Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions and for that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.
His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was to work and the first day, the woodcutter cut down 18 trees.
'Congratulations,' the boss said. 'Go on that way!'
Very motivated for the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he only could cut down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could cut down 10 trees. Day after day he was cutting less and less trees.
'I must be losing my strength,' the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologised, saying that he could not understand what was going on.
'When was the last time you sharpened your axe?' the boss asked.
'Sharpen! I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut down trees . . . '
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don't take time to sharpen the 'axe.'
In today's world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay 'sharp'. There's nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read, etc.
We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don't take time to sharpen the 'axe', we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. So start from today, think about the ways by which you could do your job more effectively and add a lot of value to it.
Written by Stephen Covey
Author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People