Don Roulo is the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) of Life Quest. He is a life, career and business coach as well as a Certified 48 Days Workshop Facilitator. He travels nationally and internationally to conduct business and career training as well as marriage and family workshops.
By DON ROULO
I was reading through some notes as I prepare for several speaking engagements. One jumped off the page at me. It was number seven on Stephen Covey’s list of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It says, “Sharpen The Saw.”
We are now entering fall and winter and I think this is why this principle stood out to me. We have a wood burner at our house. Over the years my wife and I have cut many loads of wood. In the last year or two we have been so busy we have not had the time to take full day or two to do it on our own, but it reminded me of this principle.
Before we would ever start cutting wood, I would take the 10 minutes to sharpen the blade of the chainsaw. I would also stop about every hour or so to re-sharpen the blade again. I learned this principle of sharpening the saw before and during the cutting process the hard way. I knew the blade had to be sharp, but I did not know I had to stop as often as I did to make sure it stayed that way.
In the beginning, everything was great and I cut through wood with ease. Then it became more difficult. It started to take twice as long to do the same amount of wood. I thought to myself several times, ‘I might as well be using a butter knife to cut this wood.’ Well, my lightning quick mind told me there was a problem. I needed a solution, so I asked a family member what I should do. My wonderful family member said, “Hey genius, you need to stop and sharpen the blade every so often so it works better and you don’t have to work as hard.’
Taking 10 minutes to sharpen the saw saved me time and extra hard work, which was producing little results by the way. How does this story help your career and business? Sharpening the saw is taking the time to plan out your work day. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re productive. I was quite busy when the chainsaw was dull, but not very productive.
I believe if you take 10 minutes of quality planning time – sharpening your saw – you can save yourself an hour of busy work time. This means about an hour of planning can save you a full day of busy work. If these statistics are even close, which I believe they are, you can save yourself a lot of hard work by sharpening your saw. Though I have no problem with working hard, I really do believe in working smarter and not harder. If I am going to spend my time working hard, I want it to produce results.
Here is a great way to make sure you finish cutting your load of wood every day. Sharpen your saw at the beginning of your work day. This will help you start your day off right. Realize things will happen throughout the day to dull your saw. About half way through your day, don’t forget to take the time to stop and take another 10 minutes to re-sharpen your saw. If you have taken the time to plan – sharpen your saw – you can continue to be more productive, more efficient and certainly less frustrated as you cut through your load of wood. Keep sharpening your saw!
About the Author
Don Roulo is a life, career and business coach as well as a Certified 48 Days Workshop Facilitator. He travels nationally and internationally to conduct business and career training as well as marriage and family workshops.
As a business consultant, he has written business plans and worked to market products or services as well as organizing financial statements for investors. Because of his success in the sales and business arena, Don has been blessed with the opportunity to train, motivate and inspire others. His passion is to motivate and equip people to find their passion and achieve their goals and God given destiny.