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How To Save Five Hours A Week

September 12th, 2008 by Alison · 1 Comment · energy, food & drink, lifestyle

Do you suffer from time poverty, i.e. feel that you don’t have nearly enough time? I periodically do, and I’ve seen it termed an American epidemic. The irony and the good news is that many of what I call the over-activities eating up our time and stressing us are the same over-activities that are eating up our fossil fuels. We can save time, be happier and lower our carbon footprint all at the same time. Here are my favorite ways to save time; please add your own.

Liberate yourself from constant schlepping to the store. Instead, use what’s on hand in creative ways. Out of coffee filters? Use a folded paper towel instead (the coffee I’m drinking right now was made this way; worked great). Out of coffee? Have tea or hot chocolate instead. Even a mug of hot water can be sweetly comforting to mouth, tummy and the hands holding it. Shopping is a time sink. My friend Colleen goes grocery shopping once a month, with just a few trips in between for fresh produce, etc. She has lots of free time.

Stop being a slave to showers. While they have their place, most of us don’t work with mud, nor do we get dirty by sleeping in a clean bed all night. I almost never take showers, but instead save time by doing sponge baths instead, i.e. rubbing a moist washcloth (without soap) all over my body and letting the air dry me. This makes me plenty clean and fresh, and has not lost me any friends yet. And the heating of water uses large amounts of energy, the price of which is going up steadily.

Replace an hour of TV per week with an activity that raises your energy level instead. Research shows that heavy TV watchers actually don’t find it a rewarding use of time, and it lowers their overall energy level. When I resist going running on Mount Tabor (actually one of my favorite activities) I remind myself that that thirty minutes is the best single way I ever use my time. Out the door I go.

Make breakfast or lunch for dinner, instead of cooking a full, conventional dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast, or sandwiches and fruit, are simple to make and clean up, and leave us with time and energy to spare. See Cooking For Climate Change and Update On Cooking For Climate Change.

Free yourself from one hair episode per week. Unless we have the oily hair linked with adolescence, we probably wash and style our hair more than we really need to — and it uses up precious time in the morning. An upswept ponytail lets me go an extra day, and looks nice enough (enough is a key operative word in oh so many areas of life).  Incidentally, hairdryers and curling and flattening irons (like clothes dryers and all other heating elements) are surprising energy hogs; they cost us money with every minute we use them.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Crafty Green Poet

    Good list - I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of small local shops so can shop in between other things like on the way home from work. As for my hair, I’ve not had a hairdryer for years and I only wash my hair once a week.

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