Sharpening Your Axe

There once was a woodcutter that worked everyday in the woodlot. His was a good life. Each day he would rise, pack a lunch, have breakfast with the family and help get the kids off to school. After that, he would enjoy a second cup of coffee while he read the morning paper. He would then fill his thermos and leave for work because each day, he had his "allotment" of wood he needed to cut. He'd have his coffee break, his lunch break, sometimes even getting a 10 minute nap after lunch, his afternoon coffee where he'd socialize with the other woodcutters at the woodlot, and, having cut his allotment of wood for the day, he'd still manage to be home about the same time as the kids got home from school everyday. He'd play with the kids, sometimes help his wife make supper, sometimes help the kids with their homework.

After supper he'd relax, sometimes help his wife with dishes, sometimes he'd bring out his fiddle and play. The kids always likes that.

He could enjoy his life and his family, because he was a woodcutter. He liked his job and he was very good at it.

Over time, he began to notice that he seemed to be working harder and harder to get his allotment of wood cut every day. He'd start to arrive at the woodlot earlier and leave later. Eventually it got to the point that he was up and gone before the kids were out of bed, and he wouldn't get home till after dark, when it was long past the kid's bedtime. His lunch breaks became nothing more then grabbing a sandwich while he continued to work, and his coffee breaks were gone altogether.

One afternoon while he was working away cutting his allotment of wood, his neighbour from the adjoining lot happened to wander by.

"Hey George." his neighbour called out. "We haven't seen you for coffee lately. What have you been up to?

"Just working away." George replied."Trying to get my allotment of wood cut. I'd love to stop and visit with you Fred, but getting all this wood cut just seems to be getting harder and harder every day."

"I can see that George. You look like you're exhausted." Fred commented back.

George continued to cut and Fred stood there watching while the two men visited. Finally Fred called out. "Hold on there a minute George... let me see your axe."

"Why, you couldn't cut butter with this axe George. It's dull as all get-out. Tomorrow, why don't you take the morning off and go into town to the blacksmith and get your axe sharpened?"

"I don't have time to sharpened my axe, Fred... " George answered back. "I have all this wood I need to cut.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we all need to take the time to sharpen our axe, to work smarter, not harder. We need to be continually honing our skills. Sometimes we need to stop working "in" the business, to allow us time to work "on" the business.