Self Help

Get Your Sh_t Together - Sarah Knight

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 36 min read

Here’s a summary of copyright:

• Copyright is a legal right created by law that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution for a limited time.

• The copyright holder has the exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies of the work, and display or perform the work publicly.

• Copyright encourages creativity by giving creators control and the ability to benefit financially from their works. It allows them to earn a living from their creative efforts.

• Copyright infringement, or unauthorized use of a copyrighted work, is illegal. However, fair use exceptions allow limited use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, and research.

• In the U.S., copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works made for hire, anonymous works, and pseudonymous works, copyright lasts 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

• Copyright protects the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. Similar works can be created independently without infringing copyright. Only the original expression in a work is covered by copyright.

• Copyright registration is not required for protection but does provide legal benefits in case of infringement. Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

• The copyright symbol ©, the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.” along with the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner can be used to put the public on notice of a copyright claim. But copyright protection exists from the moment of creation, with or without such notice.

That covers the basics of copyright law and what copyright protects and provides for creators and copyright holders. Let me know if you have any other questions!

The author realized she was depressed and unhappy in her corporate job. She had a realization that she wanted to work for herself and have more freedom and flexibility. She quit her job, became a freelancer, and moved to the Caribbean.

The author wants to help readers make big or small changes in their lives to be happier. She provides tips for getting organized, motivated, setting boundaries, having difficult conversations, and achieving dreams like changing careers or moving out of your parents’ house.

Her approach is not to provide step-by-step instructions for every task but rather to show an approach for tackling all areas of your life. Her previous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, focused on decluttering your mind by spending less time on unimportant things and people.

To make changes, you need to declutter your mind through:

  1. Discarding - Get rid of obligations, things, events, people that waste your time and energy. Make a “Fuck Budget” to prioritize what’s important.

  2. Organizing - Deploy your limited time, energy, and money wisely on things you need and want to do. Tidy your mind.

Mental decluttering is a solo activity. You have control over your own mind. Needing or wanting to do something is different from actually being able to do it. You need to have your “shit together” - the time, energy, motivation, and resources to achieve goals.

The author provides an example of wanting to take a ski vacation but lacking the actual money to do it. Another example is wanting a deep soaking tub but lacking the motivation and ability to organize the required bathroom renovation. Simply wanting something isn’t enough - you need to have your “shit together”.

• The author has a lot of experience with getting her shit together and now wants to share what she’s learned with others.

• She defines three types of people who need help getting their shit together:

  1. Theodore - The chronically disorganized and overwhelmed. They struggle with basic life skills like showing up on time, following directions, keeping a calendar, etc.

  2. Alvin - They get by fine with day-to-day stuff but struggle when things get more complicated. They have trouble planning ahead, meeting deadlines, sticking to budgets, diets, exercise plans, etc. They seem to have their shit together but falter when the going gets tough.

  3. Simon - They appear the most put together on the outside but are secretly struggling on the inside. They have trouble prioritizing, setting boundaries, and maintaining their work-life balance. The author used to be a Simon.

• The author shares a story about how she lost a lot of money early in her career by making poor financial decisions. This was a wake-up call that she needed to get her shit together.

• The overarching message is that getting your shit together is a skill that can be learned. The author aims to teach readers the tools and techniques she has developed to become more organized, disciplined, and balanced in life.

  • The author was feeling unwell and nauseous at work. She initially thought it might be a hangover, pregnancy, or poisoning. After tests, it turned out to be a panic attack. This was a wake-up call that she needed to change her busy lifestyle.

  • The author defines “winning at life” as managing your time and tasks in a sustainable way, rather than packing your schedule and sacrificing your health. The key is competing only against yourself, not others. Winning is achieving your own dreams and goals.

  • Getting your shit together and winning at life involves three steps:

  1. Strategize: Set a goal and break it into manageable steps.
  2. Focus: Set aside time for each step.
  3. Commit: Follow through on each step.
  • The author provides an example of using these three steps to save enough money to quit her job. She set a goal of saving 3 months of expenses, then broke that into 365 smaller daily saving goals over a year. Each day she focused for a few minutes to transfer money to her savings and marked off one of the 365 goals. This allowed her to achieve her bigger goal without feeling overwhelmed.

  • The author then used the same approach to write a 40,000-word book in only 1 month. She strategized how many words to write each day, focused by setting aside time each day to write, and committed to following her plan.

