Can Sustainability and Minimalism Improve Your Happiness?

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

 

In Graham Hill’s TED talk, he asks if having less stuff can lead to more happiness. He makes the case that when we own less, and in turn need less space, we will have less debt, more money, more freedom, more time, and we’ll also be leaving a smaller environmental impact. He believes that these things combined would lead to less stress and a happier life.

 

You can move into a 600 square foot home and eliminate most of your stuff, but you only have to do a little bit in order to make an impact on your happiness and positivity. In this article, we’ll discuss how bringing minimalism and sustainability into your life can improve your overall happiness.

Happy Communities

Your home makes a big impact on your happiness. Like Graham states, a bigger home is more expensive and leaves a greater footprint on the environment, leading to more debt and more stress. But the size of your home isn’t the only factor impacting your life. Your community, location, and accessibility all play a major role.

 

Sustainable living, and sustainable communities, commonly boast a higher quality of living, not in luxury but in fulfillment. Sustainable living can help nurture economic and environmental health, and social equity. In sustainable communities, everyone is expected to do their part and everyone works toward a healthy lifestyle for all that live in the community. But it takes work.

 

Look for sustainable communities, or community groups in your area to get involved and become a happier person by working with others toward the same goal. Or start one in your own neighborhood. Do a self-evaluation of your home and find out what you can do to make your home, and your community, more sustainable for the environment and for your own finances.

Minimalist Living Tips

Sustainability and minimalism often go hand-in-hand. Minimalism is known to improve your life in many ways, but at its core, minimalism leads to more time, money, and less stress. These three simple changes can end up providing more memories with your family, new hobbies, more adventures and travel, and more creativity. But you don’t have to move into a tiny house to be a minimalist. Here are a few simple tips to live a more minimalist life:

 

At first, it is important to remember minimalism is a mindset. It’s not only about minimizing your material possessions. A big part of minimalism is working to focus on individual things or activities one at a time. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, minimalists stay in the present moment in everyday life. It’s easier said than done, but here are a few tips to help:

 

  • Actively take note of what is happening in the present moment.
  • Meditate.
  • Take a technology break.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Start a journal or just write down your thoughts.

 

Next, it’s time to cut down on the clutter. But you don’t have to go through your whole house with a fine-tooth comb. Start with the one room you use every single day, where happiness and relaxation are important. That’s right, we’re starting in the bedroom.

 

Your bedroom is meant to be your personal escape from the hectic outside world. So take a look at it now. How does it make you fee? Do you feel relaxed and maybe even a little sleepy? Or do you see the pile of laundry, the unmade bed, and the old dishes on your nightstand and feel stressed? Let’s fix that and turn your room into a cozy escape. A minimalist bedroom design could improve your sleep quality, make it easier to keep clean, and even get ready for the day faster. Here are some tips for a creating a minimalist bedroom design:

 

  • Remove all electronics from your bedroom including the television, phones, tablets, etc.
  • Get a bed fit for optimal comfort, whether that means a firmer or softer mattress is up to you. Or, invest in good linens for a cozy night’s sleep.
  • Find simple curtains, or thrift them, to create solitude and ambiance.
  • Remove busy posters or any pieces that aren’t soothing and relaxing.
  • Get basic accessories, like a rug and lamp, and stick to just the necessities.
  • Organized your clothing and sell or donate any items you haven’t worn in at least a year.

 

Sustainability and minimalism can absolutely improve your happiness. Many people have proven it before. But the impact often depends on how you approach life changes. Are you open to positive new changes or worried and nervous? Relax and let these tips guide you to a happier, simpler life.

How Entrepreneurs Choose What to Delegate and Outsource

When it’s your business on the line, it makes sense to want to control every aspect of it. However, taking on too much or doing everything yourself are good ways to get burnt out. Once you do, you are no longer effective, and your business could suffer.

Owning or running a business is a big responsibility, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can choose what you want to focus on and then delegate other tasks to staff members. When you learn to delegate, everything runs smoother.

So how do you find that balance? Here are some tips on how to decide what you want to control and what you want to delegate to others.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

As children, we are taught we have to work ourselves to death to be successful. Later in life, we find out that is not really the case. A better way is to work smarter, not harder.

Before you start your day, identify a few priorities that you need to get done. Don’t make a big list, just the top five. Focus on each one for 90 minutes and then take a break to recharge.

Use good management software and mobile apps to help you collaborate and communicate easily with your team. Software like Slack, Asana, and Google can help you to share the load. Let technology take some of the burden off of you.

Effectively Managing Staff

You’ve hired your superstar team of high-performers now it’s time to put them to the test. Instead of babysitting their every move, train them well and give them the resources and support to do their job effectively. Giving them responsibility frees you up to manage your business.

Your focus needs to be on strategy and keeping all the pieces together. You oversee a lot of departments, and if you are doing all the work, you will not be able to see the big picture. Take a step back and delegate to your staff all those little tasks that eat up your day.

Put into place checkpoints and milestones where your employees update you, so you know where they are regarding progress. The simple act of setting expectations ensures you will have the information you need when you need it. Removing worry from the equation will help you clarify what your job should be.

Hand Over the Keys

Highlight employees skills and motivate them with praise on the things they are doing well. Minimize their shortcomings and try not to dwell on them as much. You do not want a demoralized workforce.

Once you hand over the keys and let someone else drive, you’ll be able to survey the landscape and brainstorm new ideas. You will also have the time and energy to manage your teams more effectively without finite thinking. Expand your horizon by delegating and get more than you ever expected.

