March 27, 2010

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is happening right now — tonight at 8:30 local time. It’s a collective action that probably 5 to 10 percent of the world’s population is participating in — shutting off their lights for one hour. It’s a way to save money on electricity and a chance to look at the night sky (weather permitting, of course).

Turning off the lights would seem to interfere with your usual activities, but since it’s only for an hour, it won’t really. If you’re like most people, there are so many things you have in mind to do that it won’t be any trouble at all to come up with an hour’s worth of things to do that don’t require lights in the evening.

To participate in Earth Hour, just turn out the lights for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m. local time. To see what this looks like in cities around the world, take a look at the pictures at the Earth Hour web site

March 13, 2010

“It’s Never About the Clutter”

A few days ago I had the chance to pick up and look at a book purporting to use ideas from personal organization to help people lose weight. This was a book that was released to great fanfare a few years ago, but it never caught on, and flipping through the pages, it was easy to see why.

March 10, 2010

Planning Is Guessing

The new book Rework might be about managing in big business, but what the authors have to say about planning applies just as well in any part of life. The authors don’t use the word suspense in the essay “Planning Is Guessing,” but they don’t have to:

March 07, 2010

Abundance Thinking vs. Fear of Nothing

Louise Hay’s new post “Clearing Your Clutter” is a nice summary of the major issues people face in addressing clutter: it’s easier to add than to take away; the energetic basis of clutter; the influence of thinking from the Great Depression (which affects all of us, whether we realize it or not).

Hay explains the issues surrounding clutter, but doesn’t offer an answer for it, beyond paying attention and remember to feel a sense of prosperity. It is a difficult answer because, if you’re like most people, spending time around clutter is enough to take away all your feelings of prosperity. How can you feel the wealth of the universe when you are stuck in the debris of your life?

This is why I suggest to people to address clutter only a few minutes at a time at first. You can get a few things taken care of before the focus on clutter drains away your feeling of abundance. But there is more to it than this.

March 04, 2010

The End of Closets Stuffed Full of Clothes

Last year’s biggest fashion trend, from my vantage point at least, was wearing the clothes of the year before. Most people, suffering from the financial pressure of a recession, didn’t buy any new clothes — but that doesn’t make it a fashion trend. What made it a fashion trend was that people who did buy new clothes mostly weren’t wearing them, preferring instead to follow the trend by wearing their slightly older clothes.

And this year? Simon Doonan, writing in the New York Observer, says this is “The End of Trends”: “Nobody is keeping score. All bets are off. Anything goes, even scrunch boots.”

March 01, 2010

How Big Is Hoarding?

Hoarding, holding on to possessions that do not advance a person’s life or that would be more valuable elsewhere, can have a huge impact on the life of an individual or a household — but how big is it in the world outside? It is bigger than you would think. Hoarding is so widespread that it can move the world’s largest national economy. As I wrote in my Shamanic Economist blog today, hoarding by businesses was so big in the fourth quarter of 2009 that it gave the worst recession in recent U.S. history the appearance of a recovery for that quarter.

Economic recovery sounds like a good thing, but it is a tragedy when thousands of businesses are spending billions of dollars on things that they can only store for later, and ultimately throw away at additional expense. Yet in the United States, we are all part of a culture of hoarding. It is part of the pre-industrial mindset that comes to us from the 19th century, and most of the time, we are not even aware of the ways the hoarding mentality colors our thinking. What is needed is a shift in emphasis from preserving the value of things, as important as that is, to maximizing our ability to work, which is ultimately what will deliver our success.

We can all be part of the solution by making this shift in our individual lives. If you are thinking of buying something that you realistically may never have the chance to use, let it pass. Focus instead on acquiring the things you need for what you are doing right now — the things that will improve your ability to deliver immediate results. Clear away clutter and give yourself more room to work. Shorten your to-do list so that you can take more immediate action. This all sounds terribly mundane until you start doing it, and then you realize: the shift in emphasis from things to action is a shift potentially big enough to change everything.