In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses the analogy of a woodcutter who has been sawing for several days straight and has become less and less productive. After all, cutting dulls the blade so the woodcutter needs to periodically sharpen his saw.
Most people fail to understand what sharpening the saw really means. If you’re overworking yourself and your productivity begins to fall off, common wisdom says to take a break, maybe even go on vacation.
However, that isn’t sharpening the saw — that’s putting the saw down! When you put down a dull blade for a while, the blade will still be dull when you pick it up again.
To sharpen the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you!
It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in four key areas of your life: BODY, HEART, MIND and SOUL.
Maintaining balance in these areas keeps you at your best, increasing your capacity to handle the challenges around you. Without it, the body becomes weak, the emotions raw, the mind mechanical and the soul insensitive.
To maintain the BODY, engage in activities such as healthy diet, exercise and rest. The HEART needs meaningful relationships, whilst the MIND requires learning, reading and writing. Finally, the SOUL is fed through the arts, meditation and prayer.
It’s all up to you. Or, you can wake up one day full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone!anon
Call to Action
Before we go on, grab a piece of A4 paper and a pen. Now, draw a large circle and divide into four sections, as though you were dividing a pizza, and label each with BODY, HEART, MIND and SOUL.
This is your Renewal Wheel.
Now, on a scale of 0 (low) to 10 (high), consider the amount of attention you’re devoting to each area and mark each score on the appropriate segment of your wheel.
Does your wheel look and feel balanced?
Feeling good doesn’t just happen! It takes commitment and perseverance.
Under each area, come up with as many activities as you can in the next ten minutes that would help sharpen your saw.
These may be things you already do or things you’ve been putting off. They could be things that you’ve only just thought of!
Whatever they are, make a note or them.
You will now have a whole host of activities in front that can help rebalance your Renewal Wheel.
Choose which of these you are willing to take up, or do more of, to be at your best.