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Get Your Sh*t Together
How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do
By Sarah Knight
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- ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD
- Hardcover $19.99 $25.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
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The no-f*cks-given, no-holds-barred guide to living your best life.
Ever find yourself stuck at the office-or even just glued to the couch—when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that "someday" project you're always putting off? It's time to get your sh*t together.
In The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, "anti-guru" Sarah Knight introduced readers to the joys of mental decluttering. This book takes you one step further—organizing the f*cks you want and need to give, and cutting through the bullsh*t cycle of self-sabotage to get happy and stay that way. You'll discover:
• The Power of Negative Thinking
• Three simple tools for getting your sh*t together
• How to spend less and save more
• Ways to manage anxiety, avoid avoidance, and conquer your fear of failure
• And tons of other awesome sh*t!
Praise for Sarah Knight:
"Self-help to swear by." —The Boston Globe
"Hilarious . . . truly practical." —Booklist
Hello, and welcome to Get Your Shit Together. Thanks for reading! Before we get too deep, I wanted to clarify a few things.
First, despite the real or virtual aisle you may have found it in, this is not a traditional self-help book.
It's more of a let-me-help-you-help-yourself-help book, with "me" here to "help" when your "self" gets in the way. Let's face it—if you could help yourself, you'd have done it by now, right? Also, unlike many traditional self-help authors, I am going to use the word shit 332 times (including several shitmanteaus of my own invention), so please do not go on Amazon saying you were expecting sunshine and kittens and got shitstorms and shittens. My mother reads all of those reviews and it really upsets her when people don't "get" me.
Second, although your life may be a mess—and I will help you sort it out—this is not a typical guide to "tidying up."
We won't be spending the next three hundred pages gathering your physical shit into a pile and thanking it for its service before you ship it all off to the Salvation Army. Instead, we're going to tidy up your mental clutter and your metaphorical shit—such as your career, finances, creative pursuits, relationships, and health—and we're going to do it all without hoisting a single trash bag or having an introspective conversation with a winter coat.
Finally, just to be 100 percent clear: If you were looking for tips on scat play, this is not the book for you.
I'm not judging! I simply want to manage expectations. That's what authors' notes are for.
So what IS this book? Well, I think of it as a delightfully profane one-stop shop for tidying your mind—and making your life easier and better.
Like, a lot easier and better, no matter where you're starting from.
You may be literally lying on your couch, sitting at a bus stop, or dangling your feet from the Herman Miller Aeron chair behind your big shiny desk—but I'm guessing you picked up this book because, figuratively, you're in somewhat of a rut. And there's no shame in that. Ruts (even literal ones) are easy to fall into. People do it all the time.
Yours could be shaped like a pair of comfy sweatpants and filled with stale PBR. It might be lined with the silvery stock options you stand to cash in if you can just stick with your soul-killing job for five more years. Or maybe—and this is probably more likely—your rut takes the form of the regular old daily grind: work and finances and family and friends and a lot of other shit you need help staying on top of, plus neglected health (and even more neglected hobbies), and capped off by the dreams you only admit to friends after a few cocktails… or are too scared or anxious or overwhelmed to admit to yourself at all.
Sound familiar? Well, then, strap in! Because this little let-me-help-you-help-yourself mental tidying guide can hoist you out of your rut and drop you smack-dab into the life you want, and deserve, to live. (In a pinch, you could lay it in an actual rut and step on it to keep your shoes from getting all muddy. But maybe save that for after you read it.)
Get Your Shit Together shows you how to set goals, how to push through small annoyances and thorny obstacles to meet those goals, and then how to imagine and achieve even bigger goals that you may not, until now, have thought possible. It will help you get out of your own way, and stay out. And it will liberate you from the shit you think you should be doing so you can bang out the shit you need to do, and get started on the shit you want to do.
How's that for managing expectations?
Basically, this book will do for your life what Tim Ferriss did for the workweek—break it into small, manageable chunks that leave you with plenty of free time to pursue your dream of becoming a self-satisfied entrepreneur/public speaker/sociopath.
No, I'm kidding. But it will do that first part, if you keep reading.
We all have our Oh shit moments.
