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14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

You don’t have to knit your own patchouli-scented yogurt and start raising llamas in order to have a greener, more Earth-friendly lifestyle. Sustainable living isn’t about dressing in hemp and reeking of self-righteousness, and it doesn’t mean turning into a folk-music-loving, car-abstaining carbon warrior. It isn’t about radically changing who you are. But you can change a few things you do, to benefit both you and the world we live in.

1. Save on grocery bills.

How often do you get home from the grocery store, having spent another hundred bucks to load up your fridge, only to find you’re chucking out a bag of slimy lettuce that never met a fork, or some lunch meat that’s turned iridescent blue? Make a list, stick to it and be sure to eat what you’ve bought before your next trip to the store. Food waste costs you and the planet, while throwing money at multinational producers and retailers.

2. Not quite freeganism, but—

If there’s a dented box of cereal or a can of baked beans with the label partially torn off, does it makes a difference to the stuff inside? Probably not. Look for items that might be marked down—often just before closing time—to stock your cupboards or freezer and save it from going to waste.

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3. Freeze it/Preserve it.

While you’re at it, why not make use of that freezer by stocking it with more than just ice cream. Cook up a big batch of chili or a pasta bake and freeze it to save you time in the kitchen in the future. Or bulk-buy fruits or vegetables that can be canned as jam, chutney or preserved for making a marinara or bbq sauce later.

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    4. Grow it yourself.

    Whether you have just enough room on your windowsill for a few herbs or a backyard just waiting for you to get digging, make 2014 the year you start growing. There are countless websites with advice on what time of year is best to plant certain things, what kind of soil or extra nutrients they need and when and how to start harvesting.

    5. Set and eggsample.

    Now, not everyone should try raising chickens. If you’re not going to take care of them by building a predator-proof pen with room to roam, or make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep and lay their eggs (that you clean regularly), or enough food and water, don’t bother; but that’s about all chickens need to be happy egg-layers. They’re generally quiet and pretty low-maintenance, and you can learn everything else you need to know through publications such as

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    Your Chickens magazine. (Yes, there really is a Your Chickens magazine).2632524020_fe557e500d

      6. Go to the source.

      Most towns and cities have a regular farmers’ market, where shoppers can buy right from the producers. This supports local growers and vastly decreases the food miles (and carbon footprints) that build up when consumers buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables shipped from the other side of the world. The produce is fresher, tastier and you get a better selection, plus you can ask about growing methods (is it organic or treated with pesticides or herbicides?) and discover new varieties and cooking ideas.

      7. Picnic with a difference.

      If you live in the country or make weekend escapes to the great outdoors, look for wild foods growing in public areas. Roadsides—unless they are quiet back roads—aren’t ideal for picking berries, fruit or wild salad greens, but you can forage your heart out in parks and other public land. If nothing else, the fresh air and exercise are good for you!

      8. Pedal power.

      If you don’t have a bicycle, rent one to see what style of bike suits you best. Riding a bike is good for your health and the planet’s.

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        9. Car pool.

        Can you share rides to work? If you’re nowhere near public transportation, you might find like-minded individuals willing to share a lift and cut down on emissions.

        10. Walk the walk.

        Do you really need to drive everywhere? Whether it’s deliberately taking a space at the far end of a parking structure, finding a pedestrian-friendly way of getting to work or just getting out for an evening stroll—yes, even in the snow—walking is a safe cardiovascular workout that’s as easy on your joints as it is on your environmental impact.

        11. Energize your living space.

        Homeowners waste a huge amount of money on inefficient houses. Do an energy audit to find out if your windows and doors are sufficiently sealed, if you need newer/more/different insulation and if there are other energy-saving changes you can make. Cut your bills while giving Mother Nature a break.

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        12. Don’t just dump it.

        Rather than sending an old appliance or piece of furniture to an incinerator or landfill, can someone else make use of it? Is there a housing charity, secondhand store or message board where your castoffs can find a new home? Alternatively, you might find free beach chairs, a grill or some curtains on Freecycle or a similar site.

        13. Watch what you wash—and dry.

        Make sure you’re not doing small loads of laundry and don’t wash it on a higher temperature than is necessary. Can you hang clean laundry on a drying rack or clothesline? You’ll save money without wasting energy.

        14. Get creative.

        There are countless ways to contribute toward greener living. Whether it’s sharing your skills, getting the message out, starting a car pooling or local recycling group, small steps can add up in big ways.

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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