What sort of a relationship do you have with your kettle? When you make yourself a cuppa are you aware of how much you fill it? Is there still boiled water in it after you’ve made your brew? I love finding ways to focus my time on activities that mean something to me. This challenge is a great way to build your awareness around those everyday actions which can have us so busy treading water.
I gave up trying to work out how many KGs of CO2 are released per annum if we overfill the kettle – obviously there is some and it matters. I know people who fill it every time, just for one cup. There are around 14 million grown-up Australians. If half of them overfill the kettle by just a bit, that’s a lot of wasted energy per day.
Next time you start your cuppa-making ceremony, simply pay attention to how much water needs to be boiled – don’t overfill. If you have one of those funky ‘eco-kettles’ you can measure the water and the temperature. If you’re less gadget orientated [like me], use your eye or your judgement. Challenge yourself to fill it just enough for one cup… I’m getting close to nailing it but still have room for improvement after 2 years of trying.
Does this take more time? No – it saves time in filling and boiling.
Does this cost more money? No – it saves water and energy and time.
Does this take more effort? No – less effort – our brains are turned on anyway so let’s use ’em.
What you’re doing is practising ‘mindfulness’ – you’re being in the moment, paying attention to what you’re doing, and finding a way to do the same thing more efficiently and effectively. You’re also meditating in a way, just being in the moment. Mindfulness is invaluable in the process of sustainable design – we need to be aware of our actions, of consequences, of following ingrained habits, of being aware of new opportunities. When we really pay attention to what we’re doing we start to unlock a much broader future, we find better efficiencies and savings.
So this weekend’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to practice midfulness in some everyday tasks. The kettle is a good training ground if you’re a frequent boiler, but it could be food preparation, shower routine, brushing your teeth or even just eating a meal. Then think about how you’d apply the same attitude to your work.
Mindfulness applied to our task can only lead to a better outcome.