Sharpening the Saw

In Stephen Covey’s well-known and oft-quoted book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the last and final habit is known as “sharpening the saw.”  Covey explains that this habit “means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”  If you’re like many professionals, the idea of taking a time-out to rejuvenate yourself may seem a little self-indulgent.  Aren’t you too busy sawing, for heaven’s sake?  Unfortunately, too much sawing and not enough sharpening makes your work less effective and eventually, inadequate.  Consider creating your own program for self-renewal using the following suggestions.


Neglecting your health will come back to haunt your business at some point or another, either in sick time, lack of focus, or compromised workflow.  And while we’re not suggesting you train for a triathlon, we are saying that taking better care of yourself will only benefit your business in the long run.  Getting plenty of sleep, water, and exercise, while enjoying a healthy diet, will provide the perfect foundation for a balanced life.  Not only that, but it’s an outward manifestation of your desire to take care of yourself, in all the areas of your life.


What’s life about if not making meaningful connections with the people around you?  Whether it be friends, family, or neighbors, take the time to associate with those you care for.  In fact, to demonstrate your commitment to balancing all aspects of your life, use the same calendar for both personal and business activities.  Otherwise you may miss something important because you were looking at the wrong calendar.


Covey suggests that honoring the spiritual element of your life might require “spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer or service.”  In addition,  Walter Bagehot claims, “No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.”  To many, meditation is a mystical, new-age activity for which they have no time.  But what if we told you that meditation could help you achieve greater focus, tranquility, and direction in your personal and professional life?  Would it become a more appealing practice?  Those who practice meditation claim to be more adept at concentrating, critical thinking and problem solving—all of which are important skills for the business owner.


Regardless of your profession, it’s important that you continually challenge yourself mentally.  Learning new things and keeping up on industry advancements enables you to keep the saw sharp while improving your practice.  To do that, we suggest regularly attending professional conferences.  There are many specialty conferences and workshops offering a wealth of information enabling you to keep up with your industry.  Not only can you learn from the presenters on the program, but you can also learn from other attendees who may face the same challenges you do in their own accounting practices.

Universal Accounting Conference

If you’re looking for a conference that will positively impact your business’s profitability and success, register for Universal Accounting’s 2010 Conference.  Held at the Salt Lake City Radisson Hotel, this conference is intended to help you start, build and improve your bookkeeping, accounting or tax practice.  This year we’ll focus on marketing, practice management, and expanding client services in order to make your practice the premier accounting service in your area.

Here is what a few attendees of last year’s UAC Conference have said:

“I feel so blessed by being able to attend this conference.  I have met so many wonderful people.  I am leaving with knowing that I have the knowledge that it takes and the right people to help me.”– Debra C.

“I came to learn how I could be a good support for my daughter’s business so I can help her grow.  In attending, I realized I can take the information I was shown and apply it to my own consulting business.” – Ingrid C.

“I was so impressed with your company that I would love to work with you.  If you think my skills and knowledge can be an asset please let me know.”– Brenda B.

It’s time to sharpen your mental saw.  Learn more about the 2010 Universal Accounting Conference today!


“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.”