  • The author concludes that life is like an adult coloring book. By strategizing, focusing on, and committing to small sections at a time, the big picture will eventually emerge. She provides an example of using this approach, step-by-step, to build a house and move to the Caribbean.

In summary, the key message is that achieving big life goals starts with breaking them into smaller, more manageable steps, focusing on one step at a time, and following through with commitment and consistency. This allows progress without feeling overwhelmed or sacrificing your health and well-being.

  • The author compares metaphorical tools for getting your life together - your keys, phone and wallet - to actual life accessories.
  • Keys represent the ability to strategize and unlock next steps.
  • Your phone represents the ability to focus - make calls, schedule, etc.
  • Your wallet represents commitment - putting your money where your mouth is to follow through.
  • The author believes that by managing these three things, you can get your metaphorical life together through strategizing, focusing and committing.
  • Strategy is a plan of action to achieve a goal. You need to strategize to get a new job, for example, by researching, polishing your resume, applying, interviewing, etc. Break the big goal into manageable steps.
  • Your phone shows how focus allows you to do one thing at a time, like Skype your parents, email your boss or book a flight. Apply focus to your strategy and goals.
  • Commitment, like using your wallet to pay for things, means following through on your strategy and focus. Put in the work required to achieve your goals.
  • In summary, the keys to success are:
  1. Develop a strategy - a plan with specific, achievable steps.

  2. Apply focus - do one thing at a time to move the strategy forward.

  3. Show commitment - put in the work and dedication required to achieve your goals.

• Multitasking is a myth. You can only focus on one thing at a time. Don’t try to do multiple things at once, especially important tasks. Focus and give each task your full attention.

• To achieve your goals, break them down into small, manageable steps and focus on one step at a time. Set aside time to work on each step without distractions.

• Once you have your strategy and priorities in order, commit to following through. Take action and do the actual work required for each step.

• Don’t make excuses. While some tasks may be more difficult than others, avoid saying something is “too hard” before you’ve even tried. Set realistic goals and work within your abilities.

• Harness the power of negative thinking. Focus on what you don’t want or don’t like about your current situation. Use your unhappiness or frustration as motivation to set and achieve goals to change it.

• Before setting goals, determine what really matters to you and what “winning” at life looks like for you. Set goals that will achieve results and outcomes that are meaningful to you.

• Achieving your goals requires strategy, focus, commitment, and action. But first, you need to define your priorities and determine what you want to work toward. Start by eliminating what you don’t want.

Here is a summary of Usain Bolt:

• Usain Bolt is a Jamaican former sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist. He is considered the greatest sprinter of all time.

• Bolt holds the world records for the 100m and 200m sprints. His record time for the 100m is 9.58 seconds and his record for the 200m is 19.19 seconds.

• At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt became the first man to win three sprinting gold medals in the same Olympics by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. He won the same three events again at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

• Bolt was born in 1986 in Jamaica. He grew up with a natural talent for sprinting. He won his first high school championships medal at the age of 14. He turned professional in 2004 and dominated the sport for over a decade.

• Bolt was known for his charismatic and fun-loving personality. His signature pose involved pointing to the sky in a “bolt of lightning” shape. He helped raise the popularity of track and field globally.

• Bolt retired from track and field in 2017. He is considered a national hero in Jamaica and one of the most famous athletes of his generation. His domination and world records in sprinting are unmatched.

• Some of Bolt’s nicknames are “Lightning Bolt” and “The Fastest Man Alive.” He demonstrated that sprinting events could be charismatic and entertaining. His showmanship and popularity helped bring new audiences to the sport of track and field.

That covers the key highlights about Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of all time. Let me know if you would like me to elaborate on any part of the summary.

  • To improve your time management, time yourself doing daily tasks like getting ready for work or leaving the office for a week. This will give you an accurate sense of how long things actually take. Then you can add padding to avoid being late.

  • Three areas where people often struggle with time management are work, finances, and health. The keys to managing your time are prioritization and avoiding procrastination.

  • Prioritization means determining what’s most important and urgent on your to-do list and tackling those things first. Make a running list of everything you need to do, then reorder it by priority. Then make a separate list of the must-do, high-priority tasks for today. This avoids feeling overwhelmed by too many responsibilities at once (a.k.a. “Fuck Overload”).

