How To Live Sustainably When You're Eternally Busy

Yes I'm talking about you. Reading the news during spin class, making lunches while on the phone to your Nan, flicking between 10 different tabs on your browser. If your twenty words into this article, already considering what you are making for dinner and what time you need to get to work, then I'm talking to you too!

Multitasking is a way of life for many of us, and it makes it too easy to fall into a state of being barely committed to living an environmental lifestyle. It's an issue that has led to the rise of 'social media activism' and the decline of real life changes. While it's a nice idea that by liking or sharing a post we can raise awareness for a cause, it's not until we begin making planet-friendlier choices ourselves that we're able to better protect the environment.

We've written before about the importance of saying no to the things that aren't important in order to make way for things you truly care about. Today however, we want to think about embracing busyness, and how it can be used for our own and the planet's advantage.

Feeling like we are constantly letting ourselves down can be frustrating, which can happen when you've got too much on your plate. But embracing this kind of busyness is possible, and it will can even make our impacts more positive on planet. It's time to stop being surprised by how busy we are and start to use that busyness to our advantage.

Busyness typically involves interacting with a large range of people in a variety of spheres. If we are able to take our environmental convictions from our part time job, to decorating our house, volunteering and visiting family and friends, we have the ability to impact every sphere.

Not only does consistently choosing the environmentally friendly option show just how important the planet is, but it also much more effective than just sharing a Facebook status. We can actually do more by being a real person limiting our consumption as much as possible, acknowledging areas we can work on, than we can by clicking a button.

Time Saving Short-Cuts

That being said, here are some short-cuts for when you want to change the world but feel like you don't have the time.

(1) Shake up your shopping habits

Buying in bulk is a great way to love the environment and save time. Rather than shopping on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, stretch it out. Buying dry products like grains in large quantities allows us to use less packaging and cut down on shopping time. Grouping shopping trips and errands together is another great way to cut down on the time spent out of the house.

Similarly, there are often local fresh produce boxes that deliver a weeks worth of locally sourced, season produce to your door. Look around for those opportunities in your city.

Even deciding to say no to just one shopping trip a week can have a big impact on the amount of time and resources. These shopping habits can be reflected when you are thinking about food preparation and saving time while cooking.

(2) Embrace the Online

Say goodbye to stuffing receipts into your wallet, visiting the library once a week to return books and sorting through junk mail. By transferring spheres' of life onto our digital devices, we can minimise time spent searching for lost pieces of paper or information. Taking a photograph of a hardcopy card or choosing to create an online signature rather than printing and then scanning documents are easy ways to limit your energy consumption. Some banks give a financial reward when you switch to paperless billing and account balance sheets. Teleconferencing allows meetings can be carried out online, cutting back on travel time and energy used to travel.

While Facebook activism by itself has a limited impact, online tools can be used to contact politicians, sign petitions and research trips for environmental living. Rather than swearing off Internet activism completely, it's about finding ways that the things we read online can impact our offline busyness.

(3) Accept Compromises
Almost every morning I start off with good intentions about walking to work, run out of time and end up jumping in the car, feeling like a failure. But walking is one of the best environmental options, cycling, catching public transport and even carpooling are all better than nothing. Rather then setting myself up with an expectation which is completely unrealistic and being disappointed, we can plan compromises which can be much more effective. It's important to not let an inability to be perfect stop you from taking your passion for the environment beyond the online sphere.

We've written in the past about what we learnt from failing plastic-free july and feeling like an environmental hypocrite, and these ideas are just are relevant to living a low-carbon lifestyle as any DIY.

Our aim at 1 Million Women is to equip women with the power to alter their treatment of the environment, not simply by clicking 'like' on the ideas we post but by putting them into practice in our lives. It can be difficult when we feel overly busy, but it's important to remember that by making small choices and changes we are able to make a big difference!

While we are all cursed (blessed?) by busy lifestyles, it's important to remember that we can use this to our advantage. Rather than retreating to our online platforms, it's time to embrace the busyness, live for the environment in each sphere of our lives and transfer the online into the offline world.

Images: Shutterstock

Hannah Steele Intern Suggest an article Send us an email