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6 Tips on Starting a Zero Waste Lifestyle

If you are looking to actively reduce your carbon footprint in the world then starting a Zero Waste Lifestyle is definitely a step in the right direction.

This lifestyle goes beyond trendy mason jars, buying fresh produce at farmers’ markets, and washing your hair with shampoo bars. Instead, you need to get ready to completely abandon your dependency on plastic and change your shopping, cleaning, and eating habits.

This seems very intimidating at first, but with a few tips and guidelines, you will be on your way to living the zero waste life. Just remember that it is impossible to go zero-waste overnight.

1. Start with “Why?”

It is important that you write down your reason to want to go Zero Waste. Maybe you want to help the environment, save money, do your part to reduce plastic in the ocean, or want to be less exposed to harmful chemicals in plastic. Whatever your reason is, make sure to write it down and come back to it whenever you feel low on motivation.

2. The 5 Rs

Refuse what you don’t need. Reduce what you need. Reuse what you consume. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. And rot whatever is left in a compost.

Choose carefully

It is important that you learn how to recognize and deny waste in every aspect of your life. For example, the next time someone hands you a flyer, a business card, a free disposable pen, or a plastic bag you can recognize that it will inevitably end up in your trash and therefore choose not to accept it.

3. Eat real food

Real food like fruits, vegetables, and anything that doesn’t come in packaging is crucial to helping you reduce the amount of waste you create.

4. Use less of everything

Most products are designed to encourage you to use way more than you actually need. Toothpaste is a great example of this because you really only need a pea-sized amount, but you probably use way more than that each time you brush your teeth. So make sure to use only what you really need for everything.

5. Join a community

Zero Waste Communities, whether virtual or not, are a great way to help you stay motivated, to find out about helpful tips from others, and to find people who will support you on your journey.

6. Essential Products to getting

You will need to swap just a few things with other products to start out your Zero Waste Lifestyle:

Instead of plastic water bottles, you should get a reusable water bottle, you can even get an insulated water bottle, so your water stays nice and cool.

Eliminate plastic Tupperware and Ziploc bags by storing your food in glass jars instead; there are also silicon reusable bags that you can use instead of Ziploc bags.

Use cloth bags and totes to store, transport, and buy food in bulk, instead of using plastic bags.

Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.

3 Ways To Help You Overcome the New Years Blues in 2020

After that hectic flurry of activity that was the end of 2019, you probably find yourself coming down a little too hard from all the joy and celebration of this past holiday season.

It’s time to get back to the real world.

This means that, for many, the first few days of the year have felt like they were all blended together to form a never-ending Monday.

You may feel tired, a bit melancholic, annoyed, and to make matters worse there is still a long winter ahead, as well as the Mondayest Monday of them all: Blue Monday (January 20th), which is considered the most depressing day of the year.

What you are feeling is totally valid, but is this really how you want to start this new year, let alone the new decade?

Just a few days ago you were so excited for 2020 and had a list of how you were going to be better. So, take a moment to tap into that energy for a second.

Found it?

Great!

Now you can use this reservoir of good vibes to overcome the New Years Blues. To help you out here are a few tips to get you to you feel like 2020 is your year!

Take an honest inventory of your feelings

The best place to start changing anything is to understand what you are working with. That is why it is important that you notice exactly how you’ve been feeling these past few days. Ask yourself how you have been feeling at work, at home, when spending time with people, and also when you are by yourself.

Once you have an understanding of your feelings you can start thinking about the situations that are triggering you and solving those issues.

You might be SAD

If you find that your feelings are more intense than regular New Year Blues then you might just be suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Quick side note: this is the most accurate acronym ever.

 SAD is a real medical condition that is caused by hormonal shifts in your brain that happen each time the season changes. Talk to your doctor and they will help you overcome this condition.

Pro tip: whenever the sun comes out during the winter, take some time to step outside and absorb all that vitamin D. Natural light can do wonders for our mood and emotions.

Don’t hibernate

It is still winter after all and although you might feel tempted to hide away inside your house all day, even more so if you can do most of your work from home, it is important for the sake of your sanity that you interact with other people.

So go out there.

Spend some time with your friends and loved ones hit the gym, and make an effort to work from a place that motivates and inspires you (i.e. your favorite coffee shop or your local coworking space).

These are just a few ideas to set you on the right path to a happier you and to get you excited for January instead of dreading the thought of 31 consecutive Mondays.

