How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Doing Everything, Being Happy – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 1)

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Last week, thanks to facebook showing a reader one of my old WTFHIBD posts as part of her ‘memories’, I got an email suggesting that it was “high time” I updated everyone with what I’ve been getting up to!

Well I couldn’t really argue with that, could I?

So over the next few days I’ll be answering that age old question ‘What The Flippin’ ‘eck Have I Been Doing’ …only I’ll be doing it in three parts, because there’s quite a lot to cover.

So today we’re going to talk about Boxing Day…

Boxing Day

It was June 2016 when I last updated you on my life. June! 2016! Where does the time go?

In that last post I confessed that my regular Boxing Days (click or tap here if you think I’m talking about December 26th, because I’m not) had fallen by the wayside – with disastrous consequences. You can read about that here.

But sixteen months on and I’m happy to report that not only am I having a regular Boxing Day, but most weekends are also spent doing fun things – be that be planned, or spontaneous.

As a consequence last year was the first time ever that I ran out of space on my Trophy Board, and had to add an extension! See here (or tap the Trophy Board pic to the right).

This year I had to add the extension even earlier, and there’s only a tiny bit left in the corner for the last three months of the year.

At this rate I might have to start clearing down the board every six months!

But the most important thing is not how many ticket stubs I’m collecting, how many theatre programmes, or how many restaurant cards, but how much happier I feel. And I can honestly say that whilst my mood might fall and climb during the course of a typical week, the general trend is ever upwards compared to this time last year… and many, many previous years.

But less about me.

How have your Boxing Days been going? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

Come Back Next Week…

…When I’ll be telling you about my Now List. Until then…


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Trophy Board 2016

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Phew! Done it! I finally got around to clearing down my Trophy Board. Why finally? Because, for the first time in two decades, my A2 board wasn’t enough to hold all my ‘trophies’, and so back in October or November I added an A3 extension! To put it another way, whilst 2016 wasn’t the best year for a lot of folks, for me it was my busiest, ‘funnest’ (if that’s a word), year – EVER!

If you’re not really sure what a Trophy Board is, take a look at this earlier post (and extract from How To Do Everything And Be Happy) by clicking here.

Of course, a pin board isn’t the only way to capture memories. How about a Memory Box?memory-box

This one is available on Etsy here

 

Have another ‘trophy board’ idea? Share it in the comments. Or share your Trophy Board with other readers on the How To Do Everything And Be Happy facebook page – here.


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The Trophy Board (updated for 2014)

Trophy Board dec me 2013Andy Warhol, so it’s said, never opened any of his post. He merely collected it up, put it in a box, and when that box was full he sealed it and wrote the year on the top. When he died they found boxes and boxes of unopened post.

I’ve never taken the time to find out just how true this story is, but I do know that the first time I heard it, it had a profound effect on me and I wanted to do the same. However, being a somewhat deluded individual, I was fairly certain I could improve on the concept. Who, after all, would want to go through boxes of my unopened post?! Particularly when most of it would either be bills, red bills, final demands or letters from the utility companies informing me that I’d been cut off. I wanted my boxes to be full of interesting stuff.

And so I started to collect things. Ticket stubs mainly. Be they cinema or theatre tickets, raffle tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, pay-and-display parking tickets. But also postcards, greeting cards, thank you cards, business cards, labels, badges, old credit cards, menus, anything that was evidence of somewhere I’d been, something I’d done, or someone I’d seen or met.

I can’t remember what I did with all this junk to start with but eventually (probably in an effort to retain some sort of control over the growing mountain of rubbish) I decided to get a really large cork notice board and pin this stuff to it. And there it hung in my living room – a huge messy board packed with memories. I loved it!

A few months later, on New Year’s Day, I completed the last stage of my ‘Andy Warhol’ project by removing everything from the board, stuffing it in the largest envelope I could find, writing the year on the front in huge letters, and tossing it in the loft. A few days later I started the process again, pinning items to the board as I accumulated them.

Now, many, many years later, I have approximately twenty huge envelopes in the loft, each one with a year written on the front, and each one packed with papery mementoes. Do I ever look in these envelopes. No. Will I? No. What’s the point then?

The point isn’t the envelopes. The point is the board.

It’s a visual reminder of all the things I’ve done this year, and the space between the items is an opportunity to be filled with something else. When visitors come round they stand and admire the board. It’s a conversation piece. Sometimes people ask me to explain an item. Nobody ever tells me it’s a bad idea.

