Make Big Things Happen


When I was 14, I was shipped off (ok, not really, I flew..and really wanted to go myself) to an international school in Thailand. There, I first learned about, and got hooked on, the idea of ‘saving the world’. Through different activities and events, I was always fighting for something – for the environment, for orphans, for human rights, for incurable diseases, for equality, to name just a few. Voluntary work and cooperation with charity and non-profit organisations became a lifestyle.

Making a difference

‘Saving the world’ seemed like a great cause when I was a teenager, but today I actually think the world, with all its challenges, is a pretty great place in general. There are just things here and there that could be improved and helped.. 🙂 So today I’m more about ‘making a difference’. I would like for my life [warning: cliche coming up] to have a positive impact on the world. I like to think that I can change someone else’s life for the better. I want to contribute something to the world that’s more than just the waste I leave behind from simply existing.

Working now in my cozy job at a successful, fast-growing IT startup, I might sound hypocritical talking about this. Don’t write me off so quickly 😉 Admittedly, I veered off this course temporarily in University when other hobbies took priority.. but I’d been infected, and so after graduation I went straight back into it. I spent one full year doing community-related work, including some time during my summer holidays volunteering in Nepal. When I eventually moved back to Estonia, I found the Let’s do it! World Cleanup network and for the past 2 years have been working on saving the environment.  

In Nepal with my students
In Nepal with my students

“Give the man a fish…

…and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” – YES!

In order to make long-lasting change, the focus should be on sharing tools and knowledge to maintain the change rather than just giving out *things*. So I’m currently leading a project where we educate 10-12 year old students about the senseless materialism and overconsuming of our era. Where do our things come from and what impact ‘they have on the environment even before they get to the shop…

Sometimes systematic education is necessary to get the message across and really make a difference. Other times, just an encouraging smile is enough to change someone’s life. There are also times when we do need to provide the man not only with an encouraging talk about fishing, but also the fishing rods themselves.

All of this takes resources, though – people, money, time..

Little things make big things happen

There are not enough hours in a day anyway, but in my experience, time seems to be especially short when working on changing the world. We should not let that stop us, though. To begin with, we don’t need to do everything ourselves and everything at once. One small thing a day is already a great start – little things do make big things happen.

Regarding time itself, you generally notice that it flies, but often not where it flies *to*. Toggl users have said to me – literally – that finding Toggl changed their lives, because it is no more frustration around figuring out where their time goes, it’s so easy to just see and assess and change their productivity and efficiency accordingly. For obvious reasons, I love hearing that 🙂

To magnify this effect on the world, we started giving discounts to non-profit organisations using Toggl when I joined as well. I believe that with our help, these organisations that are doing some amazing things in the world, can save time on time tracking, can effortlessly see and account for (sponsors often ask for this information as well) all the hard work they do, and of course, with the actual monetary benefits, have more resources to spend on what’s most important – on making a positive difference in the world.


Your ‘little thing’

In case you don’t already have a ton of things on mind for what your part in changing the world could be, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Give someone who you see is having a hard time, an encouraging smile or a hug – sometimes that’s all that’s needed
  • Take one plastic bag less when you go to the shop (do you need one for your bananas or avocados?)
  • If you know of a non-profit organisation who is not yet tracking their time, share Toggl with them 😉
By On October 18, 2013