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3 Productivity Lessons From Gretchen Rubin of 'The Happiness Project'

It's hard to be happy if you're always playing catch-up, so it's no surprise that Gretchen Rubin, whose last book "The Happiness Project" became a New York Times bestseller, is choosing to focus on how we make and break habits for her next book. After all, what is productivity, but the habit of getting stuff done?

pen and paper 

(Photo Credit: dbbent/Flickr)

Tessa Miller of Lifehacker recently spoke with Rubin to learn how a happiness and good-habits guru makes things work. Here are a few of the lessons we can take away from their conversation.

1. Embrace technology, but only if it works for you.

Rubin loves apps like Hopstop and software like Scrivener, and has an iPhone and a Jawbone UP band, but she still uses a Filofax to manage her contacts and a pen and paper to compose her to-do list. The lesson? Use what works, whether it was invented yesterday or a thousand years ago.

2. Know yourself.

When asked if she's an introvert or an extrovert, Rubin says:

"I'm a bit of both. The expert on introversion herself, Susan Cain -- author of the brilliant book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking -- told me that she thought I was an ambivert. I think that's right. I get energy from engaging with others, and I enjoy large social gatherings, for instance, but I also love to spend most of my days alone with my own thoughts."

She also cops to not listening to music much, especially while she's working, which isn't a common admission among writer types. (To some people, that's like saying you don't like chocolate or napping.)

3. Eliminate the unnecessary.

Rubin started leaving off greetings and farewells when she sent emails, and shaved several minutes off her day that way. Sometimes, it really is the little things that count.

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