I don’t really know his motives for having such a hectic lifestyle but it’s clear that he needs to organise his time more efficiently – he must be very close to some sort of a breakdown. I asked if he’d ever thought of going on a time-management course. His ‘classic’ answer was to say that he was too busy and didn’t have the time!
His response reminded me of the metaphor that Stephen Covey used in his ‘Seven Habits’ book. It went something like this:
A wise man came across woodcutter who was attempting to cut down a tree with a saw.
'You look exhausted,' said the wise man.
'Yeah! I’ve been trying to cut this tree down for hours now and I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to get the job done,' puffed the woodcutter.
'Why don’t you take a rest?' said the wise man. 'And while you’re at it, you could sharpen your saw.'
'I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,' said the woodcutter impatiently, 'I’m too busy working!'
Covey talks about sharpening the saw on a personal level and protecting the biggest asset you have in life (and your business) YOU !
He suggests we work on four distinct areas:
Our physical body – exercise, nutrition etc
Our mental health – Reading, writing and planning
Our emotional & social state – how we interact with others
Our spirituality – your values
This is something I’ve learned to do over the years since first reading his book. It really works and has had a dramatic effect on my work/life balance and the effectiveness and efficiency of my business.
So, when it comes to your business, are you like the woodcutter and my friend, always busy, busy, busy and not investing time to learn and grow? It’s all too easy, especially as new business, to get down to the technical side of the business of doing it, doing it, doing it and neglect the softer, less sexy bits of keeping your body and mind healthy, so you’ll be able to run a successful business for much longer.