Happiness Seeker Gretchen Rubin is a List Maker

Have you ever wished you were happier? I think a lot of people think about this but do nothing about it. Author Gretchen Rubin did something about it and spent a year focusing on ways to be happier. The result is a fabulous read called The Happiness Project. If you haven’t read it — you must. It’s funny, cute, insightful and thought provoking. She also has a blog by the same name.

It has changed the way I think about a lot of things and it has even altered my morning commute. Instead of stuffing myself onto the packed L train — I opt to walk to Union Square through a lovely park. I get a little exercise and I get some time all to myself.  Happiness found!

As you’ll read in the book — Gretchen is a list maker.  I’ve asked her to share some of her list-making secrets as my featured “List Producer” this month.

Q: Why do you call yourself a compulsive list maker?

A: Because I get such a thrill just from making a list.

Q: What do you make lists about?


  1. Books to read.
  2. Errands to run.
  3. Sites to check out.
  4. Logistical problems to work out with my husband.
  5. Perfumes to try (I recently became obsessed with the sense of smell).
  6. Most often — work-related tasks to tackle.

Q: How often do you make lists?

A: Constantly.

Q: What type of list do you make the most?

A: Work-related tasks and reminders.

Q: How do you make lists?

A: Handwritten.

Q: How have you found lists help you succeed?

A: They help me manage my priorities, make the most of my time, free my mind from the burden of keeping track of what I need to do or remember, and give me a feeling of success when I manage to cross something off the list.

Q: Specifically what was the last thing you wrote a list about?

A: A list of points I needed to make in a work-related email.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, www.happiness-project.com, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness.

7 replies
  1. Laura DeAngelis
    Laura DeAngelis says:

    This is great and inspiration to keep cluttering my desk and dresser at home with my handwritten task lists. There truly is something very rewarding about crossing things off, even when it’s things I like to do like “go to Club Strength” or “”do some cardio.” Thanks for also introducing me to the Happiness Project which I will be checking up on regularly.

    • List Producer
      List Producer says:

      The Happiness Project will literally change the way you think about life. It’s the little things that matter and knowing that you can make all the difference in your life. It’s really inspiring! Thanks for reading Laura!


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