How ‘Sharpening the Saw’ relates to sustainability

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4. Skill development to keep the saw sharp

Of course there are more approaches to increase productivity. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, one way is to improve your skills or to learn new ones.

For example, part of the reason I was postphoning to clean my bicycle chain, was that I simply didn’t know how to do it effectively and fast. I didn’t really want to waste time on it, but whenever I finally sat down to do it, it would take me hours! In a way it seemed like the time I was now paying for the time I had saved earlier…

So I watched videos to learn how to do it. To become faster, more efficient and thus needing less time to do it. Besides learning a better technique, I also learned that cleaning the chain more often, equalled less intensive cleaning sessions. Knowing that my motivation to clean the chain grew. It actually always did, when I rode my bicycle the next day and could really feel the difference. (Less tired legs and faster speed.)

So by sharpening my skills, I empowered myself and increased the likelyhood of beating ‘lazyness’ to actually make the right, but less comfortable, choice.

I’m facing a similar problem with growing my own business

I often find that in the morning I lack the discipline it needs to avoid all the distractions that life throws at you.

Before I know it, half the day is over. I would have read many interesting things, but hardly checked off anything on my to-do list. By then it is time for my job as a bicycle courier. When I finally return in the evening I feel too tired to do more than eat and write some friends on what’s app or more to-do lists for the next day. It’s a pretty clear pattern.

In order to overcome this pattern I started listening to Brendon Buchard’s 6 Habits of High Performers and other self-development audiobooks at work. For me work is best, because I need to stay present and focused all the time, so I easily understand the wisdom of all the advice I hear. Since I started doing this, it has greatly helped me to stay focused on my priorities and to keep going.

While listening to the podcasts and audiobooks I also realized that most of us struggle with motivation and tiredness. That many of us we feel ‘spread to thin’, lack confidence or necessity to tackle that project that is on the back of our minds. Or that we simply don’t know where to start it. And that our brain is wired to love novel things, meaning it easily gets distracted. It’s not just me – phew! So what did I do?

Organizing my time and gaining clarity about my dream of leading a more sustainable life

Getting more organized has helped me to slowly but surely chip away on my daily challenges to step out of my convenience zone. Or work on my next big project – my own photography book. Part of the goal is to travel as sustainably as possible. Another part to do some consulting on how to become more green/sustainable at the place I will be staying at.

In order to do so, I need to a lot of research:
  • Find affordable green/sustainable options for my trip, and for the place I stay at.
  • Find the right gear to film and photograph my trips into the mountains.
  • Gather all the information I could use for the book lined up, so that I will be clear on what shots to get and how they will fit each of the chapters in my book. Because I do not want to only to create a piece of Art – in order to make this ‘selfish wish’ to see my own works in print sustainable and meaningful I want to demonstrate why the Chilotin Mountains are so special and worth protecting from further development or damage.

You probably get the idea – there is a lot to do! Being effective with your time and increasing productivity for me is not merely a tool to make more money. It’s more about finding a way to sustain my business, so that I can continue to pursue my projects, goals and dreams.

So even if it sounds far fetched…

Maybe you too have some heart-project, which is intented to do good in this world? Do you too struggle to know how to start? Then maybe you too should invest in yourself and learn to sharpen the saw ®. Start by shaping up your skills, by learning the means to achieve what you dream of. And gain the confidence to do it. Depening on your goal,  it might not directly relate to sustainability, but it certainly will safe you precious time. It will help you to bundle your energies in a sustainable way and reach for your dreams. 🙂

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