And when I’m tired, or feeling low, or I’m feeling a little like a hamster on a wheel, and that nothing I do ever amounts to anything, I look at the board and I realise that it’s not true. Twenty fat envelopes in my loft say otherwise.

Above is 2013’s board – just before I take everything off and get it ready for 2014 – but click here to see how it evolved over the year.

It would be great to see how your Trophy Board.  I’ve created a gallery for Reader’s Trophy Boards.  Tag me in your photos or send me your pictures via facebook messaging (there’s an ‘add files’ option just under the box where you write your message).


Check back in a day or two to kick start 2014 and make it your best year yet – or subscribe to this blog (for FREE) and receive new posts in your email. Simply pop your email address in the box in the top right hand corner of the website.

Read about what got pinned to my 2012 board here


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6 tips for Happiness

Earlier this year the Huffington Post asked me for my six tips for happiness. Here then are half a dozen ideas taken from How To Do Everything and Be Happy. Have a read. Make some lists. Then create your own plan. Tip 1: Manage Your Time

“Time,” so they say “is money.” But imagine that as if it was the hours and minutes of your life, managed by a “Universal Bank of Time.”Under their strict account usage terms, the UBT would mandate a compulsory daily withdrawal of 24 hours. The hours would be automatically transferred to you at the start of each day. But you could never make a deposit, you could never put back what you didn’t use – unused hours would be taxed at 100%. Worse still, there’d be no online banking with the UBT. No paper statements. You couldn’t even get a balance – you’d never be sure how much time you had left.

If real bank accounts worked this way you’d make sure you spent every penny of your daily withdrawal limit on something worthwhile. Pretty soon you’d probably start to plan your spending – you might even keep a book of items you wanted to spend your money on. So with that in mind…

Tip 2: Make a “Now List”

Most folks have heard of a Bucket List (taken from the movie of the same name), a list of all the things you’d like to do before you die (“kick the bucket”). It’s a fabulous idea – except for the built-in assumption that we’re going to be doing all these marvelous things at some far flung point in the future, probably when we’ll be far too old and frail to do anything more than regret each and every item on the list as a missed opportunity.So let’s dispense with the term Bucket List. What we want is to “Live Life Now” list – or a “Now List” for short. Write down everything you’d like to do, then start making it happen. And when you do…

Tip 3: Collect “Trophies”

Andy Warhol, so it’s said, never opened any of his mail. He merely collected it up, put it in a box, and when that box was full, sealed it and wrote the year on the top.I’ve never taken the time to find out just how true this story is, but I do know that the first time I heard it, it had a profound effect on me. I wanted to do the same. However, being a somewhat deluded individual, I was fairly certain I could improve on the concept.And so I started to collect things. Theatre tickets, raffle tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, postcards, greeting cards, thank you cards, business cards, labels, badges, anything that was evidence of somewhere I’d been, something I’d done, or someone I’d met. And something I could pin to a board.This is how my “Trophy Board” looked at the end of 2012. How’s yours coming along?
slide 3 - trophy board

Yet More Trophies

Not all mementos can be pinned to a board. Every now and then you’ll pick up something altogether more three dimensional. Maybe a pebble from the beach. A pocket full of Lipa (Croatian pennies). A finger puppet your niece made for you. A cork from a bottle of champagne. The security pass from that time you did a radio interview. Don’t throw these items in a drawer. Instead, get yourself an old fashioned glass sweet jar and start filling it with this kind of stuff. Or how about this – an old fashioned printer’s tray available for just a few dollars from your friendly local eBay seller.

Here’s mine.
printer's tray
 Tip 4: Decide What’s Important
Most people I encounter haven’t actually got a clue what they really want. They might wake up in the morning and want to go back to bed. They might flick through a magazine and want those shoes. They might even want the person in the magazine wearing those shoes. But these desires come and go. Few of them seem to stick around and become important – and that’s a mistake.Knowing exactly what you want is hugely important. Merely knowing has the power to change everything. Not convinced? Then allow me to introduce you to the incredible, completely automated wish-fulfilment machine you have inside your head…

Tip 5: Use The Power of Focus

Brains are amazing. Especially yours. Even mine has its moments. And one of the most fascinating mechanisms of the human brain is how it deals with focus. Have you ever noticed how when you buy a new car, or even when you’ve merely decided what type of car it is you want to buy, you start seeing that same car everywhere?! That’s the power of focus. It happens because in order for our brains to cope with the extraordinary amount of information coming in through our five senses from the world around us, we’re programmed to concentrate on what’s “important,” and more or less ignore the rest.
Unconvinced? Excellent! Pick a card from the six shown here. Don’t tell me which one it is, just pick one, and remember which card you’ve chosen. Then continue reading.
slide 6 - cardsbefore
Now click on this link and look at the cards again and then come back.

