Taking The Time To Sharpen The Saw


For many of us, life is often a non-stop whirlwind of furious sawing at work, home, or in our relationships. We push ourselves until we can handle no more, and then escape for much needed vacations, thinking they will make up for all our missed hours of sleep and gym appointments, and melt away all the accumulated stress.

In the best-selling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey uses the analogy of a woodcutter who sharpens his saw so he can cut more effectively to underline the importance of taking the time to renew ourselves.

As relaxing as island getaways may sound, such breaks aren’t sharpening the saw but simply putting it down. While vacations provide a temporary reprieve, our saws (or the tools that we possess, including body, mind and soul) remain as dull as ever when we pick them up again.

Saw sharpening, then, is an active process that needs to be done regularly to be effective. Otherwise, like a woodcutter with a blunt blade, we find increasing friction and resistance in our attempts to make progress.

Sharpening our saws can mean different things, including:

• Getting regular exercise
• Getting enough sleep
• Nourishing our bodies with the right food
• Getting an adequate dose of vitamins and supplements

• Constantly learning new things
• Approaching things from a different perspective
• Reading a book
• Solving a puzzle or playing a logic game
• Teaching someone a skill you possess

• Developing a trusted support network to confide in
• Immersing yourself in music and art
• Soaking in a sunset
• Meditating / praying
• Meeting up with an old friend

It’s a good idea to pause every now and then and ask ourselves which of our blades could use some sharpening.

What saw can you sharpen today to help you achieve your goals more efficiently?

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” -Winston Churchill

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