  • Procrastination is the urge to postpone action or do less important things instead of urgent tasks. Giving in to it leads to feeling overwhelmed by an ever-growing to-do list or doing unimportant things while important tasks don’t get done. The solution is using prioritization to determine what’s really important and must be done today.

  • Time management boils down to having a strategy (like prioritizing your to-do list) and the focus to undertake important tasks when you have time for them. The key is not to try cramming too much into too little time.

  • if you find yourself consistently struggling with procrastination or feeling overwhelmed, it may help to reevaluate whether you really need to do everything on your list or whether some of those “fucks” could actually go unfucked. The reality is, you can’t do it all, so focus on what really matters.

The author suggests keeping a “procrastination journal” where you list all the things you do to avoid important tasks that need to get done. The author shares her own list of 10 things she’s done recently to procrastinate, like cutting her cuticles, memorizing song lyrics, and doing Kegel exercises.

The author says you can’t banish procrastination entirely, but you can make it work for you by using it to postpone less important things so you can focus on high-priority tasks. She provides a flowchart to help determine if procrastinating a task is a good idea or not.

For people who feel like they don’t have enough time to get everything done, the author says it’s usually because you’re prioritizing certain activities, like sleeping, over others, like exercise. You need to recognize what’s really important to you and make time for those things by prioritizing your to-do list.

The author gives an example of a busy working parent with two kids who feels overwhelmed with household responsibilities like cooking dinner and doing chores. She suggests making a to-do list of everything that needs to get done, then a separate must-do list of the most urgent priorities. Focus on the must-do list by doing important tasks like grocery shopping and cooking in batches on the weekends, delegating chores to kids, and postponing less important things like mowing the lawn.

The overall message is that by becoming aware of how you procrastinate and prioritizing your responsibilities, you can focus on what really matters and get your shit together.

The key points are:

  1. Once you have a handle on your priorities, schedule them appropriately. Having a to-do list helps make the most of your limited time.

  2. Distraction comes in many forms and reduces productivity. Take evasive action by avoiding distractions when possible. Stop engaging with distractions immediately when you notice them. Plan for and limit time spent on certain distractions.

  3. Impulse control is about managing your own urges and desires. Confront the “Wizard of Impulse Control” in your mind and tell him what you actually want to do to achieve your goals. Make “sober decisions” before drinking to limit poor choices later.

  4. Managing correspondence like email is key to productivity. Don’t make excuses about high volume. Have good organizational systems and schedule time to process email. Unsubscribe and delete unnecessary emails. Respond quickly and concisely to reduce back-and-forth. Meet in person when possible for important discussions.

The overall theme is developing self-discipline and focus through conscious decisions and practices. Limit distractions and unproductive habits. Make plans and schedules to achieve priorities and goals. Manage tasks and correspondence efficiently using good systems and time management. Take responsibility for yourself and avoid blaming external factors. Continuous practice and improvement will strengthen self-discipline and productivity.

The main problem is poor time management and inefficient handling of emails. While you can’t control the volume of emails you receive, you can take steps to reduce what you send and better manage what comes in.

To reduce sending:

• Avoid unnecessary emails. Don’t send emails just for fun or when bored. Delete drafts you don’t need.

• Combine multiple emails into one. If communicating with the same person on the same topic, combine into a single email.

• Use the phone instead. Some conversations are better had by phone. It can save time versus long email exchanges.

• Ask if it really matters. Not every thought needs to be emailed. Delete emails that aren’t important.

To send better emails:

• Keep emails short and to the point. Long, elaborate emails often don’t get read fully or prompt action. Brevity is key.

• Lead with the most important question or request. Ask the critical thing upfront to increase the odds of getting a response.

• Set a deadline for response. Give the recipient a specific time frame for responding to establish urgency, e.g. “Please respond by 5 PM today.”

• Don’t send unnecessary replies like “Great, thanks!“. These short replies clutter inboxes and waste time. Only reply if really needed.

To better manage incoming emails:

• Purge your inbox. Delete, file or respond to all emails to get to inbox zero. This may take a full day or more if you have a large backlog. But purging regularly saves time in the long run.

• Strategize your approach. Block time on your calendar and prioritize purging emails. Focus on batches of emails at a time. Start with easy deletes, then filing, then replies.