…And It’s Gone!

So, how did I do that? The answer, of course, is focus. Your mind was concentrating on the card you’d chosen, and its apparent disappearance, and failed entirely to notice that all the cards had changed. The other cards weren’t “important.”You might be asking yourself how does the brain determine what’s important? And the answer is: you tell it! And this mechanism isn’t just taking place during card tricks; this happens all day, every day. Your brain is continually filtering the information coming in based on what you’ve decided is important.
Strange then that we quite often focus on entirely the wrong things, or nothing at all.

Tip 6: Remind Yourself Of The Important Things

Most people own a wallet, a purse, or some other item to carry around their credit cards, dog-eared receipts or (if you’re really retro) cash.If your wallet is like mine then it might have a small see-through pocket where you’re supposed to put a photo of a loved one. Ditch it. Not the loved one, just the photo.
On a small piece of card, just big enough to fit that space, write down what you really want in life – your “life vision” if you like – and place it in your wallet. What we’re doing here is utilizing that Power Of Focus on a daily basis by creating something that will remind you of those important things, each and every time you look in your wallet.
slide 8 - wallet


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Kick Start 2013


poster 2013Happy New Year!

So how’s it going so far? Is it all lovely and exciting? Or is it pretty much like last year? Perhaps even a little bit dull? Would you say that, aside from joining hands with friends and family on the stroke of midnight and mumbling the words to a song you only sing once a year, it’s actually quite difficult to know where 2012 came to an end, and 2013 began?

I know how you feel.

Which is why, in a few days time, I will be hosting the first of this years Happiness Clubs, here in Southend-on-Sea.

Happy Club – starts Thursday 24th January 2013

If you’re a long time visitor to this blog you’ll know that this year I’ve run numerous How To Do Everything And Be Happy workshops in various parts of Essex.

I think it’s safe to say that the workshops went down a storm, and I’m delighted to announce that using the invaluable feedback I received, Southend’s Therapy Life Centre and I will be running a series of monthly Happiness workshops – starting Thursday the 24th January – to coincide with the re-launch of the paperback.

What’s covered?

Each month we’ll spend the first hour looking at a different idea from the book How To Do Everything and Be Happy and how to implement it into your life, whether that be Boxing Day, Wish List, Now Lists, Focus, Trophy Boards, or Diaries. Then after a short tea-break (biscuits provided – probably, if I remember) we’re back, looking at your Goals, how far you’ve got with them and how you can take the next step towards achieving them.

Next Thursday we’ll be concentrating on how to eliminate unhappiness, and working out exactly what we want for the coming months. It’ll be fun! I can definitely promise you that. But I have a feeling it’s also going to be the start of something special.

Is it a workshop? Or a course? It’s a “club”.

Technically it’s a series of six stand-alone, related, repeating, workshops (when we get to workshop number six we’ll start afresh the following month). You can come along to just one, a series of six, or every month, it’s totally your choice.

The evening will have more of a club-feel to it making the whole experience less “rushed”, more intensive, and introducing a strong focus on helping you achieve your goals as the months roll by.

It’s a fun way to get motivated and fired up about making changes in your life, whilst being practical, realistic and keeping your feet firmly on the floor.

How much does it cost?

The cost is just £60 for six sessions (if you pay in advance – see below), or £12 per session if you pay on the night.

Where and when?

The club starts on Thursday January 24th 2013
Subsequent clubs are on the last Thursday of each month and last two hours (including a ten minute break around half time).
We start promptly at 8pm (so maybe get there about 7:45? Put that in your diary).

We meet at The Therapy Life Centre, in Southend On Sea, Essex. (the old driving test centre) – there is reasonable parking.
The address is 11 Prittlewell Chase, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 0RX
The nearest station is Prittlewell (just fifteen minutes walk away) which is on the Liverpool Street – Southend Victoria line.

Sign Up and Pay!

The cost is just £60 for six sessions (if you pay in advance), or £12 per session if you pay on the night.

There are three ways to pay in advance

  1. In person at the Therapy Life Centre. Click here for opening hours. 
  2. Over the phone with a credit or debit card. Call 01702 433959. Click here for opening hours. 
  3. Pay here via credit / debit card and/or paypal!

