Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Dreaded Checklist

It's time for me to do something I absolutely despise.

It's time to create that dreaded checklist.

See, I can't stand the things.  While I'm perfectly ok with the idea of creating a shopping list, that's about the 'listiest' that I get.  Checklists have this great ability to remind me of just how much I still need to get done.  They feel like a tangible list of my inadequacies.

I know, I know...

I'm being overly dramatic.  A list doesn't really change how much needs to be done, after all.  My problem simply relates to the fact that I can see it all spelled out, t's crossed and i's dotted.

But sometimes it needs to be done.  

Crying woman whining, "Oh, why me? Why...?"
See?  I told you I was being dramatic!

Previously I mentioned my home energy report.  I talked about how much I couldn't change, which is actually quite a bit, but I also mentioned that I have a particularly nasty habit of using too much electricity.  My natural gas usage is actually great, when we consider what I have to work with, but electricity?

It's time to get serious.

And so the dreaded checklist begins....

Unrolled parchment standing tall, holding out its arms menacingly while laughing with it's jagged-toothed mouth.

I picked up a pen and paper...

and sat.

For a while.

A really, really long while.

I got up again, and took a break.  I mean, sure... I hadn't gotten anything done.  But!  I did sit there for quite a while, so that counts for something, right?


Well... drat.

I sat down again, staring at the dreaded checklist.  It stared back up at me.  Laughing.  Mocking me.

We had a major stare down.

Stick figure holding up a paper.  Paper and figure are staring angrily at each other.

It was tough, but I won.

::cue overly loud shouts of joy::

In the end, I finally managed to add actual words to that piece of paper, and begin the dreaded list.

Here's what I have so far:

1.  Begin with the computer.  

I shut it down every night, but even though it's shut down, it still uses power.  In honesty, this was always a strange idea to me.  Why on earth would it still be using power?  But it really does.  I found this out when I accidentally left my phone charging via USB cable one night.  I woke up to a fully charged phone staring up at me with bright screen lights... and the little lightning bolt symbol that shows it's still actively sucking energy.


I need to move the power strip into an easy to reach location so that I can switch that off, as well.  This will instantly ensure that the computer and my two monitors aren't drawing energy.

2.  Unplug all device chargers when not in use.

This is another big one for me.  See, I use handheld devices more than anything else.

There's the 3DS, which gives me hours of game-playing joy.  Then there's my Nook.  I use it for reading, watching Netflix, taking notes... the list goes on. There's also my laptop, which I use for all of my non-blog writing, as well as the courses I've begun via MIT's OpenCourseWare project. And of course... my smartphone.

There are other items, as well, like my rechargeable drill, but devices like that aren't used all that frequently.

This all adds up.  Being vigilant in regard to unplugging the chargers will lower my energy use significantly.

Unfortunately, this is where I pause in my list creation, drawing a blank.  That dreaded checklist is harder to create than you'd think!

See, I've already done much of what's advised:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Unplug all of that other stuff when not in use: coffee makers, juicers, hair dryers, etc.
  • switch over to energy efficient bulbs.
  • Run only full dishwasher loads.
  • Turn off the oven about 5 minutes before removing the food inside... same with the range.
  •  Use lids so that temperatures don't have to be set as high.
  • Open curtains to use natural lighting.
Now I need to work on doing more.

I know what you're thinking. Two items can hardly be called a list... 

But it's a start.  I'll need to discover more ways to reduce electricity use in my home, in order to reduce my carbon footprint, but I'm on the right track.

What's most important when it comes to reducing your energy use isn't what you've already done.  

Rather, it's the emphasis you place on finding solutions to continue reduction, and applying that knowledge.  Every little bit counts, and every success is exciting.

We all have to start somewhere, and when you've got an energy sucking mess like I have, the only way to go is forward!  Are you having a problem with energy reduction?  Well, grab a pen and paper, and start that dreaded checklist with me.

Let's work toward something great!

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