 

Faces of Shift with the Team from Empowering Education

(Pictured left to right:  Noah Teitelbaum, Sarah Cai & Charlie Merrow)

According to CASEL, social-emotional learning (SEL) can be defined as: “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

In this article from Medium, they discuss the five principles to SEL.  They are create, integrate, communicate, instruct and empower.  In recent years, researchers have discovered the powerful connections of SEL to higher academic performance.

We wanted to learn more about SEL and are fortunate to have experts in SEL working at Shift. We sat down the Noah Teitelbaum and Charlie Merrow of Empowering Education to learn more about SEL, how they got started in education, why they chose Shift Workspaces and their future plans. 

 Noah: Empowering Education is a nonprofit organization that arms K-8 teachers with a fun and easy-to-use Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum. Our program blends mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral theory, and neuroscience. 

To give you an example of what we teach kids, in week four, after a short mindfulness practice, the lesson teaches kids about the “lizard brain” and the “wizard brain.” Those are two parts of our brain: the flight-or-flight amygdala and the thoughtful prefrontal cortex.

The older kids get deep into the neuroscience while the little ones read a story and do some role-playing. (To the right is a picture from a story we wrote to help young kids understand. That’s Lizzie the Lizard losing her cool on Toby the Turtle.) The lessons are trauma-informed and developed with diverse populations in mind.

What is your role with Empowering Education  

Noah: I am the Executive Director of Empowering Education. I started my 20 years in education with 5th graders in Harlem and then went on to teach in other schools serving low-income students in the NYC area. There I saw firsthand the need for tools for teaching SEL and Mindfulness, both for my students and for myself.

I have also been an instructional coach, an author of teaching handbooks and curricula, a consultant to some of the most innovative schools in the country, and a business manager and product innovator for a national test-prep business. I earned my master’s in education and an MBA, and have done significant course work in Instructional Leadership.

Charlie: I am the Program Director at Empowering Education and I am responsible for all facets of the Empowering Minds curriculum. I have over a decade of experience working in education across the world.  I’ve worked in North America, Asia and Africa as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, university instructor, and educational researcher. My passion lies in promoting education equity and development through mindfulness and inclusive practices.

I have an MA in Special Education, a Ph.D. student studying Education, with a concentration in education equity, a licensed special education teacher, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a certified yoga instructor.

Another member of our team, Sarah Cai is the Graphic Designer of Empowering Education. After graduating with a BA in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins (London, UK), she has lived and worked on three continents. Sarah has a decade of extensive experience in end-to-end creative processes and enjoys problem-solving through her work. In 2014, Sarah co-founded Puzzah, a high-technology escape room based in Denver and which has since expanded into three locations in Colorado and New Mexico.

How did you get into education?

Noah: One summer during college I had a job as a volunteer coordinator for health workers in the Dominican Republic. I got to hike around the countryside and visit my volunteers in their villages and support them in doing their projects. It was my first taste of how satisfying it is to be a leader behind the scenes, pushing others to achieve their goals. I figured that education would allow me to get that same experience. When I was working in schools I had some of the worst and best days of my professional life. It’s an intense line of work so buy your teacher-friends drinks.

Charlie: After graduating from college, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Africa as a middle school health and English teacher. I ended up extending my time for an additional year and volunteered with Special Olympics Africa. Upon returning to the States after nearly four years of teaching overseas, I taught special education in Denver for a number of years while getting my master’s in special education. I switched over to the education non-profit sector in 2018 while also pursuing my Ph.D. in education.

How did you discover Shift Workspaces?

We were stuck in a windowless office in the Highlands and needed to see the sun again. Charlie, severely deprived of the essential vitamin D that the sun provides, somehow managed to hunt around town and find Shift Workspaces.  

What do you enjoy most about this coworking environment?

We appreciate having a beautiful space to spend our time in. The aesthetics of where we spend our time influence our mood and attitude, so we appreciate our office.

Does Empowering Education have any exciting developments in store for 2020?

We are hard at work on a full program update based on extensive research about what teachers need to fit SEL into their busy school days. We’re writing children’s stories (feel free to swing by and ask for copies for the kids in your life) and fun lessons. We can’t wait to get the new program into the teacher’s hands!

Since we’re big fans of mindfulness, we’ll end by suggesting that you take a deep breath and notice what’s going on around you and inside of you.

