Sharpen The Saw

May 19th, 2010

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books and I find myself coming back time and time again to it despite the fact that it was first published over 20 years ago. My favorite of the 7 habits just happens to be the 7th one; Sharpen the Saw. Just what does this mean? Covey defines it this way:

“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”

I think this habit should hold special meaning to college students in general and especially online college students. One of the reasons that people take online classes is because they are juggling multiple responsibilities including work and family in addition to their education. Being so busy with so many different things people sometimes forget to take care of themselves and their needs. Covey would say their saw is becoming dull and in time this dullness will make them less effective in all the other areas of their lives. Summer is the perfect time to possibly take a step back and assess just how sharp your saw is and think about ways to sharpen it. Maybe it means taking a vacation or volunteering in a Summer youth program. Maybe it means taking that class that you’ve always wanted to take but never had the time or just making time for a walk each day. For me, Summer weather allows me to do the physical outdoor activities of biking and running that Indiana weather often prevents the rest of the year.

There’s really no limit to the possible saw sharpening activities. There’s as many activities as there are individuals doing them. The really important thing is choosing the activities that you love; those that rejuvenate and ground you, and then making time for them and going out and doing them