Monday, February 18, 2013

$10 Reminder: Covey is Correct, Habit #7

$10 Reminder: Covey is Correct, Habit #7

Every now and then a real life example is useful to ground an academic thought. Academia becomes trite without the simple story to reinforce the concepts. In this case a $10 part reinforces and reinvigorates the point.

Last spring we purchased a home that had gone through foreclosure and had been uninhabited for more than 8 months. The interior of the home suffered from neglect – bordering on abuse. The landscaping was ignored as well. After months of getting the interior cleaned up, the temperature rose above 50 degrees (practically spring!), so it was time to go outside.

Deciduous Trees on Cul-de-sac.
A dozen deciduous trees (maple and poplar) blocked the native conifers at the front corner of the lot.

Simple plan: cut down the trees, cut into logs, and clean up.

Lesson Learned From Last Year:

Do not wait for the foliage to come in – the leaves on some of the maples were the size of dinner plates. Chipping the branches with the foliage was very tedious, left a huge mulch pile and the chipper was $400 a day with operators. 

What Stephen Covey Says - Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

“Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. 
You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. 
Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish.”

In this case the saw is actually a chainsaw and a bypass lopper. So, the process is:
  • Identify the trees
  • Identify the process
  • Apply lessons learned from previous year
  • Prepare the chainsaw (bar oil, fuel, sharpen)
  • Cut down the trees (landed them in the cul-de-sac)
  • Sharpen the lopper
  • Remove the small branches with the lopper
  • Remove the litter (recycle bin)
  • Sharpen the chainsaw
  • Remove the large branches
  • Sharpen the chainsaw
  • Cut the trunk and branches into log sized chunks
  • Use the wheelbarrow to move the logs up to the wood pile (multiple trips)
  • Clean up (no scraps left in the street)
  • Take aspirin (required at my age)

An entire set of files... $10.
When a lopper becomes dull you are no longer cutting through branches as much as you are crushing your way through them. A dull chainsaw will spin and smoke, and not do much cutting.

Just five minutes with a $10 file and both tools can be brought back to near-perfect service. Less force is required to do the same amount of work.

In our always-connected, multi-tasking, firefighting, respond to the latest hot problem world, we should not forget to take a few minutes to “Sharpen the Saw”.

Are you going to skip that vacation, or take some time to refresh yourself?

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