To learn more about Empowering Education and the programs they offer, you can contact them through their website.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter

3 Reasons Why We Love to Work with Denver Charities

It’s the time of year when giving back takes center stage. While giving back to our community is something we do year-round at Shift Workspaces, ahead of giving Tuesday this December 3rd, the Shift team is working with the Denver Children’s Home.

This week, on November 21st, our team will be volunteering at the home to feed dinner and we will also take with us the toys donated by Shift Workspaces members.

Giving back to our community is part of Shift Workspaces’ DNA, and over the years we have focused on working with local organizations because we believe that by working with them, we can have a much greater impact.

To get you in the spirit of giving back and engaged with your local community, here are three of the many reasons why we love to work with local organizations.

It strengthens our community

By working with local organizations like the Denver Children’s Home, we are not only giving back to the community that has helped us succeed as a business, but we are also strengthening our community by contributing to a common cause.

Working with a local organization also provides us with the perfect opportunity to learn more about our community members and it gives us a chance to dialogue with others, expanding our circle, getting a better understanding of what our community needs, and finding a shared sense of purpose.

Our contribution matters

While all donations and contributions matter, when you give back on a local scale it’s easier to see how much of an impact you’ve made. With local organizations, a small contribution can go a long way in powering an effort, increasing its reach, or growing awareness.

Not only that but working with a local organization makes it easier to follow-up on your contributions and you can have a more active role in how the donation is used.

It’s a great way to share our values and purpose

Working with a local organization is a great way to share our business values and purpose with our members and our community. It’s a wonderful way to share what we care about and what our employees and clients care about.

Faces of Shift with Drew Lewellyn & the Team from Glovebox

(Pictured left to right:  Drew Lewellyn, Ryan Mathisen, Andy Mathisen & Sean Mulhern)

 

One of the most exciting parts of our coworking industry is watching our members grow and achieve success and it is clear that GloveBox is ready for takeoff!  In August 2019, GloveBox, a mobile app that provides access to insurance documents for consumers, expanded its partnerships with several large insurance carriers.

This new partnership gives GloveBox the ability to roll out initiatives that will be groundbreaking for policyholders. As the mobile app enters their second phase of development the companies will further solidify the ability for policyholders to have an enhanced and functional insurance experience.

Based on the recent success of Glovebox, it was a perfect time for us to sit down with their co-founder,  Drew Lewellyn.  We discuss how Glovebox was developed, their growth and future development, where the company will be in five years and why they chose Shift Workspaces. 

How did you decide on the moon man as your logo (we love it!)?

You mean the Glovebox Spaceman!!! The idea initially started when we were “launching” our app.  Our goal is to launch insurance into the future and our Spaceman is our designated pilot!  Like you guys, everyone loves him and now he is here for good!  Plus we love getting suited up and blasting off with him wherever we go.  So far he has been to about 10 states and 100 meetings! 

How did you develop the concept for GloveBox?

For the previous 8 years, the three of us grew an insurance brokerage to $100M in premium consisting of 95% personal lines coverage (Home, Auto, Umbrella, Motorcycle, Boat, etc), one of the largest in the country.  With our 100,000 clients, we experienced about 10,000 or more service phone calls a month.  85% of these requests were Tier 1 issues (where is my policy, what carrier am I with, what is my deductible, where is my auto ID card, I need to make a claim, I need to pay my bill, etc).  We set out to find a technology solution or app, that would help alleviate these Tier 1 request and provide more clarity to our customers in regards to their policies.  After we were unable to find a solution (and about 100 meetings over beers), we set out to develop our own solution, thus GloveBox was born with the idea of aggregating all insurance carriers to one simple app with a consistent experience for users regardless of coverage or carrier. 

How do you see GloveBox growing and developing?

The GloveBox is a solution unlike anything else in the marketplace.  Our goal is to continue to develop functionality that provides clarity to consumers about their insurance coverage and a simple interface to complete basic service items they may have.  Also, we aim to provide a mobile solution to every insurance agency in the country to help reduce service costs and provide their client base with a consistent mobile app experience for their insurance coverages, regardless of what carriers the agent selects.  Finally, we are working very diligently to connect as many insurance carriers as possible to provide another portal for their agency partners and insureds to utilize.  Our goal is to support each insurance carrier technology initiatives and utilize the cutting-edge GloveBox technology design to enhance their various offerings (Pay a bill online, report a claim, request additional coverage, integrate vehicle telematics, etc).

What are your backgrounds in terms of tech and building out apps?

