SASM 006 – Habit Stacking, Simplifying, and Your Wakeup Call with Courtney Carver

Courtney Carver

Courtney Carver knows a lot of great ways to simplify life.

Whether it’s her collaboration with Tammy Stroebel on Your Lovely Life, teaming up with Leo of Zen Habits on the ClutterFree book and course, The Goodblog Project, or entrepreneur business planning assistance (just to name a few), she’s helping people all over the place.

And if you like bite-sized improvements that you can act upon immediately, this is for you. Wisdom like this is only the beginning.

What you call it isn’t nearly as important as what you do with it. – Courtney Carver

Her home base is Be More with Less and this is where I first learned about her. Courtney’s ability to concisely and powerfully explain what most people can’t put into words separates her from almost everyone else. And she’s as genuine, warm, and supportive as they come.

Basically, she’s a perfect fit for SASM. Chalk up yet another place that Courtney’s providing tremendous help (right here).

So grab your coffee, tie your running shoes, or settle into a comfy spot for this chat. I learned a ton from Courtney and you can too.

What You’ll Learn

I think some minor spoilers from this episode are in order. Don’t worry, there are plenty of surprises left in our bag of tricks.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • What habit stacking is and why it has amazing benefits.
  • How to pay yourself first and have plenty left over for everyone else.
  • Using your own wake up call to help other people avoid theirs.
  • Whether the differences between simplicity and minimalism are real.
  • The deal we made about Mexico and Buenos Aires.
  • The biggest benefit when simplicity is added to life.
  • The story behind the quote, “I ask for a moment instead of putting on this super woman façade.”
  • Making doing work you love accessible through minimalism.

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode Include:


  • [03:24] Courtney tells us her origin story and some past challenges
  • [07:21] The beauty of the blogosphere
  • [16:31] Are there differences between simplicity and minimalism?
  • [22:11] How Courtney uses her blog to curate the best stuff
  • [25:30] Habit stacking
  • [31:04] How far away Courtney is from living on the beach in Mexico
  • [35:29] Courtney’s message to everyone about the power of story

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And if you have someone or something you’d like us to cover on an upcoming show, tell us in the comments below.


15 Responses to SASM 006 – Habit Stacking, Simplifying, and Your Wakeup Call with Courtney Carver

  1. Erin says:

    Wow. So I thought my favorite part was going to be minimalism vs simplifying. Then I got to the part where Courtney shared her final thing, which was lovely and inspiring and encouraging! I very much appreciate you guys recording this enlightening conversation and sharing it with us :-)

    • I can’t say it enough. Courtney’s really awesome in many, many ways. This interview and the knowledge she shares is just the latest example. I’m glad you got a lot out of it Erin!

  2. Denise says:

    I resonated with the habit stacking first thing in the morning – taking that time for you. Giving yourself that time, imo, makes it easier to give your energy in different places throughout the day.

    One of my greatest challenges is finding personal/private/quiet time. I can’t remember when was the last time I had a fully engaged conversation with someone in quiet without interruption, or taking any personal time without interruption. After a while, that takes a toll – I start to lose my sense of self a little. My point, is that taking care of you and your mental space however it is that suits you is definitely not selfish – I agree with Courtney there. Everyone benefits – you and the people in your life.

    I might have to try that – create an early morning routine to get my day off to a better start.

    Great discussion!

    • Hey Denise,

      Courtney sure made the benefits of habit stacking clear and powerful. I think I have enough information from her to start my own, not that I need an invitation to do it or anything, but I’m looking forward to seeing her mini-mission article about it. Like you, I need to define what is so important for the pace and energy of my day to stack a bunch of things on top of each other. I don’t think I’d do it first thing in the morning though. It would probably have to wait until Melinda and Grant have headed off to work/day care and take up some space in the mid-morning.

      It’s a great challenge to think about and I believe just about everyone could benefit from it.

  3. Ethan says:

    I love the discussion about minimalism vs. simplicity! I find that minimalism has more connotations of the white room/modern furniture/black shirts than simplicity. For some reason, the concept of simplicity feels less rigid to me. Like minimalism is an end and simplicity is a means to an end.

    Thanks for having Courtney on the show.. I’m a big fan of her work!

    • Did I miss the memo that as a minimalist, I’m supposed to wear black shirts all the time? Pass it along if you find it (along with my missing TPS reports).

      I like the way you describe your differences between minimalism and simplicity. But I’m starting to lean towards the Courtney Camp that it’s less what you call it and more what you do with it. By the way, if Courtney actually had something called “The Courtney Camp”, I think I’d sign up for it. Are the branding and marketing folks at Be More with Less listening? :)

  4. These series are fantastic! Subscribed on iTunes so I am not so late getting the next one =-)

    • Hi Coach! I still get a kick out of typing that for some reason.

      Since there’s no such thing as late for timeless content like Courtney’s words of wisdom, there’s only early and earliest. I appreciate you wanting to be one of the people who get future episodes of SASM as early as possible though. Subscribing on iTunes is the perfect way to do it!

      • I am actually pretty fond of it myself.

        I gotta say it really helps that you put the player in the posts and make it downloadable.

        In iTunes there is no pause. So when I want to refer back it makes you start from the beginning. =-(

        But luckily you are all over it!

  5. Sarah says:

    I’ve heard of habit stacking from others – it’s definitely a thing. I really enjoyed this conversation Joel, so thanks for sharing it. I had sort of soured on minimalism but am still embracing simplicity, so it was really interested to read about how Courtney views the difference between the two. Thanks as always for all the juicy thought-provoking stuff!

    • Ask good questions and you’ll normally get good answers. That’s what I do! And on the topic of habit stacking, I looking it up about chatting with Courtney and yes, as you know, it’s definitely a thing. A very cool thing.

  6. Leila says:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  7. Hanna Risteli says:

    Thank you for the list of topics on this podcast with the times! Listening to people talking is by far not my favorite way of learning, but having some sort of clarity about what was included was enough for me to keep listening and I was also able to skip a couple of bits I was not that interested in at the moment. This made a big difference for me as it allowed me to enjoy what you had on offer. Thank you. :)

    • Thanks for the appreciation, Hanna. Most podcasters don’t have timestamps in their show notes, but I know I like it when they do. And if I dig something, then others probably do, too. It’s just one more little way to make Smart and Simple Matters worth your while.

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