budget for this kind of expense you can create energy for things that are more fun. I pay for housekeeping help every two weeks myself and it also opens up my willingness to do tasks that would otherwise get put on the back burner.

For example, since I do not have to dust and vacuum it’s much less of a hassle to review and reduce the number of books filling my shelves. I invite you to consider where you could focus your attention if it’s possible to budget your way out of some tasks.

Another way I plan to increase both my time and happiness is a change to my editorial calendar. While producing this newsletter every month has been a labor of love and inspiration since 2008, I now find I want to spend less energy at my laptop and have more for other projects and interests.

That said, this issue is the first in my new bi-monthly schedule: Sept, Nov, Jan, March, May, and July.

Another happiness inducing trick that I have been testing was announced on my various Facebook pages a few weeks ago. After writing about going on an information diet I was inspired to try one of Chris Bailey’s other recommendations:

Consume more actively and reduce the noise.

So I removed Facebook from my smart-phone.

Wow, what can I say? It has been quite interesting and it’s not getting re-installed. My goal was to return my phone to the role of managing tasks and saving me time, rather than letting it be a way to kill the precious time I saved. Now when I am on hold, waiting or otherwise free, I actually relax for a few minutes. I look out the window, read my ever-present book, or just stare blankly.

The “just relax” bit has been truly wonderful. I should know as a meditator that I don’t really need to stuff more information into my head, and it’s been a revelation to recognize that Facebook is exactly that – head stuffing.

Before the “yes, but’s” start I will own that I do still go look at it, but now I use my laptop or tablet and I go there on purpose to see what my kids might be up to, or if there are any really hilarious animal videos.  Or perhaps there’s an especially dark political cartoon to enjoy. (Did you see the one with so-called world leaders swapping hair?) And Facebook is certainly an easy way to keep up on sending birthday wishes. The key seems to be utility rather than escape.

By writing this early for September publication I hope I won’t suffer from FOMO, (unlikely) but am instead leaving time for the joy of packing.

I’ll be back for the November issue with some fresh space, time and life enhancing tips.