Drew Lewellyn, our CTO, has 10 years experience in assisting companies in various stages of software/app development and deployment.  He is key in helping develop our technical team and roadmap to provide all the features and functions of our users, agencies, and carriers need.  The rest of our team all has over 10 years of experience in the insurance industry.  This experience and direct communication with consumers lead to a realization of the issue existing between agencies and their customers, which is the driving force of our mission and development.

What were you doing prior to starting GloveBox?

All four partners were working for a local insurance Brokerage called Colorado Insurance.  During our time there we grew the agency from $10M in premium to over $100M in premium. Ryan and Andy Mathisen were building teams throughout the United State consisting of some of the top producers in the country.  Sean Mulhern was the top producer in the company, and country, for many years before also building successful sales teams and commercial insurance practice.  Drew Lewellyn was previously helping companies develop and deploy various technology solutions before going Sean and Ryan in building a commercial insurance practice at Colorado Insurance. 

It’s unique that your team has known one another since childhood, how is it working together?

THE WORST!!!  Hahahaha, JK.  Seeing as we have all been best friends for over 20 years, there are not many situations that arise that we have not been through, together.  Having such a tight relationship allows us to openly and candidly communicate, but more importantly, is the trust.  As I said, we have been through it all together and we all know that GloveBox is the most important thing in each of our professional lives which drives us to do everything we can for each other every day.  

How did you come to choose Shift Workspaces as your “home away from home” (aka office)?

As soon as we walked in to Shift Workspaces Corona, we knew we were home.  For us, we wanted a place that we were excited to come to and get to work and Shift absolutely provides that.  We also made our decision based on the people at Shift.  Again, as soon as we were introduced to the Shift team they worked with us to get us a location because they wanted us there.  This was a great feeling to know the team was so connected to us and our success.  Even throughout our time here, we have been blown away by the attention to detail and support of the Shift team.

What do you all enjoying doing in your spare time?

Ryan, Sean and Andy all enjoy being Dads while I can be found out golfing!  Ryan and Sean are also very interested in jujitsu and train 2-3 times a week.  Andy is the biggest sports nut you have ever met, especially for those Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, and Kansas Jayhawks!  

Where do you see glovebox in the next 5 years?

We see GloveBox as the top technology partner to consumers, agencies and insurance carriers in the world.  Our goal is to provide every person in the world with a simple tool to interact with and understand their insurance coverage.  Also, we want to provide every insurance agency/brokerage a tool that continually improves to provides their customers additional value through technology and increase the agency’s ability to focus on real service issues and selling more business.  

Finally, we will be connected to every insurance carrier in the world we can to provide their client base with a parallel portal to their company and offerings.  Our goal is to help all three parties involved communicate more clearly and efficiently.

If your agency is interested in partnering with Glovebox, you can schedule a demo here.  You can also follow them on Facebook or follow their blog page

5 Ways You Can Make an Impact in the Denver Community

Taking the time to get involved with your community can broaden your perceptions of the world, it can enrich your life emotionally and mentally, and it can help you find a sense of purpose. Just as important is the fact that by getting involved you are improving your community, ensuring that certain organizations and services remain available.

While many businesses and individuals often get involved by writing a check; there are other, more meaningful ways in which you can give back to your local community.

5 Ways to Make a Positive Impact in Denver

1. Get involved with local organizations

Organizations like Impactlocally.org and The Denver Foundation make it easier for people to find activities in which they can volunteer. They provide volunteers, donors, and those interested in lending a helping hand with information about reputable nonprofits, their programs, and they can typically provide you with a list of places/organizations that need the most help.

2. Offer your professional expertise to charitable organizations

Oftentimes, nonprofit and charitable organizations don’t have the necessary resources (human and financial) to streamline their processes and improve their efficiency. If you’re an accountant, offer your services free of charge and help these organizations get a better handle on their tax payments, financial statements, and record keeping. If you’re a marketing expert, help them out with social media campaigns, SEO, and newsletters. If you’re a content writer, create their compelling story and translate that into different forms of content. You get the idea.

3. Mentor someone

Whether it be coaching them a sport, teaching them an instrument, help the elderly with technology, help out a youth sports team, etc. More often than not, those who are most in need of something are searching for inspiration and motivation; be that source of motivation and inspiration for them.

