By Neil Phillips.
Is it just me, or does life get wonky around a 3-day weekend holiday? Last week people were going crazy to get ready. This week, those same people are going crazy catching up. Since we are going to repeat this ritual in a month with Independence Day, maybe we can plan ahead for a saner holiday. Now I know you want to work right now and not think about your next holiday. Seriously though: do you want to go through that craziness again?
In Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the very last one is called the “Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal.” More commonly, it is known as Sharpen the Saw. The metaphor he uses to explain this is straightforward. If you were cutting down a tree, it would be much easier with a sharp saw.
What we don’t often think about is the four dimensions of self-renewal. A three day weekend is a perfect opportunity to experience a little of all four.
1. Spiritual Renewal. We have an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. With nearly 250 years as a nation, we have a lot to be grateful for. What are you grateful for? Can you spend a little extra time contemplating all that has gone right in your life for the first six months of 2017? Who will listen as you share those perfect feelings?
2. Physical Renewal. My guess is that there will be mass quantities of food and beverages consumed over the holiday weekend. There is a reason that food retailers love holidays. We eat and drink a lot. While the consumption binge is briefly satisfying, we also get an opportunity to catch a little extra sleep, relaxation time, and (for the food guilty) even some exercise.
3. Social/Emotional Renewal. With time away from work, we have an opportunity to spend more time with our family and friends; we can renew familial bonds and friendships. Sharing a meal is more than breaking bread. We also share the bonds made and strengthened over the table.
4. Mental Renewal. When we take the time to slow down, we can spend a little time letting our minds wander in some new directions. We catch up on the news, daydream, plan without pressure, and maybe even catch-up on some list making and office cleaning.
While these four areas all seem unique, they share a common trait: you can only engage in renewal by being proactive. When you are driven by the urgent, renewal doesn’t happen. Plan, and your holiday becomes a source ofr renewal. Don’t plan and your holiday becomes a nightmare.
Ask yourself a simple question: Do I really need a holiday to sharpen my saw? Obviously, you don’t have to have a holiday. You can establish a habit by building time in your schedule for renewal. This doesn’t mean just thinking about it. Unless you build the time in your schedule, you won’t set the time to break your old habits. Ironically, the one that most people don’t take seriously is mental renewal. We schedule time off; we have vacations. What most people don’t do is schedule time for mental development.
When is that last time you took a class to improve your job performance?
What are you scheduling on a regular basis to develop new skills and attributes?
How often do you talk with outside business acquaintances without trying to sell them something?
Who Will Help You Sharpen Your Saw?
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