SHARPENING THE SAW

Critically reflective practice as a way of being




In his best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses the metaphor of 'sharpening the saw.' The basic concept is that no lumberjack would ever dream of trying to chop down trees without sharpening their saw first. It would be too slow, too difficult and exhausting. According to Barbara Bassot, in a metaphorical sense, many professionals do just that; they try and manage busy schedules and heavy workloads without taking any time for themselves to 'sharpen their saw.'


Covey suggests that we pay attention to four key areas when we sharpen our saw:


  • The physical dimension - caring for our physical bodies, e.g. eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising on a regular basis.

  • The spiritual dimension - Covey describes this as our core and commitment to our value system. This is a very private area of life and very individual. It involves spending time drawing on the sources that inspire and uplift us.

  • The mental dimension - caring for our minds and keeping them stimulated, for example reading, continuing in education.

  • The social/emotional dimension - taking time to work at relationships with key people at home and at work.

We can hear many people saying things like 'I would love to do X, but I just don't have the time.' Our lives are so full, however, so the only time we have is the time we make.


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