CategoriesGeneralPhotography

Sabbatical update week 4

Finding my rhythm

After the struggle to be ‘productive’ during the last two weeks I’ve found my rhythm this week. Small tweaks in my daily routine brought the change I needed which was reinforced by inspiration.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” – John C. Maxwell

I had all this activities on my list like ‘complete reading book’ ‘watch course on typography’ and I wasn’t making progress. I started creating a habit of defining three things to complete the next day and I break them down in small parts. Like ‘read chapter 2 of this book’ or ‘outline this blogpost’. The next day after my morning routine I immediately get going and it’s easy to make progress. Action creates motivation and I felt energized all week. This, however had a downside as I was still full of energy going to bed, which hurt my sleep. With my phone next to my bed it was tempting to browse the internet or catch up with my favourite vloggers. Starting last night my phone is forbidden in the bedroom. Let’s see how this tweak to my daily routine impacts my productivity and sleep.

Inspiration

It was also an inspirational week. Last week Eric Ries’ new book The Startup Way was released. I immediately started reading and felt inspired. I’m only a few chapters into the new book yet but it’s interesting to recognize many of the elements that were part of the Innovate EY program described in the book.

The biggest inspiration of the week was due to the ‘Streets of the World‘ photography exhibition I visited on Friday. Photographer Jeroen Swolfs completed his passion project to take a street photo in every capital of the world. The 195 photos form an interesting documentary of humanity around the globe. It left me wondering what photo project I can take up that would be exhibition worthy. I can highly recommend the 45 minute National Geographic documentary (in Dutch) about this project.

Weekly stats:

  • Running: 28km
  • Total weekly steps: 83k
  • Average sleep: 6:39

Thanks for reading!

Broos

CategoriesGeneral

Sabbatical update week 3

The challenge continues

In the previous update I already shared with you the challenges that come with having no urgent deadlines or brief shots of adrenaline after every email, phone call or meeting. This week I had even more trouble finding my productivity. A few days passed filled with procrastination while trying out things to find my new rhythm. Going to a coffeeshop, co-working space or just outside (we were lucky with a few sunny days) did help to get some things done.

Feeling productive

The question I try to answer for myself is, when do I feel productive? It has always been a feeling of ‘being in the zone’ or ‘being present’. One of the EY leaders once explained to me that his definition of work-life balance is when he is fully present in the activity he is engaged in at that time. Enjoying the family when he’s home or on the phone with them as well as giving his full attention to the board meeting or the conference call he is dialling in to. I applied this concept not only to feeling balanced but also to being productive (after all you can only be truly productive when your thoughts are focused on what you’re doing). And this is exactly the feeling I’m lacking for the past two weeks. When I’m trying my hand on design I want to be learning to code and when learning to code I want to read a book. The only activities where I feel I’m truly present is with friends and family and while running. I feel strongly that these feelings and thoughts bring me closer to true intrinsic motivation for what I’m doing and doing only what I feel strongly motivated for.
With a fixed end date for my sabbatical I probably wouldn’t have had these feelings so I see this as a luxury and benefit of taking a sabbatical: a healthy struggle which I have to go through.
I went out cycling yesterday and today to find a spot in nature where I could read, write or create. I didn’t find a good spot for that yesterday but today something happened. While cycling, the journey became the destination. Slowly I started to feel some inner quiet to start doing the things I so badly want to do. That’s when I sat down and wrote this update. Will week 4 start to see increases in productivity? I will let you know next week!
Weekly stats:
  • Running: 34.5km
  • Total weekly steps: 102k
  • Average sleep: 7:19
Thanks for reading!
Broos
CategoriesGeneral

Sabbatical update week 2

Smooth sailing in week 1

After extending my contract till the end of August and our (late) summer holiday was over it felt like my sabbatical really started last week. Everyone was back to work, except for me. I had a speaking engagement on Tuesday evening and still had to prepare part of it so the week started off in a productive mode. Cracking away on my backlog in email and newsfeed made the first week feel like a really productive one.

Feeling productive or ‘in the flow’ is an important factor in how I feel overall.

The challenge in week 2

No more deadlines, no email overload, in essence no more urgencies. Week 2 was of to a different start. And I still hadn’t set my sabbatical goals. So after a few ‘unproductive’ days Thursday was the day. I went through the process of setting my priorities for the coming months and selecting the activities I’m committing towards out of all the ideas I have for my sabbatical. On top of that, I deliberately uncommitted to some others, such as writing a book. My goals for my sabbatical can broadly be summarized in the following 7 categories:

  1. Develop and maintain a healthy & productive routine
  2. Develop myself creatively & share with the world
  3. Spend time with friends & family
  4. Travel
  5. Develop a smart passive income project
  6. Search for co-founders
  7. Commit to new vocational activities for the next decade
Sabbatical goals

With that out of the way, nothing is holding me back to be productive again, right?

Wrong.

Friday and Saturday passed and I still not found myself executing on these goals. What is holding me back? A little soul searching let to (a first) answer. The goals I set require longer blocks of time to achieve anything meaningful or rewarding. Developing my designer skills is not something you achieve in the time you write an email, hold a conference call or have a meeting. It requires weeks of practice, sometimes even without feeling like you make progress. I simply can’t find the inner piece to do that (yet). I guess shifting away from the corporate urgency with short cycles of adrenaline shots for every meeting, email or call takes some time. Let’s see what week 3 will be like.

What I did

Thanks for reading!

Broos

CategoriesEntrepreneurship

Jeans made by robots

Daily I’m working with startups and on technologies that have the potential to automate repetitive tasks of highly skilled and highly educated workers in the western world. While these workers face a significant change in the skills required to perform their jobs and in some cases unemployment, automation potentially has a more severe impact in other industries. 

Recently a robot was introduced that can produce 800.000 t-shirts daily. Up to now, working with soft fabrics was considered too complex for robots to handle. The advancement in computer vision, AI and robot technology now makes it possible to automate even these complex tasks. And at such a high volume it will significantly reduce the cost of our clothing and as a result will likely displace many, relatively unskilled, workers. This could have a dramatic impact on the economies of countries such as Bangladesh, where textile and garment exports account for approximately 80% of all exports (source). 

This again highlights the need for comprehensive, global, educational programs for digital skills like coding. More of the aid for developing countries should be focused on this.

Via TNW