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How Are You Sharpening Your Saw?

small_8684715923One of my favorite books is Stephen A. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 7 is about sharpening the saw. Covey shares the story of a man who has worked for more than five hours to saw down a tree. When asked why he does not 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 is 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 will be the first in line to say it is 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 is about making it a priority – and honoring that priority. I am 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:

  1. Visit a museum
  2. Try a new technique or class
  3. Educate yourself (read something new, go to a seminar, listen to one of our teleclasses)
  4. Journal
  5. Organize your studio
  6. Review and update your goals
  7. Take time to exercise or try yoga
  8. 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?

I also wanted to share an appropriate quote

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Please share how you “sharpen your saw?”

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photo credit: steeljam via photopin cc



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Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at


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One Response to “How Are You Sharpening Your Saw?”

  1. Laura Estes said:

    7 Habits is one of the best books I have read for business and life encouragement. Doodling, clipping to my decorating file, straightening up the studio (a real saw sharpener), putzing in the flower beds, photographing Punkin, our cat. Taking a class on just about anything. Making a long and extended list so I don’t waste time trying to remember what is most important to do first. Just a few of the things I do to keep on track and keep sharp.

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