• Commit to the effort. Achieving an empty or near-empty inbox requires diligence and commitment. But the time saved by efficiently managing your emails is well worth it.

In summary, improving your email productivity comes down to reducing what you send, being more thoughtful in what you do send, and regularly purging your inbox through deletes, filing and responses. With practice, you can achieve a manageable and stress-free email workflow.

The main issues seem to be poor time management and lack of focus which results in staying too late at work, missing out on social life and being dissatisfied. The goal is to get work done during regular hours and having time for other activities.

Some strategies to improve the situation:

  1. Turn your to-do list into a prioritized must-do list. Break down big tasks into smaller chunks and focus on high priority items. This makes the workload more manageable and helps minimize overtime.

  2. Improve time management by estimating how long each task will take. Adjust as needed based on circumstances. This helps allocate enough time for important tasks.

  3. Apply focused time for each task using single-tasking. Minimize distractions and work on one thing at a time.

4.Commit to the plan by tapping into negative motivation of not wanting to stay late and miss out. Complete one task at a time and cross them off as you go. Celebrate small wins along the way.

  1. Limit email/Slack usage and turn off notifications to avoid constant interruptions. Check messages during allocated time slots instead of constantly reacting. Respond thoughtfully when you do check them.

  2. Try limiting how often you check email to mimic old dial-up days. This reduces background noise and many questions may resolve themselves, making messages easier to delete.

  3. Quitting on time may require an experiment in limiting work to required hours. Many people find they are just as productive, and overtime becomes the exception rather than the rule. Making a habit of leaving at the end of the workday can be very freeing.

The key is really developing better habits and discipline around time management, focus, and work-life balance. Starting with small changes and building on them can lead to big improvements over time. But ultimately, committing to the goals and following through consistently is what will make the difference.

  • Crossing things off your to-do list and leaving work on time can give you a sense of accomplishment and joy. The author calls this “Happy Hour.”

  • Unexpected events can happen that require you to reprioritize on the fly. If you’ve been productive, you’ll be in a good position to handle surprises. Some “emergencies” may show you that some things didn’t actually belong on your to-do list.

  • Money is an important resource, along with time and energy, that enables you to achieve life goals. Many people struggle with managing their finances, but the keys are the same: strategy, focus, and commitment.

  • To spend $100 less each month, spend $25 less each week. Focus on whether purchases are truly necessary and commit to not spending the money if they’re not. Breaking down goals into smaller pieces makes them more achievable.

  • For some, even $25 a week may be too much. You can break it down further into a daily amount, like $3.57. closely examine your daily spending and see if there are any expenses you can cut, like coffee, lotto tickets, or small impulse buys. Recording your spending helps make you aware of how small amounts add up.

  • To actively save money, don’t put it off until tomorrow. Even small amounts like $3.57 a day or $25 a week can add up to fund bigger goals over time, like a vacation or down payment on a house. Think of saving like putting quarters in a piggy bank - small deposits make a big difference.

  • The keys to better managing your money are the same strategy, focus, and commitment you’ve been applying to become more productive and accomplish your goals. With consistency, you can achieve great things.

Here’s a summary:

• Reaching big lifestyle goals, like saving money or changing careers, is best done in small, manageable steps over time. This approach requires strategy, focus, and commitment but is ultimately doable.

• Having patience and willpower are key. There are several strategies to help build willpower, including envisioning the outcome, using accountability, getting motivated by anger, vanity, or money. The “Who Raised You?” technique involves imagining what your mom or someone else would say about your poor choices or lack of self-control. This can provide motivation through “emotional spanking.”

• The “tough shit” in life includes responsibilities, relationships, work, finances, health, home, and lifestyle. These areas require more prolonged effort and commitment to improve.

• “Adulting” means handling responsibilities like going to the doctor, paying bills on time, writing thank-you notes, and spending time with friends/family. Leaving bad relationships, if needed, also falls under this category.

• Other tough life areas include advancing in your career through raises, promotions, delegating, and maximizing time off. Planning for retirement and finances in general are also important.

• Caring for your health, home, and creating time for hobbies require ongoing effort. Hiring professionals when needed can help. Overall, there are many life areas that require prolonged work to “get your shit together.” Breaking them into small, manageable parts is key.

The key takeaway is that with strategy, patience, and willpower, people can achieve big life goals and handle the tough parts of adulthood. But they must start small, stay committed, and build up their efforts over time. There’s no quick fix.

