Category: Simple living

Tony Robbins discusses tuning in and being productive

| October 22, 2014 | 1 Reply

A friend recently told me about Tony Robbins. I had heard the name but didn’t appreciate who he actually was. This extended interview of Robbins by another productivity guru, Tim Ferriss, is well worth your time. I’m only half-way through and much of what Robbins says is resonating with me.

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How to be productive rather than busy

| October 22, 2014 | 2 Replies

Eric Barker offers some excellent advice on how to stop being busy. I’m really appreciating and implementing many of the ideas he so succinctly presents. This article urges that you stop being busy and start being productive. Here’s the nutshell:

Just because the other people at the office are overscheduled and the other parents are doing 1000 things doesn’t mean you need to.

We all only have 1440 minutes a day. Accept you can’t do it all, focus on what’s important and do that well.

We’re all jealous of the people who are calm and cool under pressure. Be that person.

Next time someone asks how you’re doing, don’t talk about how busy you are. Don’t get sucked into thinking busy means important.

Busy doesn’t make you important. Doing the important things you need to do makes you important.

I could spend hours reading Barker’s summaries of his science-based self-improvement advice, which seems counter-productive.  But I’m going to work hard to implement many of these suggestions–many of them ring true.

Related excellent article by Eric Barker: 6 Things The Most Productive People Do Every Day Here’s the intro:

People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive (U.S.: 45 hours a week; 16 hours are considered unproductive).

Lots of good advice on how not to fritter away one’s time.

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Tip for folding shirts in 2 seconds

| June 21, 2013 | 1 Reply

I saw this quirky video, tried it and like it. Truly, 2 seconds to fold a shirt.

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Annie Leonard: Stay home on Black Friday

| November 14, 2012 | 1 Reply

Annie Leonard (“The Story of Stuff”) urges us to stay home on Black Friday, offering us some stunning images in this one-minute video:

What else is there to do? Fifty years ago, people would have thought you were an idiot to even ask this question.

Although I have NEVER shopped on Black Friday, I signed Annie Leonard’s Pledge.

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People actually moved their money

| October 8, 2012 | 1 Reply

A couple years ago, in response to Arianna Huffington’s “Move your Money” campaign, I moved my money from a regional bank to a non-profit credit union. I wasn’t alone, as the Guardian reports:

In the US . . . from the start of 2009 to mid-2010, 1.5 million members joined credit unions in a year – the number of new members usually expected in a 14-year period. When you examine how credit unions works, it’s easy to see why.

Unlike big banks, credit unions don’t engage in any form of casino finance. When you deposit money into a credit union account, it isn’t invested anywhere or gambled in any way. The only time it is used by the credit union is when it is loaned to other account holders; and even then it is guaranteed by an FSA scheme, meaning that it won’t be lost if the loan repayments aren’t met. Those who join credit unions are not customers, but members – like a co-operative.

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How to make an island

| June 19, 2012 | 1 Reply
How to make an island

Do you need to get away from it all? Do you crave an island of your own? Richie Sowa was in that position. Rather than find an island or buy one, he decided to make his own. The foundation of his island is consists of empty plastic water bottles.

Sowa is now growing his own bananas, coconuts, spinach, almonds and tomatoes. In the video below, he says that he has everything he wants. Although his island is currently in Mexico, he plans to keep increasing the size of the island, until he sets out to sea.

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We are moving from the few and big to the small and many

| November 26, 2011 | Reply
We are moving from the few and big to the small and many

At Orion Magazine, Bill McKibben has noted a trend in energy production, information, health care, banking and (believe it or not) farming:

[W]e’re moving, if we’re lucky, from the world of few and big to the world of small and many. We’ll either head there purposefully or we’ll be dragged kicking, but we’ve reached one of those moments when tides reverse.

This movement to the small and many is a democratic movement, and McKibben’s comment about the “tides revering” refers to the fact that “small and many” will be resisted by those who can profit by confiscating and retaining large-scale control:

In our world, most of those people are not actually persons—we call them corporations. But their power over our democracy is very real, and on the farm and on the trading floor and in the hospital ward they’re doing their very best to block the transitions we need. Their money, earned under the old bigger-is-better paradigm, gives them great power to block change: just look at how skillfully the fossil fuel industry has used the Tea Party to stifle legislation that would speed the transition to renewable energy. Watch Big Ag write the next Farm Bill—it won’t be pretty.

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To spend or not to spend

| October 4, 2011 | Reply
To spend or not to spend

According to this article at MSNBC, the failure of U.S. consumers to spend lots of money has screwed up the U.S. economy:

For the time being, it looks like American consumers are AWOL. And until they come back, don’t expect to see any real recovery in economic growth and the job market. Consumer spending typically accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

But here’s another way of looking at things. Annie Leonard has made a good case that out-of-control consumer spending has been wrecking our society, as she explains in “The Story of Stuff.”

Leonard now offers a free school curriculum based on The Story of Stuff. It is called “Buy, Use, Toss?”

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Is Penny Wisdom Plain Foolish?

| December 8, 2010 | 6 Replies
Is Penny Wisdom Plain Foolish?

I spent an hour this evening fixing an appliance that I bought at a yard sale many years ago for a coin. Not only that, but I solely and regularly use this appliance for my daily work. You may wonder, how do I use a potpourri crock pot for work? As the heater part of a small double boiler for an etchant that can eat through glass or titanium, of course.

And what can go wrong with a crock pot? Well, this one has been dropped a couple of times. But the crack was dealt with well enough some years ago by a liberal application of Acrylic monomer (Super Glue).

So what was wrong now? The crack had weakened the heating element (the hair-thin Ni-chrome filament) and it finally burned through.

So I took the thing apart and spliced in a bit of brass wire that I had lying around. That delicate job turned out to be the easy part, given strong magnifying goggles, tiny tools, and decades of fix-it experience.

But these diabolical inexpensive units are designed to not-be reassembled. They had actually added an extra part to the design to make reassembly impossible. It took me over a half hour to outwit the designers and get the base re-attached in a manner that would let me take it apart again in the future.

For a dozen tax-deductible dollars I can have a new one delivered to my house via eBay. Why do I regularly chose to repair disposable appliances?

My parents both went through economic times much worse than the U.S. Depression, each losing nearly everything but their lives. They raised me with essential parsimony. Not actual deprivation, mind you. Just a frugal mindset that pervades my being.

But now I have predictable (if meager) income, and no debt. I have money in the bank, and could afford nice things. But it just feels wasteful to throw away something that I can fix. I mentioned this in “How Does a Microwave Work?

Things I no longer need may end up on eBay. I usually net less than minimum wage for my time on most of these sales. But the widget/parts/book gets a new life with someone who really wants it, and the post office makes some money.

Yet I regularly ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

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