How sharp is your business saw?

by Peter Bestel 5 replies
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day; he’s a businessman who is seemingly constantly busy. He’s always got a lot on, rushing here there and everywhere, working right up to and beyond deadlines, and his stress levels are through the roof and his health is beginning to suffer. He seems to think that because he runs his own business he has to be doing stuff every minute of the day, always in a dash to get off to do the next thing. Whether it’s business or pleasure he is often late for, well, everything.
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.

#main internet marketing discussion forum #business #sharp
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Hey Peter,

    Very true. A person needs to take some time off to sharpen their saw. Maybe it is by taking a 2 day vacation or just taking a few hours off.

    He needs to take some time off for himself or he will stress himself out to the point where his health will get worst.

    Yes, running a business is important but you HAVE to give your self some time off.

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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    One of the most important of ideas of all here. We don't want to only work hard; we want to work smart. Often people are trying to be successful, yet they fail to actually go out and meet successful people and learn how they did it. Sure, there was some hard work at times, but usually the person found ways to get the information they needed to be successful and act on it.
    It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
      Just wondering, if you keep your saw sharp, what sort of practical things do you do?

      Shay, appreciate the 'Thanks', but go easy on those things - they'll run out before you know it!

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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        I make a very good living showing people how to manage their time better. I read Covey's books many years ago, and I believe he also said if you have only 4 hours to cut down a tree, spend the first hour sharpening your saw.
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        • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
          Originally Posted by myob View Post

          I read Covey's books many years ago, and I believe he also said if you have only 4 hours to cut down a tree, spend the first hour sharpening your saw.
          Thanks for that, yeah, I recollect him saying that too - good advice!

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