  • Life will throw unexpected challenges and expenses your way. Having your “shit together” means being prepared to handle these curveballs efficiently and decisively. Things like parking tickets, doctor’s appointments, expired passports, thank you notes, and annoying chores are examples of challenges adults have to deal with.

  • Building and maintaining good relationships requires effort. Relationships fall into three categories: Maintain, Improve, and Dissolve. Maintaining and improving relationships requires things like making time to connect, being fully present, and prioritizing the relationship. Life’s busyness and changes can make these relationships hard to maintain, but it’s important to put in effort for the relationships that really matter. Letting some friendships fade is natural, but fight to maintain the important ones.

  • Strategies for maintaining important long-distance friendships include things like setting aside time for phone/video calls, writing letters or emails, visiting when possible, and making the time you do have together count by being fully focused on your friend. Friendships evolve over the years, but the core connection can remain.

The author tends to become isolated and focused on work when faced with strict deadlines. To avoid losing valuable friendships, the author develops a strategy of maintaining contact by:

  1. Making a list of friends to reconnect with once the deadline passes. This acts as a visual reminder to make the time to see them.

  2. Sending a quick email to let friends know you’re thinking of them, even when busy. This helps reassure friends and prevents them from feeling devalued.

For more complicated family relationships, the author suggests low-maintenance tactics like:

  1. Sending postcards when away on vacation. This shows you’re thinking of them without requiring a lot of time or interaction.

  2. Doing small things to maintain contact with distant relatives, e.g. sending a congratulatory text or gift card. This demonstrates you care without needing to make a big effort.

To strengthen a romantic relationship, the author suggests making it a friendly competition to do nice things for each other as much as possible. This injects fun into the relationship and leads to an upward spiral of goodwill. Strategies include:

  1. Strategizing kind gestures and surprises. Make a list for inspiration.

  2. Focusing on small acts of kindness each day rather than big gifts alone.

  3. Committing to expressions of affection and quality time together.

To end an unwanted relationship, the author recommends strategizing how to dissolve it in a thoughtful way. This includes considering:

  1. How to have difficult conversations and handle logistics. Think through the practical steps required.

  2. How to meet your goal of ending the relationship while also taking care of yourself. Plan self-care and ask for support.

  3. How to maintain your composure and avoid hostility. Stay focused on your goal in a calm, rational manner.

In summary, the author advocates using strategy, focus and commitment to both maintain valuable relationships as well as end unhealthy ones. The specific tactics may differ but the approach is the same.

  • Break down complex situations into smaller, manageable chunks. Set a time frame and focus on one chunk at a time. Then commit to addressing each chunk.

  • You don’t have to commit to things just because others expect you to, e.g. being in a relationship, getting married, having children, owning a house, etc. Do what makes you happy.

  • To get a raise or promotion at work, demonstrate confidence, even if you don’t feel it. Appear self-assured by mastering key phrases and observing confident coworkers. Ask your boss what you need to do to advance and get clear strategies to work toward. If there are no opportunities for growth, start looking for a new job.

  • Prepare well for vacations to avoid anxiety but don’t overprepare by checking email while away. Do an extra week of work before leaving then let it all go to enjoy your time off fully. Come back relaxed and ready to catch up, realizing most emails and tasks will still be there and manageable. Staying disconnected leads to greater life-changing insights and experiences.

  • Additional tips for showing your boss you have your act together: follow instructions, own up to mistakes, be proactive, display helpful books, and have a good attitude. Promotion may come down to impressing the right people at the right time.

The key takeaways are focusing your efforts, not feeling obligated to meet arbitrary social expectations, projecting confidence, directly asking for and clarifying career growth strategies, properly preparing for and disconnecting from work on vacation, and consistently demonstrating competence and a positive work ethic. Developing these skills and mindsets will help in gaining more control and advancement in your career and life.

