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Cheap and Easy Ways to Live Green and Save Money

Cheap and Easy Ways to Live Green and Save Money

Living green isn’t always synonymous with saving money, but thanks to innovation and new technology, living green and saving money can go hand in hand. It is absolutely possible to commit to a life of living green while not compromising a monthly budget. Many times, living green is actually better for your wallet because it is not always necessary to invest in expensive equipment to get you started on the right track.

Change Your Habits

This is quite possible the easiest way to save energy. You should begin by remembering to turn electronics off when they are not being used, especially if they are plugged in. This can include televisions and computers, which use up a lot of energy even when they are not being used. In addition to this, there are items that are “phantom loads”. These are the things that seem to be turned off but still draw power. The television remote and entertainment system are examples of these leeches.

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Easy Swaps

Often times, there is a more efficient alternative to an appliance that you already own. A simple toaster uses much less energy than a toaster oven (900 watts compared to 1300), so opt for the toaster if you are just making a few pieces of toast. Instead of using your regular oven, opt for a slow cooker. This is more energy efficient and you won’t have to worry about burning the meal. It also takes much less tending to. When using a computer, choose a laptop over a desktop. This will not only save on space, but also on energy. Interestingly enough to go with your computer, an internet USB stick can plug into the computer and will use less energy than a modem and router setup.

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New Appliances

When the time comes that you are in the market for buying a new large appliance, look at the energy that it uses as well as other features that it may have. Many time you can find how many kWh they use per year. Choose the lowest number on the appliance that has all of the features that you need. There have been major changes made in appliances being energy efficient since 1992.

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Other Tips

  1. It is very important to remember not to waste energy while you aren’t home. This means heating and cooling an empty house is a no-no. In the winter, 68 degrees is sufficient while you are home, and 55 degrees while you are away.
  2. You can make your refrigerator more efficient by cleaning the coils. Vacuum the dust out and then wipe with a damp cloth.
  3. Carpool with neighbors or coworkers. This will not only save you money, but on the days that you are not driving, you can actually relax on the commute.
  4. Start your own compost pile in your backyard. There are lots of items that can be made into compost, so it will also cut down on your overall garbage.
  5. To go paperless, read your news online, and cancel subscriptions to magazines and newspapers.
  6. Start using cloth napkins rather than paper, file taxes electronically, and opt to receive bills via email rather than snail mail.
  7. Talk to your power company about installing solar panels for energy. This is not a totally cheap option, but it can give you a tax credit and cut back your monthly electric bill. It is something that will pay off over time.
  8. Pack your lunch in a paper bag rather than plastic, and choose foods with minimal packaging that will end up in the trash.
  9. Save water by repairing leaky faucets and installing water saving toilets and shower heads, and only running the washer and dishwasher when they are full.

The end result of utilizing these cheap and easy ideas is that you’ll be operating a house on about a quarter of the power most households use.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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