Sarah Gregg

Find Your Flow and Choose Happy: Interview with Sarah Gregg

In August, the APDO Book Club hosted an online workshop led by Sarah Gregg, the author of Find Your Flow (Rock Point, 2020) and Choose Happy (Rock Point, 2021). In it, Sarah shared her 1-2-3-Flow method and discussed how we can use positive psychology methods and her journaling system ourselves and with our clients. In this blog post, Sarah answers five questions put to her by Book Club Co-organiser Anne Welsh (Beginning Cataloguing – Tidy Beginnings).

Growing up in Belfast, how did you picture your adult life would be?

I struggled to picture my life. The wrestling match between what I wanted and who I should be seemed to create a messy blur. I certainly didn’t imagine that I’d be almost forty, living out of a backpack and traveling the world as a published author. But that’s the beauty of life – sometimes you need the messy blur to create a brilliant masterpiece that surprises you.

When did you realise that you wanted something a little different?

The draw towards something different has always been there. It was something myself and others told me to ‘Get out of my system’. I kept the unconventional part of me entertained with travel, new hobbies, and experiences. But once I was married, had a house and a good job I tried to silence it. I wanted to fit in and to belong – so I paid more attention to who I ‘should be’ and not who I was. 

I remember going to bed at night just feeling that something was missing. I now realise that ‘something’ was me. In being everything to everyone else, I’d lost myself. 

In 2016 when we decided to sell our house, all our stuff, and quit our jobs -t hat was the moment I realised it wasn’t just about ‘wanting’ something different, I ‘needed’ it. 

What’s been the biggest surprise you’ve had since you ‘found your flow’?

I’ve realised that it’s really challenging to be yourself. But it’s also the most liberating and exciting. Finding your flow is about becoming who you are, fulfilling your potential and that will look different for each of us. The more we can shed who we think we should be, the closer we can get to the core of who we are.

Is minimalism and traveling a ‘forever lifestyle’ for you?

I have no idea. It feels right, right now. I love the freedom it gives and that it’s in line with our values. But I also know life can change, nothing is really ‘forever’. If we did stop traveling that would present a new challenge for a minimalist lifestyle but I’d hope we keep it up. I feel lighter without the clutter and ‘stuff’.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself in your journey to ‘choose happy’?

I’ve learned that I used to treat negative emotions as a sign that I was failing or as a form of punishment from the universe. Choosing happy has involved learning how to sit with negative emotions, to understand and value them as much as the positive emotions. After all the greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments in my life have come from negative emotions. They can act as a real clarifying force when we know how to work with them.


You can keep up with Sarah’s latest publications, workshops and travels on her instagram, @thepowertoreinvent.

We are also very grateful to Sarah and to her publisher for offering us three free books as member giveaways. Sarah made two random draws on the night, and we ran an instagram competition for APDO members. The winners were Lesley Gault (Declutter for Calm), Jo Lubbock (Perfect Order), and Victoria Nicholson (My Wardrobe Zen).


The APDO Book Club is one of the many benefits of joining APDO. You can find out more about becoming a member here.

 

 

Summer reads

APDO Book Club Reads 2021

One of our most popular blog posts has been Sarah Howley’s ‘Recommendations from the APDO Book Club’, which discussed Sarah Tierney’s Making Space (Sandstone Press, 2017), Margareta Magnusson’s The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (Canongate, 2017), Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner (Text Publishing, 2017), James Clear’s Atomic Habits (Random House Business, 2018), Lisa Jewell’s The House We Grew Up In (Penguin, 2020), and Beth Kempton’s Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year (Piatkus, 2019).

In today’s blog post, book club founder Sarah (Organising Solutions) and new co-organisers Anne Welsh (Tidy Beginnings) and Nicola Austin (Life of Libra) highlight key themes from the books the club has been discussing in 2021.

It’s August already, so we’ve had 7 meetings so far, discussing:

 

APDO is a growing organisation, and our members work in a wide range of situations, using both general skills and diverse specialisms. In the APDO Book Club, we try to select from quite a broad pool, and you can see that in this list. Decluttering has featured in both our fiction selection (Nancy McGovern’s cozy crime) and one of our classic titles (Dana K. White’s account of how she won her “never-ending battle with stuff”, full of tips for how other people can too).

Other classics included Van Nieuwerburgh’s Introduction to Coaching Skills. Suggested by members of our training and development team, it provided not only a text but also video content on key techniques coaches use – all of them relevant to our work as professional organisers. We also read Cal Newport’s Deep Work, which provides a range of ways that we can change our habits from multi-tasking. As Newport advised: “Don’t take breaks from distraction. Instead take breaks from focus.”

Productivity and decluttering both feature in Marie Kondo’s latest publication, Joy at Work, co-authored with Scott Sonenshein. Each bestselling author took responsibility for separate chapters, so if you’re a fan of both of them, you will love this book. And finally for this update, there’s our first business book – Mary Portas’s Work Like a Woman. It highlights systemic sexism in big business and suggests ways of building a work life that works – not only for women, but for us all.

The APDO Book Club is one of the many benefits of joining APDO. You can find out more about becoming a member here.