Greetings World O'Technology. I am back. You might have been curious as to where I have been the last couple of days. (Oh wait? You didn't notice? Well, for the sake of this post, let's pretend you did ;-) Anywho, I temporarily disappeared. No writing. Minimal productivity for three whole days. And not because I was unmotivated. Not because I didn't have anything to write about (believe you me, there are enough little thought bubbles floating around in my head for a lifetime of blogposts-- quantity vs quality perhaps?) What did I do on my brief sabbatical? I took some time to "Sharpen the Saw."
Before I get too far into this, let me set a bit of context. Stephen Covey (the guy who wrote Seven Habits for Highly Effective People) deems his 7th habit as "Sharpening the Saw." Many of you might be familiar with this concept, but let's review. One version of the story goes like this:
Two old school lumberjacks were out in the deep foresty woods of Kansas... Ok, Georgia. Ok, somewhere with a lot of trees. Anyway, they were, as do most lumberjacks, cutting down trees. Lumberjack #1, we will call him LJ (lumberjack) Jim, was furiously working at a high rate of speed. He was desperate to get home to his beloved wife who's wife had agreed that if he would get home in time for supper, that he could have the remote for the ENTIRE evening. (Talk about man motivation eh?) LJ Jim pressed forward, sweat dripping, never stopping.
LJ #2, we will call him LJ Bob, was also intensely sawing away to make his quota for the day, because his beloved wife promised if he made it home before dark, that he would get eat a Buffalo Wild Wings once a week for the rest of year. (Again, man motivation.) LJ Bob, however, had a slightly different strategy. While he still worked very hard, he would stop for about 3 minutes every hour to sharpen his saw. Take a wild guess who was chowing down on 24 Asian Zing wings four times per month and who was stuck watching "Say Yes to the Dress?"
Ok, the moral of this "slightly" modified story is this: We all have goals, most of us have a desire to work hard. That is all fantastic. However, if we work furiously ALL the time without taking a few precious moments to sharpen our saw, we are going to be very dull, not staying sharp and essentially working harder instead of smarter. It's exhausting.
So, what do we do? First of all, we should all try to take a few moments from our day to have a smidge of quiet time with the Lord, listening to Him and maybe even spending it in his word. As it says in Hebrews 4:12 "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword..." That alone will set you on a path for motivation and success throughout your day (hint: This could be a soon-ish future topic of blogging, so stay tuned!)
But all your saw-sharpening activities don't have to be time-consuming, extremely routine or overly intellectual/spiritual. It can be a few moments or an activity to get you away from the daily grind and bring you to a grinder to make you sharp once again! Working/living tired and stressed sometimes builds up and become counterproductive. But Sharita... I don't have TIME/MONEY/ABILITY/ETC to sharpen the saw! My response? Make a bit of time. Get creative. Your ME time is important.
How do YOU sharpen the saw? Take 15 minutes a week (or a day if you can spare it) to do something semi-unproductive but rejuvanting (I am not talking slothful behavior here... recharge, sharpening behavior instead.) Read a non-school book. Take a hot soak in the tub (my next stop, fyi.) Pray. Listen to music. Run away from the "world" to a secluded place in nature/bookstore/yogurt shop. Drink a fancy cup of coffee. Go for a run. Meditate. Sit on the porch and watch it rain. Play an instrument. Sleep in without feeling guilty. Drink a glass of wine (note: glass. Not case. Not box. Unless it is spread over a period of time-- with friends ;-) Find a reason to LAUGH. ("A cheerful heart is good medicine... Proverbs 15:30) You want me to continue?
Sharpening the saw doesn't have to be an excursion, costing a ton of cash. Because let's be honest, time and money are two things that always seem to be semi-strapped. But if we can take a few minutes each day to just BREATHE, we can be that much sharper in our daily tasks, furthering the kingdom of God, so that when we say "TIMBERRRRRRR!!!" for the final time, we hear an echo of "Well done, my good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)
Living and active through Him,
"Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest." -- Exodus 34:21