They can happen when we compare the balance in our bank account to the balance on our credit card and find out what "overdraft protection" was meant for, or when we pull on our favorite pair of pants and realize they didn't fit two sizes ago. Or maybe when we wake up next to our formerly favorite person and realize he or she didn't fit two years ago.
My most recent one of those moments came when I realized that the reason I was so unhappy all the time was because I didn't love my job anymore—and not just that job with that company, but really an entire career I no longer wanted to devote my life to. It wasn't pretty. And it was followed by a bunch more moments of "What the fuck am I going to do?" and "How the fuck am I going to do it?" before I was able to get out of my hamster-on-a-wheel-shaped rut and start making a few Big Life Changes.
Now I'm here to show you how you can make some big changes too. Or small ones. Whatever you need to do to be happy.
Honestly? You just have to get your shit together.
Again, I'M NOT JUDGING. It's completely understandable why change (of any size) hasn't yet made it onto your to-do list. It's one thing to have an Oh shit moment, but it's quite another to actually do something about it. Especially if you're the kind of person who has no idea where to start. Or maybe you have no trouble getting started, but you tend to lose steam before you finish—there's too much to do and not enough time to do it, and even if you could do it all, for fuck's sake, how do you avoid driving yourself crazy along the way?!?
I assure you, it's possible.
Getting, having, and keeping your shit together enables you to experience potentially life-changing realizations and then move forward to the "doing something about them" and "not going crazy" side of things. It's kind of amazing. And none of this stuff is as hard as you might think—all it takes is a different way of thinking about and doing shit than you might be used to.
A better way. An easier way.
And it works whether you're an overwhelmed underachiever or a high-functioning basket case. Believe me, I know from experience.
A couple of years ago I was so depressed that I could barely get out of bed in the morning. I dreaded the prospect of walking out my door to get on the subway, because the subway took me to a place that had started to feel less like an office and more like a Temple of Doom. I'd had these feelings for at least a year before that, and they were translating into Major Daily Freakouts, but I'd spent fifteen years clawing my way up the corporate ladder—I couldn't jump off it now just because I was feeling a little blue, could I? I had to stay committed even if I didn't love it anymore, given all the time and energy I'd already put in… right? (Hint: NOPE.)
It took me far too long to figure out that there was so much more I could be doing with my life, if I could only stop worrying about what I should be doing.
And I would consider it an honor to save YOU a bunch of time fighting with yourself over staying in bed (or in credit card debt, a bad relationship, or elastic-waist pants) instead of facing reality. Because once you face reality, you can start bending it to your will.
That's what happens when you have your shit together.
Once I identified what I really wanted—to work for myself and attend precisely zero meetings per day—I never looked back. Not only did I quit my safe, steady corporate job to take the risk of going freelance, I had another realization: that being a freelancer would allow me to "commute" from anywhere. Not just my couch in Brooklyn, but perhaps by the side of a pool in the Caribbean.
And oh, wait, maybe I could just move to the Caribbean. That would be nice too, wouldn't it?
So I did it—and in part I, I'll show you how it all played out.
But listen, I don't want to scare you off. Those were some 100 Percent Certified Big Life Changes, and like I said, Get Your Shit Together can help you make plenty of smaller ones too.
For example, do you ever find yourself stuck at the office—or just glued to the couch—when what you really want is to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), or get started on that "someday" project that's been hanging out on your to-do list since, oh… the beginning of time?
We've all been there. We've all reached the point where we just can't do any more work or face any more smug Pilates instructors or conceive of cramming an Intro to Portuguese class into the only free afternoon we've had all month.
Of course, we also all know people who seem to breeze through life effortlessly kicking ass and taking names; who always have a plan, are laser focused on the details, and whose to-do lists exist in a perpetual state of done, done, and diggity-DONE. Nine of them are probably superhuman robots built by the government, but I'm willing to bet the rest could use some help getting their shit together too.
In fact, maybe that person I just described—the one with a jam-packed calendar full of high-power lunches—maybe that's you. And maybe you're starting to realize those long hours aren't worth the ivory card stock your fancy business cards are printed on. That the company softball games and charity 10Ks that have consumed your weekends for a year are why you haven't eaten dinner with friends in about as long as those same friends have had "learn Portuguese" on their to-do list. (They all hate you a little bit, but they don't know you're struggling too.)
