How to save on your electricity bill?…

2010-02-09 00:00

THE answer is so obvious but yet few of us do it.


Finance tip — Utilities

Turn off your geyser. Heating up the water in your house is guaranteed to be one of the biggest consumers of energy (as is anything that involves heating or cooling). As a general rule, though, you don’t need to have your geyser on 24 hours a day to meet your hot water needs. Look at your usage patterns. When do you shower or use hot water? Early mornings and evenings? Maybe only one of the two? One of the fastest ways to cut your energy bill is to turn off your geyser for the periods when you’re not at home. Who are you keeping it warm for? If you’re only using it during the two peak periods (like most people), then turn it off on your way out to work in the morning, then back on when you get home. If you want to be ultra-efficient, you can then turn it off again when you go to bed and you can turn it on again as soon as you wake up (assuming you’ve got time to let it warm up before showering in the morning). This can also extend the life of your geyser because as the element is not on all the time, it doesn’t burn out as quickly. Also keep in mind that the water in the geyser stays warm for a considerable amount of time after it’s been switched off — often enough for a couple of quick showers.


Business tip — Self-management

Watch your bad e-mail habits. As business owners or executives, we could all use a bit more time in our day; but the truth is we’re often the ones guilty of wasting it. There are a number of ways to use your time more efficiently, though, and first and foremost is to cut down on your e-mail habit. Some studies have shown that we spend as much as 28% of our productive day on e-mail. For most people e-mail is a complementary function of the business — as in, it’s not the primary way in which the business is run and revenue is generated. It’s also an attention-killer. You could be busy working through an important task and your e-mail alert comes up. You stop, check the e-mail and then get back to what you were doing. The reality of it is that it takes you a good few minutes to get back into the groove of what you were doing in the first place. And how many times a day does that happen?

The first thing to do is not to have your e-mail inbox open at the bottom of your screen, and to turn off any visual or audio alerts for when you have new mail. Secondly, resist the urge to check your e-mail first thing in the morning. You could come into work with plenty of good, productive intentions for the day and have them all scuppered when you’re drawn into some mini-emergency in your e-mails. Rather start your day when you’re freshest, on the most important tasks, and get a few under your belt before you move on to your e-mails. The third thing to do is to batch your e-mail checking. Instead of doing it in dribs and drabs, set aside a chunk of time and do them all in one shot. Try doing this twice a day — once at midday, and then again just before you go home. This way, people who’ve e-mailed you that morning get a reply late that same morning or lunch time, and people who e-mailed you in the afternoon get a reply before the end of the day. Commit to doing these three things and watch your productivity soar... —• Gareth Cotten is a serial entre-preneur who eats, sleeps and drinks business, entrepreneurship and innovation. When not advising others on their businesses or personal development, or working on his own enterprises, you’ll find him on the beach, staring at the waves and talking to himself. For more info, go to

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