The seventh habit from Stephen Covey’s famous 7 habits is called “Sharpen the saw”. After talking about several things related to yourself and your surrounding, the final habit is about sharpening yourself, in order to do your best work and to keep growing.

Busy people don’t have time for this, because they have so much to do. Effective people know that this investment is going to pay back big time, so they make growing a priority.

Covey defines four major area’s: physical, social, mental and spiritual. Each one needs your attention, needs careful planning and maintenance. To give you an idea:

Physical. Eat well, rest enough, take the time to relax and move more. You know what to do here. Personally, the rest and relax part might be the most difficult element in this section.

Social. Can you place yourself in someone else’s shoes? Are you a great friend? Colleague? Where do you find your value? Do you give more than you receive? Do you invest in your relationships?

Mental. What do you watch? What do you read? With what do you fill your mind, your thoughts? There is nothing that can teach you more than spending more time with great books. Keep learning.

Spiritual. Do you know your own values? Do you keep them? Where do you go to renew your inspiration? What guides you?

Covey ends with an image of an upwards spiral, containing three steps that set you in motion: learn, commit, do.

Everything in this post can be captured with these simple steps. Find out what you want to improve, commit yourself to actions to make it happen and have the courage to follow through with it.