Refunds & General Terms

  • Workshop credits can be carried forward – you do not have to attend six concurrent workshops
  • If you wish to transfer your credits to another person please let us know first
  • Payments via the internet will appear as “soundhaven” on your statement
  • Refunds will not be issued at a workshop and must be requested in the manner the original payment was made (ie. in person, over the phone, or via this website)
  • We reserve the right to charge a £2 admin fee to cover the cost of processing refunds
  • In the event that you cannot make six workshops we reserve the right to retain £12 per workshop you’ve attended, and refund the balance
  • We require five working days notice (via the contact form on this website) process a paypal refund

Any questions?

Drop me a line via the contact page if you have any questions. Operators are standing by.


Visit the Therapy Life Centre’s website
More about the Therapy Life Centre


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The Trophy Board (updated for 2013)

business cardsAndy Warhol, so it’s said, never opened any of his post. He merely collected it up, put it in a box, and when that box was full he sealed it and wrote the year on the top. When he died they found boxes and boxes of unopened post.

I’ve never taken the time to find out just how true this story is, but I do know that the first time I heard it, it had a profound effect on me and I wanted to do the same. However, being a somewhat deluded individual, I was fairly certain I could improve on the concept. Who, after all, would want to go through boxes of my unopened post?! Particularly when most of it would either be bills, red bills, final demands or letters from the utility companies informing me that I’d been cut off. I wanted my boxes to be full of interesting stuff.

And so I started to collect things. Ticket stubs mainly. Be they cinema or theatre tickets, raffle tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, pay-and-display parking tickets. But also postcards, greeting cards, thank you cards, business cards, labels, badges, old credit cards, menus, anything that was evidence of somewhere I’d been, something I’d done, or someone I’d seen or met.

I can’t remember what I did with all this junk to start with but eventually (probably in an effort to retain some sort of control over the growing mountain of rubbish) I decided to get a really large cork notice board and pin this stuff to it. And there it hung in my living room – a huge messy board packed with memories. I loved it!

A few months later, on New Year’s Day, I completed the last stage of my ‘Andy Warhol’ project by removing everything from the board, stuffing it in the largest envelope I could find, writing the year on the front in huge letters, and tossing it in the loft. A few days later I started the process again, pinning items to the board as I accumulated them.

Now, many, many years later, I have approximately twenty huge envelopes in the loft, each one with a year written on the front, and each one packed with papery mementoes. Do I ever look in these envelopes. No. Will I? No. What’s the point then?

The point isn’t the envelopes. The point is the board.

It’s a visual reminder of all the things I’ve done this year, and the space between the items is an opportunity to be filled with something else. When visitors come round they stand and admire the board. It’s a conversation piece. Sometimes people ask me to explain an item. Nobody ever tells me it’s a bad idea.

And when I’m tired, or feeling low, or I’m feeling a little like a hamster on a wheel, and that nothing I do ever amounts to anything, I look at the board and I realise that it’s not true. Twenty fat envelopes in my loft say otherwise.

So how is my 2013 Trophy Board progressing?

(If you’re reading this post in an email, click here to visit facebook to view the trophy board photos)

It would be great to see how your Trophy Board develops during the year.  I’ve created a gallery for Reader’s Trophy Boards.  Tag me (or the page) in your photos or send me your pictures via facebook messaging (there’s an ‘add files’ option just under the box where you write your message).

 


Read about what got pinned to my 2012 board here


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The Trophy Board 2012

2012

If my Trophy Board is anything to go by, last year, 2012, was the busiest I’ve ever had.

Whilst I was bashing out the occasional blog post – many of which either apologised for a general lack of blog related activity, or for failing to tick off anything on my Now List – my Trophy Board silently clung to the wall as a testimony to just how much was actually  going on in my life. And much of it, if I may be allowed to say so, was absolutely fabulous!!

By October I’d run out of space and was pinning new stuff on top of old stuff. Quite an achievement as I’m using an A2 board  (that’s approximately 3ft x 2ft). When it came time to emptying the board and consigning the contents to the attic, I discovered that my papery mementos wouldn’t fit in one A3 padded envelope . At this rate I’m going to need a bigger attic.

If you’re a fan on facebook then you’ll know that I uploaded a picture of my board every month. I wasn’t going to bother this year but the comments have been so positive I decided what the hell – I will if you will! I’ve created a gallery for Reader’s Trophy Boards.  Tag me (or the page) in your photos or send me your pictures via facebook messaging (there’s an ‘add files’ option just under the box where you write your message).

Meanwhile, here’s how the 2012 progressed

(If you’re reading this post in an email, click here to visit facebook to view the trophy board photos)

You can find out how my 2013 board is progressing here.


Read about what got pinned to my 2011 board here