4. Volunteer your time

Sometimes the best way to have a positive impact is by simply volunteering. Whether it be to read to those in a senior home, to play with children, to serve food to the homeless, teach kids how to read or paint a house. Those extra helping hands are always welcome and it is time well-spent.

5. Leave a positive review of a local business

One way to make sure the Denver community remains vibrant and active is by making sure that local businesses stay in business. Help them out by leaving a positive review online; it’ll take only a few minutes but the impact you can have will last for longer than that.

If you’re interested in getting involved and having a positive impact in the Denver community, let us know! Shift Workspaces believes in giving back to the community and is involved in several volunteer projects throughout the year.

How to Become the Best at What You Do

Many people often get involved in a certain line of work thinking that’s what will help them be the most successful, equating success with the amount of money they are likely to make. While success is something that many, if not all, strive for, making money the end-goal is not necessarily the best reason to get involved in any particular project or line of work.

To go about it the right way and truly be the best at what you do you need to first think about why you want to do it and then examine how capable you are of doing it. After all, to be the best at what you do, you need to have certain skills; skills that you have mastered. Therefore a strong set of skills plus a strong reason why will put you in the right path towards becoming the best.

Below are 3 tips to becoming the best at what you do.

Embrace your mental power

This means embracing the attributes that make you, you. It requires that you use as much of your mental capacity to achieve your goals and dreams. Embracing your mental power means having the ability and strength to look inwards and examine what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, finding ways to improve when things aren’t going as you planned or thought out originally. Mental power requires that you constantly work on yourself, expanding your vision and skill set.

Set clear goals

This means setting short, medium, and long-term goals. Having clear goals will help you be best at what you do as you will have a clearer vision of what you’re striving for and when you want to get there. This can help improve your job, but it will also make you more selective about whom you work with, how many projects/clients you take on, how much time you will devote to each, and what you will gain from those projects/clients. Keep in mind that when your only goal is to make money, you might take on more clients than you can handle, and your work will suffer from it; having clear goals will prevent this, ensuring the quality of your work at all times.

Have a process, and stick to it

This is key to becoming the best at what you do. Once you have clear goals, make sure you set a process to achieving those goals; you’ve already gotten your “why” figured out, now it’s time to think about the how. The how can take many shapes and forms, which is why it’s important to have a process in place: how you attract clients, how you set up a client’s timeline, how you set up your hours, how you turn in projects, how you receive feedback, etc. The idea is to have a seamless flow chart of how the work you do will materialize itself.

Pro tip: becoming the best at what you do requires that you rely on the necessary tools and resources to improve yourself and your work; like mentoring or coaching, the right workplace environment, reading materials, the right technology tools, e

6 Tips for Safe Urban Cycling in Denver

According to reports, Denver commute times are getting longer and longer (from 2005 to 2016 alone, commute times in Denver grew by over 40%). In the midst of increasing commute times, individuals have started to embrace alternative transportation methods.

Bicycles have become a popular transportation method among the modern workforce, however, biking in a city can be overwhelming as there are lots of cars and sometimes there’s no bike lane. Luckily, there are various safety tips and guidelines you can follow to make sure your urban cycling experience is a pleasant one.

Tips for Safer Urban Cycling

Safety first

Make sure you always put on a helmet and do not wear earphones or headphones when cycling in the city. The latter is important as you’ll need your ears to be more aware of incoming and oncoming traffic and what’s going on around you.

Plan your route

There are likely different routes you can take, make sure you map out all of them and try them out. Stick to routes with less traffic and that have biking infrastructure in place.

Stay at a safe distance

A good rule of thumb for this is if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you. Also, keep in mind that car mirrors have a blind spot, so make sure you’re always leaving a safe distance between yourself and cars.

Don’t box yourself

Just because you’re in a smaller vehicle doesn’t mean you should be riding in between lanes and merging from one lane to the other. Make sure you always have a clear exit and that you are guarding your lane; oftentimes cyclists tend to stick to the right side to make it easier for cars to overtake them, however, it’s safer to stick to the middle of the lane to increase your visibility.

Obey traffic laws

When you’re biking, you need to follow the same traffic laws as vehicles. Make sure you signal when you turn, make sure you stop at red lights, go in the same direction as traffic, etc.

Check your bike regularly

Make sure your wheels, handlebars, brakes, and bike chain are working properly. At Shift Workspaces, we offer bike tuning services to our members through Velofix and Shift also offers indoor and outdoor bike storage which makes biking to work a great alternative to sitting in traffic.