Time to sharpen the saw is one of my favorite parables. I woke up today and was reminded of this story and thought it would be a great time during the pandemic to encourage myself and those around me to sharpen their saws. As a business owner, I often use Saturday mornings to sharpen my saw, a wonderful time to reflect on the past week and plan for the upcoming week.
What does time to sharpen the saw mean?
If you have not read Stephen R. Covey’s book, it is time to do so now. It is step number seven from Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’s book. Basically it highlights the importance of taking a break and sharpening your tools (skills, etc). He discusses how Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”
For a dietitian, small business owner, you are the tool (you are the axe, so it important to spend time each day developing skills so that you are more efficient and productive at your craft (job). I am a firm believer in working smarter, not harder (although I do work pretty darn hard).
To help all of the dietitians and future dietitians in private practice “sharpen their saw”, I thought that I would share three of my favorite tips to work more efficiently.
Tips to work more efficiently:
1. Never be too busy to pause and sharpen the saw. Remember, busy does not necessarily mean productive. What one thing could you do today that would help make it easier for physicians to refer to you once the pandemic is over? Here is a suggestion, how about creating a prescription pad for the docs to give to their patients. Take a look at a sample of our prescription pad.
2. Think about what you are really passionate about in terms of counseling clients.
- Which clients do you
- end up feeling energized seeing?
- feel like you connect with the best?
- are you excited about helping?
- Have a special connection with because you or a loved one may have struggled with a specific condition?
- Would you like to be an expert?
- Can you imagine yourself becoming an expert in this area of nutrition? Then that would be the niche that I would recommend that you focus on. I think if it like how physician’s specialize, you would not go to an oncologist if you had a broken arm and you would not go to an orthopedic doc if you had a cancer.
Similarly, I believe that a client would have a better experience going to a renal dietitian for kidney disease counseling then going to an eating disorder dietitian. Both are excellent specialities, but there is not much crossover.
3. How do you want your career to look? What is your vision? Do you want to counsel clients face to face in an office setting? How about in a physician’s office or a hospital? Do you want to lead groups, classes, or workshops? Do you want to write a book? Spend some time making a vision board to help you solidify your dreams. Once you have a good understanding of where you want to be, it help you make decisions in a conscious way to help you create the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams.
Overview and Action Items:
- Sharpen your saw and make your processes and systems better like designing a prescription pad
- Focus on how to attract your ideal clients
- Create a vision board and put it somewhere that you can see it often
Take the next step
For more information about how you can sharpen your saw and work smarter, not harder, take a look at our Welcome to the REBELution: 7 Steps to Creating the Nutrition Counseling Practice of Your Dreams workbook. You can also follow these posts on my linked-in account each week.
You can also reach out to Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD or Klara Knezevic, RD, LD, CLT for information on individualized business coaching to help you take your next step.
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Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.