The energy of habits
Due to the expansion of datacenters we need more and more energy. Energy can be taken environmentally friendly via windmills or solar panels, but this is not enough. In order to have enough energy in the future we shouldn’t have to limit ourselves only on the ways of getting energy. More importantly, we need to be able to transport it to the right places, according to the specialists. What can we do to make sure we have enough energy available in the future?
Maybe instead of thinking how to obtain energy via environmental friendly ways we need to ask ourselves the question: are we able to live with less energy? What is energy worth to us? We might need to start with ourselves? How much energy do we use? Can we reduce this amount? And do we know how much energy is needed in order to perform a search on Google?
In a competition for the best sustainable ideas I wrote a project plan to get rid of our clothes dryer. The dryer is one of our most energy consuming pieces of electronics in our households and also useless if you think that it does something for you that goes automatically and for free if you use a drying rack. When talking to people everybody agrees on this, but still many of us do have a dryer to dry their clothes. Most of the time this is from a convenience perspective, but maybe as well as because it is totally embedded in our view on which appliances are a must in our households.
If you think about it, it is about changing our behavior, our habits and our way of thinking. To change habits isn’t easy. But, if you read the book ‘The Power of Habit’ from Charles Duhigg you get the insights on how it can work. There are three main takeaways:
- Habits work in loops of three steps: cue, routine and reward;
- You can change your habits by replacing one part of the loop;
- Willpower is the most important habit and you can train it.
So instead of having just energy available, we can start changing our habits and using less energy. In case of the clothes dryer we might need to change the position of the dryer so it becomes easier to just hang it on the drying rack instead of putting it in the drying machine. Or you might want to promise yourself a beautiful new dress when you accomplished to not use the drying machine for one month.
If you compare it to our habits at the office, you might recognize that you eat your lunch behind your desk. A great canteen can help to motivate you to take a real break. Also putting your lunch in the fridge in the kitchen might help you to change the routine and start to eat in the kitchen instead of behind your desk.
Now think about what habits you have that might cost additional time in processing your tasks at work. If you know that you’ve the habit to check your phone every 5 minutes, which slows you down and keep you out of concentration, you might start to wonder how to change this habit in order to perform better. Or you might want to put less energy in debating who is right or wrong and instead put your energy in debating how to come to a solution together.
If you think about habits we have many of them. Luckily, as it will help us to move throughout the day. However, it will be good to just stop and think about your own habits. Watch them, decide if they are good or not and if you want to change them. If it is in regards to energy control at your work or in your private life.