What would you say if I told you that there's a path straight down the middle for all of us, leading right to the lives we want to live? It's true! This book has something for everyone:
Tips for becoming better organized, motivated, and on time? Check.
Tricks for saving money, setting boundaries, and having difficult conversations with friends, family, and colleagues? Double check.
How about advice for transcending everyday bullshit so you can finally focus on big-time dreams, like changing careers, buying a home, or just moving out of your parents' basement? You. Are. In. Luck. It's all here.
I know what you're thinking. How could so much goodness be contained in such a compact volume?
This is a valid question. The answer is: I'm not here to teach you how to do a million separate things—there isn't enough Purell in the world for that kind of handholding. I'm here to show you how to approach all the different stuff in your life so you can get it done in your own way, on your own schedule. My methods apply to all kinds of shit. And as it happens, I've had some success helping people make changes in their lives using simple advice, a bunch of expletives, and the occasional flowchart.
My first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, was about how to stop spending time you don't have with people you don't like, doing things you don't want to do. The New York Times deemed it "the self-help equivalent of a Weird Al parody song" and the Observer magazine anointed me an "anti-guru." Probably none of this was what my parents had in mind when they sent me off to Harvard, but that's where we are. People all over the world felt the burden of giving too many fucks, and I helped lift that burden by showing them how to give fewer, better ones.
Of course, I also said things like "Sometimes it's okay to hurt people's feelings" and "Wear a gimp suit and sequined heels to your performance evaluation and immediately become the Mayor of No Fucks Given." So, yeah, I guess anti-guru suits me just fine. Maybe I'll get a plaque for my lounge chair.
Anyway, if you've read that book, you know about my crusade for mental decluttering. (If you haven't read it, well, I don't want to be gauche, but there are plenty of copies in circulation.)
In short: needing or wanting to give a fuck about something is not the same as actually being able to do it. For that, you also need to have your shit together.
For example, you may give a fuck about taking a ski vacation and be willing to devote your time and energy "fuck bucks" to the cause, but if you don't have your shit together, you may not have any actual bucks to pay for it. You can clear your calendar of less appealing obligations all you want (Who gives a fuck about "Take Your Child to Work Day"? Not you!)—but without funding, you'll be spending your vacation playing old-school Nintendo Slalom from your futon.
Or maybe you've decided that what's really important in life is having a deep-soaking tub, and you're ready to say "Fuck that skinny shower stall that forces me to shave my legs like a contortionist flamingo!" In this hypothetical, you have the funds with which to make your Calgon-scented dreams come true, but you lack the gumption to get started. You allegedly give a fuck about ease of use, comfort, and bubble baths—but the soaking tub situation is going to require a full bathroom renovation and you don't have the wherewithal to start a big project (hire a plumber, choose a tub, make arrangements to pee somewhere else for two weeks while the work gets done). Instead, you just keep banging your elbows on the shower door every time you reach up to shampoo your hair.
We can work with this. Get Your Shit Together covers
• Who needs to get their shit together, and why
• Three simple tools for getting (and keeping) your shit together
• The Power of Negative Thinking
• How to get out of work on time and save money while you're at it
• Managing anxiety, avoiding avoidance, and conquering your fear of failure
• Making Big (and small) Life Changes
• And tons of other awesome shit!
And although I will tell you how I did it (because it's an instructive example of getting your shit together), I promise this book isn't just a thinly disguised guide to quitting your job and moving to the islands—I'm not sitting here trying to push my life choices on you like some goddamn vegan. You might be someone who enjoys "steady paychecks" and "the rustle of autumn leaves" and whatnot. Or you may be working toward smaller changes, or more amorphous ones. It's all good. I'm just here to help you access the simple, universal wisdom of getting your shit together, for which I happen to be a convenient and willing conduit.
It's worked on my husband; I see no reason it can't reach a broader audience.
Oh, and one more thing:
In this book, "Get your shit together" is not an admonition.
It's a rallying cry.