  • Your job is to get your own work done, not worry about everyone else’s tasks or responsibilities. Let go of things you can’t control.
  • Delegating your work to others is a good way to reduce stress and declutter your mind. This could be assigning work to an assistant, asking coworkers for help in exchange for helping them later, accepting offers of help from others, or simply not volunteering to take on more work.
  • When you go on vacation, disconnect completely from work. Don’t check email or call in, and have a firm out-of-office message stating you will respond when you return. No one will die if you are unreachable for a few days.
  • Saving for retirement is extremely important, even though it may not seem urgent when you’re young. Due to compound interest, even saving a small amount per day can generate a large amount of money by the time you retire. The sooner you start saving, the more you will have when you retire.
  • For your health, diet, and lifestyle:

Start an exercise regimen to get into shape. Ignore unhealthy habits like dirty dishes, a messy house, etc. If you do want to clean, maintain a routine to keep your place tidy. Eat a balanced diet with lots of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Get enough sleep every night, limit screen time before bed, and try relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga to reduce stress. Stay socially connected to friends and family and engage in hobbies or activities you enjoy. See a doctor for recommended health screenings and care. Address any medical or mental health issues promptly. Your home should be a comfortable, clutter-free sanctuary. Keep it clean and decluttered, and make upgrades or changes to suit your needs and style. Find work-life balance and avoid being overly focused on your career to the exclusion of relationships, health, and leisure activities. Take all your paid time off from work.

The author discusses several aspects of getting your physical life in order:

  • Exercise and fitness: The author admits to not being very into exercise personally but realizes the importance of improving physical health and limberness as one ages. The key is to set specific, manageable goals, like incorporating 15 minutes of stretching into your morning routine. For those less enthusiastic about exercise, find alternatives like improving diet or doing an enjoyable activity while exercising like listening to an audiobook.

  • Diet and nutrition: The author advocates for an “everything in moderation” approach. Focus on eating what makes you feel good and function well rather than overly restrictive fad diets. To lose weight, consume slightly fewer calories through small changes you can stick with long-term. Willpower and consistency are key.

  • Sleep: The author emphasizes that sleep is essential to health, happiness and productivity. Make it a priority to get enough high-quality sleep every night.

  • Keeping a clean and tidy home: The author argues that a one-time intensive tidying is not realistic or sustainable. Tidying and cleaning require ongoing maintenance and commitment. Develop routines to regularly declutter, organize, and clean your space to avoid quickly descending back into mess and chaos.

The overall message is that getting into good physical shape requires setting concrete goals, developing realistic routines and habits, summoning willpower, and maintaining consistency over the long haul. Make gradual progress through small, sustainable changes to your daily practices and environment. Staying on top of exercise, diet, sleep, and household responsibilities yields huge benefits for both physical and mental health.

Many people go through cycles of decluttering and tidying their homes, only for the mess and chaos to return again. The key to maintaining a clean and tidy home is developing sustainable habits and a mindset focused on organization and decluttering. Some tips for developing these habits:

•Do an initial deep clean and purge to start with a blank slate. This makes ongoing maintenance easier.

•Break cleaning and decluttering into small, manageable tasks. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the big picture. Focus on one area or one task at a time.

•Set aside time each week to work on cleaning and decluttering. Even dedicating 20-30 minutes a few times a week can go a long way. Make it a routine and habit.

•Prioritize cleaning and decluttering. If having a tidy home is important to you, make it a priority in your schedule and to-do list. Don’t let it fall to the bottom of the list.

•It’s okay if cleaning and decluttering isn’t a top priority for you. Don’t feel pressure to have a spotless home if you have other priorities. Learn to not care as much about mess and chaos.

•For bigger projects like home renovations, break the project into small, manageable steps. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the total scope of work. Take it one step at a time.

•Consider hiring professionals to help with cleaning, decluttering or home renovation projects. While it costs money, it saves time and energy and the work gets done properly. Learn to delegate when needed.

•Motivation and priorities are key. Remind yourself why having a clean and organized home is important to you. If it’s not actually a priority, reconsider the time and effort you’re putting in. It’s okay to let some things go.

The key message is developing sustainable habits and the right mindset focused on organization and decluttering. Take it slowly and be realistic about what you can maintain long-term. Make choices about what really matters to you and don’t feel pressure to have an immaculate home if that’s not realistic or important to you. Get help when you need it and learn to let go of unreasonable expectations.

The key message is that you should stop wasting time and energy on things that don’t really matter or that you’re not good at. Instead, focus on high-impact activities and delegate unimportant tasks to professionals. This will help you gain more time and clarity to pursue creative hobbies or goals that energize you.

Some tips for getting your shit together:

• Identify and delegate futile pursuits. Don’t try to fix your washing machine if you’re not a repair person. Call a professional instead.

