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Blog Action Day Revisited

Blog Action Day Revisited

Monday the 15th October saw the Blog Action Day project begin. Kicking things off with the very and, maybe always, timely topic of the environment.

In my mind, it was a success. And to celebrate how much the blogging community got on board, I want to share some of the best posts that came out of Blog Action Day.

Blog Action Day Stats

Seven tips for how simultaneously to boost your happiness and safeguard the environment (in your own small way) by The Happiness Project suggests some simple practices to make you feel better about yourself and the environment.

Leveraging Ideas suggests there may be an environmental impact from virtual worlds such as SecondLife in Environmental Concerns In Virtual Worlds.

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GearFire Student Productivity has 6 tips to save on the electricity your computer uses while hinting to taking public transport while away from the monitor in 7 Ways To Conserve Precious, Precious Electricity.

Cranking Widgets’ Tips For Environmentally Friendly GTD are using either recycled paper, digital tools instead of paper, or at least using the entire sheet of paper!

On a similar note is Kate Davis’ idea of Using GTD To Reduce Negative Environmental Impacts. After all, GTD is for everything and everybody.

Want to start Getting To Know Your Environment? David Seah tells you how:

More importantly with regards to me, I need to live in it. Even more specifically, I need to be aware of it. From a purely selfish reason, there may be secrets in the Environment that will help me in much the same way that hike through Winchester opened my eyes to just how much more glorious Nature could be, and how I could be bound with it.

If you work from home you may already be doing your part saving the environment, says Success From The Nest as Simply Thrifty talks about your water usage.

Lifehacker has some Easy Ways To Live Greener with software, tips and hacks. If you want to put your two cents in they have a poll for each idea.

Leo at ZenHabits goes all out giving us 5 Ways To Save the World, While Getting Fitter, Saving Money, Simplifying, and Becoming Happier. The topic was only the environment, right?! :)

Scott H Young goes a similar route with Save The World And Improve Your Health At The Same Time. His final suggestion to Get Involved is a vital element when discussing any of these posts. What good is a Blog Day without the Action?

If you think your job can’t be friendly to our environment, then check out Top 5 reasons green workplaces make their employees happy at work by the Chief Happiness Officer Alex Kjerulf.

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Ririan simplifies things again with 10 Simple Ways You Can Save the Planet and Money while The Positivity Blog has 20 Simple Ways to Help the Environment by Using Your Computer.

The Dumb Little Man himself, Jay White, shows us a few Items You Never Thought To Recycle like car batteries and shoes. Pst, have you noticed I’m just recycling blog posts?

Freelance Folder’s How We Can Help Save The Earth drew upon stats, Jon’s own environmental tips as well as a plethora of Blog Action Day resources like this one. Apparently only 3-5% of plastics are recycled in any way!

Get into the habit of things with OrganizeIT and 20 Tips For Laying The Foundations Of Your Environmentally Friendly Habit.

LifeDev has some controversial suggestions like If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow, If It’s Brown Flush It Down. There are indeed Small Changes In Your Bathroom, Big Benefits For The Environment.

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The environmental wellness principle is a term that I’m going to coin right now. If you aren’t benefiting the environment, you’re harming it. It’s as simple as that. If you’re reading this, you have internet access, which means you know, or can easily find out, many ways to be environmentally friendly. The only thing that remains is to choose benefit over harm.

That’s a big call from Alex Shalman, but we understand what he’s saying. It’s that old ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’ mentality that is very warranted in this day and age.

blog action day

On that note, we end with Dustin’s excellent post over here at Lifehack.org called You The Consumer. It includes a brief history of consumerism as well as a checklist for those of us trying to become better shoppers, environmentalists, human beings.

Please feel free to add your own favorites. Over 20,000 blogs participated so be sure to check out BlogActionDay.org to read about them all.

It’s almost a week on, how do you think it went? What have you been doing in response? What are your suggestions for next year?

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More by this author

Craig Childs

Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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