Until you take the plunge and try handing over some of your daily tasks, you won’t believe how freeing it can be. You have a mental list already of the things you would like to do someday if you had the time. Make the time today by delegating those pesky jobs that get in the way of progress.

Train Your People Well

Nothing can replace a good training program. If you want your staff to excel, train them well and provide useful resources and support. Give them wings to fly, and they will surprise you by taking off and soaring with your business goals in hand.

It’s hard to trust others with something you know you do the best. So, train them to do it exactly the way you do and how you want it done. Monitor their progress in the beginning and, when you are satisfied, let them take over that task without micromanaging them.

Make common tasks repeatable, so they are easy for anyone to take over. Document and create video instructions to make it easy for new hires to follow the process. Implement systems so you can trust your people will do things the way you want them.

Balancing Delegation With Cash Flow Expectations

A harsh reality of being a small business owner is dealing with cash flow. When it’s just you, it is easier, but when you are paying a staff, things can get more complicated. The good news is that this can help you determine what to delegate or outsource.

The key to managing finances for your business is to know where you stand at any given moment. You don’t have to dig deep into every number, but you should be aware of the big picture and what you need to pay and what you expect for revenue.

In some cases, it might make more fiscal sense for you to take on some tasks rather than delegate them. If you can do it cheaper without compromising your efficiency, then save the money. However, if you struggle with certain jobs, it might be better to outsource them and spend the money to get them right.

Benefits of Delegating

Delegating frees you up to focus on the larger issues of moving your business forward. Growth is where you should be putting your energy. Leave the day-to-day minutia to the people you hired to handle it.

Delegation and trust build confidence and commitment in employees. People like to be involved and trusted to do their jobs well. Positive reinforcement to employees is like honey to flies.

You as the boss are the big picture thinker and strategist. When you share the work, you demand the respect of those working for you. Delegation shows you are a team player and trust your employees to work with you, not just for you.

What Business Women Should Consider When Finding a Mentor

Navigating the road to your career is not always easy —  especially as a woman. Although we have been pointedly fighting for gender equality in the workplace for decades, if not centuries, there is still a long way to go.

Finding a mentor can help alleviate some of the challenges that come along with finding out how to get where you wanna go. However, finding a mentor can be a challenging process itself. Here is what you need to know as a business woman looking for a mentor.

Workplace Discrimination

It’s vital to keep workplace discrimination in mind when looking for a mentor, especially if you’re a woman of color. Plenty of bias, prejudice, and stereotyping go on in the workplace, including persistent pay gaps between men and women. In order to avoid, tackle, and overcome discrimination issues, you must learn to recognize sexism in the office. Examples of gender discrimination include:

  • Unequal pay
  • Biased interview questions (i.e. do you have kids?)
  • Confirmation bias
  • Diminished responsibility
  • Gender roles and stereotypes i.e. men are strong, women are emotionally intelligent
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Unlawful termination

Hopefully, there are no major signs of gender discrimination in your office, but if there are, know your rights and speak up. You can always talk to the Human Resources department to discuss  your options.

When thinking about who you want to be your mentor, keep in mind the people who are doing the discriminating, and take note of who is speaking up. Perhaps a male manager checks the person saying something that can be offensive, perhaps a female manager takes action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Obviously, you don’t want to have a mentor who will discriminate against you or other women, so try to find someone who can guide you in standing up for workplace rights.

Gender and Female Empowerment

In a mentor, you will want to find someone who does more than stand up for others when they need help. You want someone who will not see you as just a woman, but as a strong, skilled employee. Of course, being a woman is also powerful, so you should look for someone who will help empower you.

According to the findings from research on hostile work environments, “a whopping 84 percent of women have been told that they behave too aggressively, while 47 percent report being asked to do lower level tasks not asked of their male counterparts, like taking notes or ordering food.”

Due to this type of gender discrimination, you should consider gender as a factor in who you choose to be a mentor. If you choose a male mentor, they can potentially help you go after what you want more. The Wall Street Journal reports that “men are more likely than women to feel confident they are en route to an executive role.” In their study they found that men win more promotions, challenging assignments, and access to top leaders than their female coworkers.

Finding a male mentor can help you adopt a strong, confident attitude in the office that can help you further progress in your career. On the other hand, there are definitely major benefits to having a female mentor.

A female mentor is more likely to understand your perspective. They are likely to have experienced workplace discrimination at at least one point or another, and they can help you find ways to conquer it; having a female mentor can help you become the strong career woman you are striving to be.

Regardless of gender, you should look for a mentor who encourages employee development. This can be someone who pushes you and others to look for new opportunities in the office, such as applying for other positions within the company and helping you advance your career. They will be the ones to give you the push you need to get where you want to go, even if it means exploring paths you hadn’t really considered, such as getting a Master’s of Business Administration or another degree relevant to your career.

Being a Good Leader for Other Women

There is no question that the business world needs more women in it, especially in positions of authority. Hopefully, your mentor will help you rise to meet and surpass your goals in your career. This way, you can become a leader, and eventually a mentor, for other employees looking for guidance.

Of course, you should do everything you can to use your position of leadership and power in the workplace to be a good boss to other women and lift up female employees in particular. Washington State University states that being a good leader to other women means fostering “a business environment that invites and involves women in business to gain respect and to feel valued for their contributions, leaders and managers can work to overcome the roadblocks on the way toward building fulfilling careers.”

On your path to finding a mentor and learning where you want to go in your career, make sure to learn from women leaders other than your mentor. Look for inspirational readings from other women, like Inna Rosputnia and Mariellie Rodriguez Mundy. With consideration, patience, and confidence, you can find the right mentor to help you be your best self in the workplace.