december 19, 2018

Stephen Covey’s book talks about the habits of highly effective people and the key common characteristic found in the world’s most powerful leaders.

1.  Be Pro-active

2.  Begin with an End in mind

3.  Put First Things First

4.  Think Win-Win

5.  Seek First to Understand

6.  Synergize

7.  Sharpen the Saw

The one key habit I wanted to dwell into is the last one. Sharpen the saw. This is because I know this habit has completely changed my life and once you install these habits into your life it will become the gift that will keep on giving.

If lumberjacks spent all their time sawing down trees but never stopped to sharpen their saws, they’d soon have such dull tools that they couldn’t fell a single tree.

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 10.05.27 PM.png

Similarly, if you never pause to take care of yourself, any gains in effectiveness you achieve will be short-lived, for you’ll soon exhaust yourself and won’t be able to maintain any of the good habits you’ve developed. That’s why “sharpening your saw” is essential for lasting effectiveness in each of the four key areas of your life:

(1)  Physical

 Exercise regularly, eat healthily and avoid undue stress.


(2)  Spiritual
This contributes to lasting effectiveness. This could mean praying, meditating, going to church or simply regularly reflecting on your own values and lessons learnt.


(3)  Mental
Read plenty of good books, stop watching TV and make time journaling. Organizing and planning things are also good exercises to keep your mind sharp and fresh.


(4)  Social and Emotional
Seeking to understand others, building positive relationships within a community and working on projects that help improve your lives.

Consciously make time to recuperate and recharge. Many people claim they can’t find time for this, but in the long-term, it’s essential for sustained effectiveness and the rewards in productivity and well-being that come with it.

To make sure you truly sharpen your saw, write down activities that could contribute to your well-being in each of the four dimensions. Then pick one activity in each as a goal for the week and, afterwards, evaluate your performance. This will help you strive for balanced renewal in all area.