I just do not have the time to volunteer!

I talk to people every week and they all have some variation of the same thing to say. I would like to volunteer, but I am just too busy. So, I thought I would write something that may help you address the challenge.

You cannot seem to get enough time to volunteer for a Saturday event because you are hoping to catch up on all the tasks that did not get done during the week. Housework, lawn, wash, grocery shopping all things you put off until the weekend when you might have more time. You have probably realized by now that you never catch up.

Ok, so calm down and take a breath. The man who invented the time planning system in the 80’s and 90’s called the “Franklin Planner” had a saying. “When you say you do not have time to do something, what you are really saying is, I value other things more than I value this task.”

So how can I help? Below is a list of tasks that do not take a lot of time and once you get in the habit of doing them, the tasks become automatic. You will be making the community better faster than you realize. Be careful with this list, if your kids see you doing this stuff, they will eventually do it too. Education is the best tool for the future.

  • You wake up and get dressed for work or rouse the family to start another day. You are heading out the door for work or to perform tasks for the family. Stop, look at your front yard and the street in front of it. Is there trash there? Two minutes is all it takes to pick it up and you are done. Do that enough times and you will make a real impact. If every home and business would clear the trash from their lot and the street in front of it, we could eliminate huge amounts of roadside trash.
  • So, you made it to your destination. You need to navigate that parking lot. Stop, look at your path through the parking lot. Is there trash? Pick it up on your way in and you are really impacting your community now.
  • Ok, you live in the beautiful town of Elizabethton. You are lucky and have curbside trash pickup. Did you know that the newer garbage cans have a message on top? The message is “Bagged trash only”. What is that all about? So let me explain with an example. You are cleaning out the garage and have a lot of trash. You start throwing the trash in the garbage can. Stop, is there a bag in that can. No, ok so no bag. You take the garbage can to the curb on garbage day. Wow, that wind is starting to blow. How long before your unbagged trash becomes your neighbor’s trash. Ok, so the wind never blew and the garbage men came and picked up your trash. Great, no longer my trash. Wrong, did you happen to notice that some of the unbagged trash fell on the ground and is now your neighbor’s trash. Ok, so you are having a lucky day, all your trash made it into the truck, but oh my it was not in a bag. Did you ever notice the nice fancy covers over the back of the trash truck? That is because they do not exist. Guess where some of your unbagged trash is now. You guessed it, your neighborhood. Bag all trash and you will have a huge impact.
  • We are lucky to live in a County and City that have recycling centers. In the area I live, there are approximately 77 households. On Friday morning when the trash has been put out to the curb, I am astounded by how much of the trash is recyclable. Throwing away all your trash only shifts the issue from the street to the landfill. Believe me it does not take long to fill a landfill, but if everyone recycles, wow what a difference we could make. Stop filling that beautiful mountain landscape with trash. I would guess that only a dozen of the 77 households in my neighborhood currently recycle. What a waste, no, really what a waste. Educate your community.
  • When I walk my dog around the subdivision guess what I do. Yep, you got it, I pick up trash. Wow, we are really cleaning up this neighborhood now.
  • Ok, here is one that is a little more time consuming and a lot of people may not have time for, but if you do this give yourself a star. Why are we throwing all that food waste in the trash? Why when we weed the yard are the weeds going in the trash? Composting can greatly reduce the amount of waste in a landfill, and it can serve the community with a great mulch or fertilizer. Check out the Recycling page of this web site. I will be posting information about recycling and composting very soon.
  • Here is one that many do not think about. It is an election year and you are going to vote. There are two candidates that are pretty equal in their priorities and you like them both and do not know which one should get your vote. Which one do I vote for? This is easy, which one supports recycling, composting, litter enforcement, etc. Start educating yourself on where a candidate stands on the environment. That is the one that gets my vote!

Ok, that is just a short list. How about leaving a comment with some of your ideas and I will post them. If everyone is taking baby steps we will travel miles in no time at all.