• Hiring a pro can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. They have expertise and experience, so they can get the job done properly. This frees up your time and mental space.

• Don’t be a martyr. Stop complaining about how busy you are and make time for yourself. Your hobbies and downtime are important for your wellbeing.

• Make your hobbies a priority, not a privilege. Put them on your schedule and to-do list. Treat them as rewards for completing other tasks.

• You have to advocate for your hobbies and convince yourself they’re worth your time. Do them without overthinking, and your mindset will adjust.

• Make time for your creative pursuits or they won’t happen. You have to schedule them in, find pockets of time, or just start doing them. Creativity needs nurturing.

• Avoid the two obstacles of scheduling challenges and self-doubt. Use tools like schedules and deadlines to make progress on creative work, and don’t second-guess yourself. Just dive in.

• Focus on what energizes and fulfills you. Let go of less important things. This will help you gain momentum and motivation to achieve more meaningful goals.

In summary, the key to getting your shit together is prioritizing what matters to you, not what you think should matter or what matters to other people. Make time for yourself and the things that bring you joy. Let professionals handle the rest. This balanced and focused approach will lead to greater happiness and productivity.

  • Maintaining your mental health and solving existential crises require the same approach as any other life goal: strategize, focus, commit. It’s a gradual process.

  • “Getting in your own way” refers to the deep-seated mental and emotional issues that undermine your progress, like anxiety, perfectionism, avoidance, and fear of failure. You have to address these directly.

  • Three approaches for managing anxiety:

  1. Rip off the Band-Aid: Take necessary action even though it makes you anxious. The relief you feel after will outweigh the anxiety. For example, tell your roommate you’re moving out, even though the conversation will be difficult.

  2. This Too Shall Pass: Don’t act right away. Take time for the anxiety to subside and gain perspective. For example, don’t respond hastily to a cryptic email from your boss. Wait and reassess; the issue may resolve itself or turn out to be minor.

  3. Avoidance is not a strategy: While prudent hesitation is OK, don’t make a habit of avoiding issues altogether. Address problems that won’t go away on their own. Make a plan to tackle them gradually.

  • The bottom line is that anxiety is manageable if you face it head-on with realistic strategies and self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up over feeling anxious—just get to work improving the situation. With practice, you can clear away much of the “anxiety-dust.”

The message ‘Come see me when you have a second. Thanks.’ is a simple request to meet and talk. There is no need to read deeply into it or have an anxious internal dialogue about it.

Some tips to avoid anxiety in these situations:

•Write down your anxious thoughts to release them, instead of confronting the person. This can provide relief without needing an actual confrontation.

•Avoidance is not a good long-term strategy and can make the anxiety worse. It’s best to address issues directly through respectful communication.

•Have a plan for starting difficult conversations. Make an appointment, practice staying calm, and start talking using “I” statements.

•Failure and fear of failure can be paralyzing. Accept that failure is possible, and your energy is better spent on accomplishing your goals than worrying about potential failure. Failure happens, and it’s often not as bad as anticipated.

•Fear of mundane decisions or failure can be self-sabotage. Remember that in most cases, the world is not out to get you—you are out to get you. Accept yourself and your imperfections.

•Focus on accomplishing what you can now instead of maintaining unrealistic standards of perfection. No one is perfect, so avoid striving for an unrealistic ideal.

•There are many healthier things to fear than failure, such as dangerous situations or health issues. Keep your anxiety focused on real issues, not imagined catastrophes.

In summary, try to maintain a balanced perspective, address issues directly, and avoid perfectionism or fear of failure. Focus on practical solutions and self-acceptance. Failure and imperfection are parts of life, so try not to let anxiety about them hold you back.

• The author struggled with body image issues and bullying as a child, which led to an eating disorder in her teens.

• She progressed from anorexia to bulimia in an attempt to stay thin while still eating. This caused health issues like nausea, sore throat, and anemia.

• Though she knew her behavior was unhealthy, she felt powerless to change. She decided to tell her mother she needed help to overcome her eating disorder.

• Admitting she needed help and telling her mother was difficult but freeing. Having an open, honest conversation with her mother helped the author start to recover.

• The key takeaway is that acknowledging you have a problem and asking for help from someone who cares about you can be an important first step to getting your shit together.

