Sharpening the Saw

By | January 20, 2018

One of my favorite books is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, written by Stephen Covey. The book is a classic and is a must read for everyone, irregardless of what your career path may be. One of the “seven habits” is “Sharpening the Saw”. The chapter starts off with a little allegory about a guy trying to cut down a tree with a dull saw. The guy has been at it all day long and is making very slow progress. When someone recommends that perhaps he should sharpen his saw, he responds that he doesn’t have time to stop and sharpen the saw. I hope you see where this is going. The moral of the story and of the chapter for that matter is that with properly maintained equipment, we can be much more effective in whatever our pursuits may be.

Our bodies and our brains are our main tools, if not our only tools. Only with proper routine maintenance can we expect to produce at our optimal effectiveness. How you chose to do that is your business, the important thing is that you just do it.

I recently read a post by a well-known, nationally syndicated sales columnist, author and consultant. In the article he basically advocates that sleeping is equal to wasting time and cuts into his productivity. My personal opinion is that this is dangerous advice to be dishing out. In fairness to him, he does mention that as he has aged, he requires less sleep, and I can attest to that fact. But nonetheless, I worry that with his large sphere of influence, many people might get the wrong idea and start trying to cut down on sleep. The quantity of work that will be gained will not make of for the quality of work that will be lost. Sleep is extremely important to your ability to reach your peak performance and is one of the ways that you “sharpen your saw”.

Regular vacations and time away from work are another way to “sharpen your saw”. I recently returned from a 5 day trip with my son where we took in two days of amusement parks, a zoo and a trip to the beach. I’m pretty sure that my son enjoyed the trip, but for sure, I had a ball. I could literally feel my batteries being recharged, in big part because I was able to leave all of my work behind. Before I left, I changed my e-mail to automatically respond to all messages that I would be out all week and I gave other contact names and numbers of people who could assist them in my absence. Of course, I gave them permission to call me if they wanted, and told them that I’d be checking e-mails on a very limited basis. As a result, I received two or three calls during the entire trip, and all of the matters were either handled routinely by others or could wait till my return. In order to do your best work, you need to make sure that you take routine time away from your office and your job. And that means disconnecting from e-mails and phone calls. If you’re convinced that your job won’t allow you to totally disconnect in this way, then your organization is disorganized.

Good sleeping habits, regular vacations, recreational activities, exercise and meditation are just some of the ways that you can “sharpen your saw”. As I stated before, it’s not how you chose to sharpen your saw that is important, what’s important is that you routinely have time built into your schedule to do it.

Hector Cadena is a 25 year sales veteran with a successful track history of building strong relationships with his customers. Cadena shares his proven sales knowledge with others on his web site at

Product Description
VonHaus 6pc Chisel Set An indispensable woodworking tool, the VonHaus chisel set comes in a selection of sizes to intricate carpentry, woodwork and DIY projects. Whether you're shaving a rough surface or shaping corners, you'll find the tool for the job in this set. The set comes with 4 X full tang chisels - ½", ¾" 1" & 1¼" - as well as a sharpening stone and honing guide. The blades are crafted from hardwearing heat-treated chrome vanadium steel alloy - strong and impact-resistant, the heat-treated finish promotes a longer lifespan. Each chisel has a solid, impact-resistant polypropylene plastic handle for a more comfortable and secure grip. Ideal for use with a rubber hammer, use the chisel and hammer together for added impact - great for faster cutting. The narrow side bevels and selection of sizes available allow you to achieve the most accurate finish for your project. Sharpening Stone & Honing Guide Built to last, the set includes a sharpening stone and honing guide to keep your tools performing at their peak. Used together, these tools can prolong the life of your chisels by maintaining a sharp edge and perfect bevelled angle. The entire set comes neatly presented in a hard blow moulded carry case with EVA foam insert - keeping your items neatly organised and easily accessible. The complete case is easy to transport and store. Carry Case Size: 11.9 X 11.3 X 1.7" (Length X Width X Height) Weight: 4.1lb

Price: $34.99
  • SET INCLUDES: Carve and cut with precision using this VonHaus 6 piece chisel set. Full set includes 4 X full tang wood chisels - ½", ¾" 1" & 1¼ " (12,19, 25, 32mm) - ideal for woodwork, carpentry and DIY projects
  • HEAT TREATED: Made from heat-treated, chrome vanadium steel alloy blades with a ground finish and narrow side bevels. Each chisel has a solid, impact-resistant polypropylene plastic handle for superior handling
  • SECURE STORAGE: Supplied in a distinctive black and orange blow molded storage case. Suitable for domestic storage and transportation
  • PRECISION: Comes with a sharpening stone and honing guide for precision application. Chisels will need sharpening to ensure maximum performance
  • ADDED POWER: Use with a rubber hammer for added power (not included)

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