Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Welcome to the conclusion of the science (or not) in the 7 habits of highly effective people.

Habit 7 involves sharpening the saw.  In this case, the saw is you.  You will only effectively cut that metaphorical tree if you are sharp as … well … a saw.

Stephen Covey’s opening parable drives this home.  We meet a hard-working chap furiously cutting a tree with a blunt saw.  A passer-by suggests he needs to sharpen his saw.  He says (irritably I suspect) “I haven’t got time” and returns to his furious sawing.  This is laughable in its absurdity – who would do this?  Now, look closer where are you or someone in your life: working long hours; running from task-to-task; grabbing food on the run; skipping exercising; or drinking more than you should to unwind?

Time to stop the absurdity and sharpen the saw. Consider sharpening yourself in these four domains:

1) Physical – sharpen by good eating, exercise and all that jazz

2) Social – sharpen by connecting to others

3) Mental – reading, writing, learning

4) Spiritual – meditation, nature bathing (yes its a thing), prayer, art … whatever is your thing.

I can boldly say the science in this is there as I did my PhD in wellbeing and it covered most of this.  Email me for a copy if you want all the gory details (and an insomnia cure).

It is also a bit of a no-brainer to say that taking time to sharpen your saw is important to achieving all the other habits.

So Habit 7 has come good, not a moment too soon.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.  It has been a tricky one.  However it has also started me on a bigger journey, that will be tricker by far, but perhaps the most rewarding yet.

Yours as ever,

The Wellbeing at Work Dr.

References links and all that jazz


This is part of a larger series on Stephen Covers 7 Habits, being:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/wood-tool-saw-9280/