I admit, sometimes I find myself muttering those four little words under my breath in a somewhat, shall we say, exasperated fashion. You probably do too. For me it's usually at people who show up late and offer completely transparent excuses; at friends who complain about the exceedingly predictable consequences of their terrible life choices; or at fellow passengers who think I guess I'll just sit wherever is a viable strategy for ticketed airline travel.
This book acknowledges that most of us are those people—if not always, then at least once in a while. I mean, you should have seen me trying to file my taxes last year. It was like the blind leading the blind leading a drunk toddler. Mistakes were made.
But ultimately, I have my shit together about 95 percent of the time (my comprehension of federal tax code notwithstanding), and you can too. Before now, you may have been too busy getting in your own way, but I assure you, the potential and the tools are there. I'll show you where it is and how to use them.
When we're finished, you'll have your shit together—and then maybe you can write a book about how to file your motherfucking taxes like a goddamn adult, and I'll be first in line to buy it.
Fantastic. Let's do this shit!
What we talk about when we talk about getting your shit together
We're going to ease in by shoring up the fundamentals.
First, I'll identify who needs to get their shit together and why, which includes a fun story about losing my entire net worth in a New England mall. Next, I'll explain my philosophy on "winning at the Game of Life." (It's not the Charlie Sheen version. Not only did that guy give winning a bad name, he managed to get fired from the number-one-rated network sitcom while he was at it.) Then I'll walk you through the first of many detailed examples of getting your shit together, and show you how life is like an adult coloring book. If you play your cards right, there may even be an ACTUAL COLORING EXERCISE in it for you.
Like I said, one-stop shop.
Finally, I'll introduce you to a very important concept—The Power of Negative Thinking—and reveal how three little everyday tools can help you get your shit together.
You may be surprised to learn you've had them on you all along.
Who needs to get their shit together—and why
Fortunately for moi, lots of people need this book. They walk among us every day, dropping their phones in toilets, forgetting to pay bills, going to job interviews dressed like Frenchy from Rock of Love season two. Such folks include but are not limited to: your friends, family members, classmates, and coworkers; total strangers; and one guy who asked me to send a free autographed copy of my first book to him in Morocco because he can't find it there and also can't afford return postage. That guy needs a straight-up one-on-one tutorial.
But no matter who you are, let it be known that not having your shit together doesn't automatically make you a bad person.
True, Justin Bieber doesn't have his shit together and odds are he's a bona fide jackwagon, but that's a special case. (Call me, Justin!) For most of us, not having our shit together is merely an inconvenient state of being, not a true character flaw. And the good news is that unlike other potentially unsavory states of being, such as "too short" or "from Texas," it can be altered without steel rods or forged birth certificates.
So who are you and in what ways is your shit lacking togetherness? Let's take a look at that spectrum, by way of three recognizable cultural archetypes known as "Alvin and the Chipmunks."*
THEODORE: Relatively hopeless
The youngest of the performing chipmunk brothers, Theodore is sweet, agreeable, and naïve. He's along for the ride, but never, ever in the driver's seat. Like Theodore, some people just can't get it together, period. Full stop. They're constantly spilling on themselves (and others), losing their (and other people's) possessions, and making life far more difficult for themselves (and everybody else) than it needs to be.
These are the folks—however nice and well-intentioned they may be—who are chronically late, underprepared, and overwhelmed. They have to open their suitcases at the airline check-in desk to take out two pairs of shoes, a souvenir mug, and a jar of beach sand that caused their bags to exceed the weight limit. Then they have to frantically figure out how to get this stuff on the plane before everybody in line behind them revolts. If you are a Theodore, fear not—every day doesn't have to be an epic battle. Read on.
ALVIN: Cruises along just fine, but is unable to kick it into high gear
The eldest chipmunk is fun and he talks a good game, but he doesn't plan very far ahead, which frequently gets him into trouble. Alvin's kind of a "fake it till you make it" guy, where the ratio of making it to not making it is weighted toward the latter. When the going gets tough, it's usually his own damn fault—and then he bails, initiating the famously exasperated "Allllllllvin!!!" refrain from his adoptive human dad/manager, Dave. (They're a cartoon family; don't overthink it.)
- On Sale
- Dec 27, 2016
- Page Count
- 304 pages
- Little, Brown and Company