The author describes how talking to others about your struggles, like her mother, can help provide accountability and motivation to improve your situation. She says that while making big life changes is often a solo effort, it does not have to be - you can bring in others to provide support. The author then describes how big life changes are made through small, manageable steps. She gives examples like moving to a new city, improving your health, and changing your mindset. Each of these big goals can be accomplished by starting small and building up over time through planning, focus and commitment.

The author describes a system her friend Joe uses to keep his life together by accomplishing two out of three things each day: flossing, exercising and not drinking. She adapts this into her own “GYST BINGO” board with ten small steps you can take each day to work towards having your life together. These include things like saving money, delegating tasks, being on time, and controlling impulses. Accomplishing enough of these small steps can lead to having your life together.

Finally, the author discusses how some people struggle to improve their lives because they lack self-awareness about their own role in their problems. She provides an exercise where you identify negative behaviors in others that show they don’t have their life together, like being disorganized, constantly late, irresponsible with money, etc. The goal is for you to then recognize these same behaviors in yourself, realize you are engaging in self-sabotage, and work to change them. Improving self-awareness and taking responsibility for your actions is key to getting your life together.

Here is a summary with some self-awareness circled:

Every time you experience a twinge of brutal recognition, that’s self-awareness. Circle those answers. Meditate on them. Become the self-awareness you want to see in your friends/family/colleagues/neighbors/___________.

Congratulations, Pam, you just got one (or more) steps closer to winning at life.

Get your shit together, Pamela

Out of thousands of responses to my survey, this was my favorite: “When it comes to staying in unhealthy relationships, my friend Pamela is such a drama queen. I always say that when life hands Pamela lemons, she goes to the store and buys more lemons.”

Hello from the other side

Q: What do recovering addicts, raw foodies, and born-again Christians have in common?

A: They’re always telling you how great they feel!

Whether holding court at dinner parties or sidling up a little too close to you on the city bus, these Chatty Cathys want you to know their lives are infinitely better now that they’ve kicked smack, taken up gazpacho, and welcomed Jesus into their hearts. They practically glow from within. You kind of want to kick them in the shins, but you know what? They’re winning. Those newly capped teeth, regular bowel movements, and beatific grins could be YOU.

Perhaps that came out wrong.

What I’m saying is, their shit doesn’t have to be the same as your shit, but the principle remains the same: Out with annoy, in comes joy. Even if you don’t agree with these folks’ life choices, believe them when they tell you how much better everything is now that they’ve gotten their shit together.

For a long time, I made the mistake of flat-out not trusting people (in my case: freelancers, including my husband) who told me it was possible not only to live a different kind of life, but to thrive while doing it. I was sure that even though I was unhappy in my current existence, throwing a wrench in it would only make things worse. I was extremely risk-averse, and those of you who filled out my survey are too.

I got responses like these:

I’m stressed and burned out at work and cannot get a break/vacation/time off. I hate everything about it and it makes me hate life, but I cannot afford to risk leaving.

I want to break up with my current job but have been with it a long time and don’t have a sweet little thing on the side to leave it for.

I’ve been wanting to leave my job for eleven years.

Well, thanks in part to the Power of Negative Thinking, one day my job situation—which looked an awful lot like each of these examples—became untenable, and something had to give. The annoy so outweighed the joy that I had to take action.

And on the other end, the only person I wanted to kick in the shins was me—FOR NOT GETTING MY SHIT TOGETHER SOONER.

Now tell me, is your annoy off the charts? Is not being broke, fat, and messy (or stuck in a dead-end job, or anxious all the time, or constantly out of toilet paper) a goal you can get on board with?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know your life. I can’t set the goal(s) for you. But you can achieve them, one small, manageable chunk at a time. Keys, phone, wallet.

And if you’re still tempted to keep spinning your wheels in a job or relationship or life you hate, well, consider me Cher to your Nicolas Cage, when I say, “Snap out of it!”

Believe me, the other side is totally worth it. Come on over. You know you want to.

The author expresses gratitude for her team at Little, Brown and Quercus publishing companies, who have helped sell her books. She specifically names several individuals at each company who have supported her work. She also thanks Ben Loehnen, Kate Whicher, Patrick Smith, Terry, and Manu for various contributions. Finally, she expresses appreciation for her husband, Judd Harris, who provides constant support.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe