52 Little Actions for 52 Nice Weeks

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I bought my first yearly planner in 2002. Which means that I've been using those for almost half of my life. I'm pretty lost if I don't write my tasks, errands and even classes down. And oh, the feeling of crossing something off the list! I would always begin my search for a perfect planner in December. It has to have dates in it, it has to fit in a purse, and it has to be beautiful. Apparently, I didn't find the thing for 2011 in December that fulfilled all the requirements, because the one I used that year was bought in March in London. I stumbled upon a pile of perfect little planners; of course, I was thinking that I already had one (less-than-perfect, but still) and didn't need a new one, but it was just too cute! And it had little actions for you to do every week, to make yours or someone else's day better - and it also concerned the environment! So when I was in Serbia and trying to get rid of some crap I've piled up in my room, I stumbled upon this beauty and decided to share the actions with you. 

The planner was made by WeAreWhatWeDo, and judging from the website, they don't produce planners anymore. Too bad! I know I would have loved to have another one that's similar. 

Share your lunch with someone
Commit random acts of sandwich sharing. Throw open your picnic bench to passers by. And make new friends while you cut the calories.

Speak rather than email
Two million emails are sent every second. If God had intended us to be online this much he would have given us Norton Anti-Virus instead of the voicebox.

Lose the plastic cup
Here's a good idea: We extract perfectly good minerals from the earth, turn them into a cup, which we use once and return to the earth as landfill for 500 years.

Try watching less TV
Look how full this diary is. You think you've got time to keep tabs on the fictional lives of others? This week, try switching off Friends and making time for friends instead.

Learn to be friendly in another language
Learning a few words in another language is a great icebreaker. There is nothing funnier than someone struggling through phrases like an inarticulate idiot. Shalom!

Grow something and eat it
Homegrown food. It's cheap, it's easy. There's no wasteful packaging, no supermarket queues and an unspoken sense of smugness on serving.

Learn one good joke
Why did the chicken cross the road? Because laughing tones your stomach, lowers your blood pressure, and makes you healthier. It's scientifically proven. Oh, and to get to the other side.

Don't sing in the shower
The average shower lasts seven minutes and uses 35 liters of water. Two minutes is all you really need and, over a year, the water saved would fill a swimming pool. So save water and save your singing for the rain.

Recycle waste paper
Don't throw paper away. There is no away. A profound thought. Chris Martin should turn it into an album title.

Recycle your books
Don't consider it recycling, consider it releasing. It's an indignity to keep a good book on a cramped shelf.

Give up some spare time
You're probably thinking "Hang on a minute, what spare time?" But if you decide color coding your bookshelf and descaling your kettle can wait, you might find you've got half a day to spare.

Give lots of compliments
Compliments get easier when you do them regularly. So make a habit of giving them. They cost nothing. Make you feel good. And a good one can last for weeks.

Shut down your computer properly
Yes, we know. It takes about 15 minutes and is as boring as listening to the shipping forecast static. But switching off your computer out of hours could save over £35 a year.

Look closer
Sometimes it pays to take your time. To look closer, to see the things no one else does. It makes you good at CSI plot lines. It makes you good at life.

Read with a pal
Whether it's the newspaper, course notes, a racy novel or the minutes for your AGM, reading aloud brings a frisson of friendship and fascination to even the dullest of material. (Comedy voices optional.)

Join something
Apparently if you join something you're less likely to experience head colds, heart attacks, strokes and depression. Wow. So avoid the queue in your local surgery and join a league/choir/club/union instead.

Make a coffee for someone busier than you
There is always someone busier than you. Next time you take a coffee break, make the poor mug a mug.

Find out where your lunch has come from
The average kiwi fruit flown in from New Zealand has traveled over 12,000 miles - creating five times its own weight in greenhouse gases getting here. And it's not because it spent the whole trip farting.

Get fitter, feel better
Try walking as much as you can. If it's only from the dessert trolley to the cheese board and back again - well, that's a starter. Well, no it isn't - it's a pudding. But you get the idea.

Don't overfill your kettle
You don't need a fancy eco kettle. You just need to put the amount you need in your kettle, and then boil only that. Job done.

Walk your dad
Like dogs, grown ups get cranky when they stay indoors all day long. Take a stroll with your Dad, your Gran or your lazy Aunty Jan.

Take breaks
Whatever you're doing, take breaks throughout the day to defend agains eyestrain, back pain and 'flannel brain'.

Avoid waste
If each one of the UK's ten million office workers used one less staple a day, 120 tonnes of steel would be saved every year. That's why none are used in this diary - we want to use all the saved staples to build a rocket.

Let at least one car in on every journey
Here's an idea, next journey - let a car out ahead of you. Here's the catch - only if their car is less cool than yours. If we all did that the world would be a better place. (And if a Skoda lets you in, start cycling.)

Plant a tree
Every tree will provide oxygen for two people for the lest of their lives. And it's good to have something to hug.

Use a biro from start to finish
A plastic pen in a landfill will still be there in 50,000 years. Which is no use to anybody - unless in 50,000 years dump-diving aliens want to communicate and are looking for a writing implement.

This is one for every age. Get yourself a bloody knee, grass stained elbow and lungful of fresh air.

Speak football
Yes, you're right - football is a game, not a language. But kicking a ball around is a great way of talking to people who may not understand you. There are 6,000 languages in the world - football speaks every one.

Pull the plug on mobile phone chargers
After two hours the average mobile phone is charged, fully cooked and ready for action. Any more is overkill. Any more and you're just charging the wall.

Say thanks
'It's nice to be important', a great man once said, 'but it's more important to be nice.' Saying thank you matters. It will make people's lives better. Yours included.

Put your gum in the bin
Here's something to chew on. In the UK, we spend £4,5 million every year cleaning chewing gum off the streets. What else could we do with that? Not much. Build a hospital, maybe.

Calculate your carbon footprint
There are loads of sites that calculate your carbon footprint. http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ is especially nifty as it works out how many planets would be needed to cope with the amount of carbon you're using.

Stop junk mail
How much pizza do they think we eat? 3,4 million trees are cut down for junk mail every year in the UK and it seems that most of it is advertising pizza. Everyone likes pizza, but trees are quite good too.

Do something you think you can't do
You never know, you might be amaing at exiting mazes, eating fire, biomechanical engineering or synchronised diving. Give one a go.

Take the stairs
This little bit of exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and can make you live longer. That's got to be better than the risk of getting stuck in an elevator with a halitosis sufferer.

Oscar Wilde said genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes and the most successful people are those who aren't afraid to fail.

Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth
If you leave the tap on you're wasting nine liters of water a minute. If your whole street does it, it'd fill an Olympic pool in a year. Now that would be a minty dip.

Take public transport when you can
A full train is twice as energy efficient as a full car. You can nap, natter and hone the grey matter while somebody else does all the driving.

Teach your granny to text

Turn off unnecessary lights
All those offices with lights burning bright at night, are all those people really working late? Or is it some crazy theory that states lighting an empty space is beautiful? In our eyes, they couldn't be more wrong.

Recycle your specs
Don't see why you should recycle your old glasses? There are an estimated 200 million people around the world who need glasses. Your old prescription could help make ther jobs, lessons and lives a whole lot clearer.

Layer up
What's our greatest weapon against global warming? Science? Biofuels? Solar power? Nope. It's the sweater. The next time it gets chilly, put one on. Not the heating.

Go to more parties
Having friends from other cultures is great, it means you get to gorge on new foods and learn about other countries. And it means that there are more festivals to celebrate throughout the year.

Knit with someone
You need two needles to knit,
A ball of yarn and that's it.
But what also is true,
Is when the knitters are two,
There's tales and talk while you sit.

Get off one stop early
A great mantra for the city dweller. You'll grab some air, avoid the crush and get buff. Not so clever if you live in the countryside, where you'll be stranded in Swindon until the next overland express.

Don't start a war
We make 216 choices every day. Some of these are easy (trousers or skirt). Others are harder (fight or walk away).

Use both sides of every piece of paper
Over 350 million trees are cut down every year for the paper used in UK offices. Use both sides and spend less time in the stationery cupboard.

Ask why
The job of a good citizen, said Gunter Grass, is to keep their mouth open. Not to catch flies. But to gawk and wonder and ask "Why?", "Why should we?" and "Why can't we try that?".

Bake something for a friend
Give a friend a bag of flour, some butter and a couple of eggs and they will be insulted. Assemble it for them and they will be chuffed to bits.

Decline plastic bags wherever possible
Everyone in the UK uses an average of 167 plastic bags every year - 10 billion bags in total. They can take up to 500 years to decay. There is an alternative. It's called a shopping bag and apparently in France, it's très chic.

Smile and smile back
It takes half as many muscles to smile as it does to frown. And it makes you and others feel twice as good.

Write to someone who inspired you
Nice to do. Nice to get. What is there not to like about it?

Add your own action to change the world
What is your one wild and precious, world-changing action? Weigh it up, write it down. And when you are done log onto www.wearewhatwedo.org and instruct the expectant masses.

Are you as lost without a planner as I am? Do you like this idea?

Love, Tihana

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6


  1. Jako dobar tekst, dala si mi ideju sta bih i sama mogla da se potrudim :)

  2. Drago mi je! Meni su mnogo slatki ovi predlozi, bukvalno sam bacala sve stare stvari iz sobe kod kuće i onda pomislila za ovo da je šteta... prenela u online svet, fizički planer otišao u večna lovišta :)


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