Stephen A. Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says “Sharpen the Saw” is Habit 7 and shares the story of a man who has worked for more than five hours to saw down a tree. When asked why he doesn’t take a break and sharpen the saw, sure to speed his work along, the man replies, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. I’m too busy sawing!”
Covey goes on to define sharpen the saw as “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you.” It’s about renewing yourself, physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially/emotionally. This requires a proactive investment in ourselves. And it takes time, something we all seem to find in short supply. I’ll be the first in line to say it’s easy to get caught up in my daily activities and neglect sharpening my saw. With so much going on with the day-to-day activities of my business and other commitments beyond work, where am I going to find time to “sharpen the saw”? For me, it’s about making it a priority – and honoring that priority. I’m big on time blocking, and this is one way you can put that to use. Currently I have time blocked for a variety of “sharpening” activities.
Here are some ideas for sharpening your saw:
- Visit a museum
- Try a new technique or class
- Educate yourself (read something new, go to a seminar, listen to one of our teleclasses)
- Organize your studio
- Review and update your goals
- Take time to exercise or try yoga
- Enjoy natural surroundings
Covey also explains his “Upward Spiral” concept of renewal that allows us to grow and change. To do this, we must consciously learn, commit and do; learn, commit and do; continuously. This will keep your blade sharp. Where are your blades dull and what are you doing to sharpen them?
Please share your thoughts on “sharpening your saw” and how you do this below.