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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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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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