Sharpening the Saw
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Foreman: What'cha doin', Louie?
Louie: I'm sawin' these planks, boss... got a bunch of 'em to do!
Foreman: Ummmmm, yeah... Louie, I can't tell for sure from this angle but it looks like your saw's kinda dull.
Louie: Eyes of a hawk, boss... I seen better edges on butter-knives!
Foreman: Ummmm, yeah... so tell me, Louie, if you don't mind my askin'... why don'cha sharpen the saw, then?
Louie: Oh, I can't do that now, boss... I'm too busy cuttin' these planks!
These two points clearly illustrate a situation I've encountered lately. I had found myself spent... mentally, spiritually, and physically, and when I had finally reflected on how I had gotten to that point, it was clear that I had definitely fallen off the wagon in regards to overall maintenance and upkeep. I tried to pinpoint where things had gone wrong, but there was no definite answer in sight. Instead, I had come to the conclusion that it was an accumulation of instances where I had allowed priorities to become minor details of my life, forcing them to take a back seat to pursuits I deemed worthy of all my time and effort. In the process, I've noticed significant changes in my body, mind, soul, and relationships. My level of investment in all these areas had been rapidly declining, and it seemed like there was no end in sight to the barrage of reponsibilities that were piling up, pushing me further into this descent. I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when I noticed I wasn't sketching in my spare time, mainly because I felt like I was trapped in a constant cycle of work and recuperation. I even considered things I enjoyed to be work and avoided them like the plague!
Then, something dawned on me... I remembered a time when things were positive and consistent in my life, a time when I felt as close to complete as I possibly could. It was when I actually had a schedule, a structured routine to abide by, that focused on areas of basic self development. What if I took the same energies that I was applying to outside ventures, and invested them back into myself, to shore up deficiencies and get back to the place where I ran as efficiently as a well-oiled machine? What if I applied the principles of Habit #7 in Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"? I've started to take drastic measures to eliminate clutter from my life in order to "sharpen the saw" and get to living my best life possible. I stopped doing freelance in order to commit more time to self, so that I wasn't working for others the majority of my day. I believe freeing myself up mentally without being "under the gun" all the time will allow me to create my best work. I've started a vegan diet to replace the junk I had fueled myself on for quite some time and started going back to the gym. I've also started to turn the TV off and read a little more, to grow mentally and learn from those who have forged the path I am trying to walk. I'm also going to attempt to get back into church in order to build my "faith muscles" and strengthen my relationship with God.
If you're ever feeling burnt, spent, worn thin, etc., I highly recommend stepping back and looking at everything you've got on your plate and seeing what makes you feel complete and what you could do without, and start putting one foot in front of the other in the direction you'd eventually like to see yourself, long-term.
As Dave Ramsey would say, "A baby step is still a step!"
Take care, y'all.