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The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living: 20 Green Ideas from Our Archives

The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living: 20 Green Ideas from Our Archives
The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living

This month’s theme at Lifehack.org is all things Green, but Green issues have been on Lifehack’s radar for a long time. Part of working efficiently and being productive is minimizing wastefulness, whether of our labor or our resources, and Lifehack.org is all about working efficiently. Here, then, are some of the best posts from our archives on how to reduce your environmental impact — while furthering your own goals and bettering your own life.

Consume less

You the Consumer: Written for Blog ACtion Day 2007, this post looks at the history of consumption in the West and the ways it has come to provide meaning (and in some cases, replace it) in our lives. (Dustin M. Wax)

How to Avoid Being Enslaved by Consumerism: If money can’t buy happiness, why do we spend so much energy chasing after it? More importantly, how can we stop?! (Scott H. Young)

Leaving the McMansion for the Small Life: Big homes demand big resources! Think about what your actual needs are, once you strip away the need to keep up with the Joneses with ever-bigger houses to show off and hold your ever-bigger collection of useless junk. (Mike St. Pierre)

Managing your magazine subscriptions: Magazine subscriptions seem to pile up, long after we’ve stopped reading the magazines. Take a few minutes to pare your subscriptions down to the ones you actually get value from. (Leon Ho)

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50 Frugal Blogs: Living frugally is a great way to save both resources and money; this post links to a list of 50 blogs (!) with a regular stream of tips on doing more living with less money. (Craig Childs)

11 Ways to Use Less to Make 2008 Your Best Year Ever: Living with less doesn’t mean living less. Here’s 11 ways to maximize your life while minimizing what you use. (Scott H. Young)

The Cost of Convenience: Getting it quick and easy might be great in the short-term, but favoring value means you’ll get more use out of the things you buy and do — and that’s better for you and the environment. (Rosa Say)

Go paperless

How to Go Paperless: Bury the Paper Before it Buries You: Tips and strategies for creating a paperless "mindset" (Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa)

Recycle

10 Ways to Recycle that Old Computer: With the Next Big Thing in the computer world always just around the corner, old gear piles up quick. Figure out what to do with it with these 10 tips. (Craig Childs)

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10 uses for plastic grocery bags: Put all those plastic bags around you to work with these suggestions. (Kyle Pott)

A Basic Guide to Thrift Store Shopping: One person’s waste may well be your treasure. Shopping at thrift stores is cheap and good for the environment, keeping perfectly usable goods out of landfills and incinerators. (Dustin M. Wax)

Get creative

How to Promote Resourcefulness in Yourself and Others: Be like MacGyver and figure out creative ways to reuse the waste that accumulates around you. (Lorie Marrero)

254 Uses for Vinegar: What is it about vinegar that makes it so useful? You can clean windows with it, sparkle up your dishes with it, help a cough with it — and even put it on salads! (Craig Childs)

Save $988/year by bringing your lunch: Bringing your own lunch to work saves money, but it can also saves resources. Restaurants — especially fast food joints with their paper and styrofoam packaging, plastic cutlery (often wrapped in plastic), and throw-it-out mentality — use a tremendous amount of resources to provide your meal. Save eating out for special occasions. (Kyle Pott)

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Blog Action Day Revisited: Blog Action Day was itself a creative response to environmental degradation — get thousands of bloggers talking up the issues to their readers. Here, the best posts from around the web are collected for easy reference. (Craig Childs)

The 10 Greatest Tools of All Time: Tips on using (and reusing) the tools you have — from WD-40 to empty margarine tubs — for all manner of household tasks. Why buy more stuff if the stuff you have is perfectly suited to the task at hand? (Reg Adkins; this post is a round-up of Reg’s 10-part series)

Eco-Friendly Bedroom: A Lifehack.org Howto Wiki entry on creating a bedroom that puts the environment and your comfort on equal footing.

Other sources

Lifehack.org writers have mentioned a few outside services to help you find more information on living Green. Here are a few:

Playgreen: Playgreen is a green living wiki, with community-contributed information for environmentally conscious lives.

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Green Maven: Kyle Pott recommended Greener, a green search engine, last year. Greener seems to be down now; Green Maven offers the same service, helping websurfers to find information, products, and services for a greener life.

25 cheap ways to keep your home cooler: With summer on its way and energy costs rising steadily, here are some tips to keep your air conditioning usage to an absolute minimum. That means less energy, and lower electricity bills, and there’s nothing wrong with either!

Let us know your own Green tips in the comments — or better yet, drop a link to posts about Green living on your own blog!

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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