Sharpen Your Axe

Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I would spend two hours sharpening my axe.”  Have you been performing with a dull axe?  Are you working hard, but going nowhere?  We all need to rest.  We all need to periodically renew our energy.

Start with vacation time.  Add it immediately upon preparing your year.  You will have goals for the year, the quarter, the month, the week and the day.   Your relaxation level or R Level and even your enjoyment or E Level need goals as well.  Take as much time off as you can get.  Most of us need vacations long before we take them.  We are chopping the success tree with a dull axe.

Take daily breaks or mini-vacations.  Break your day into quarters.  Take a break at mid-morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon.  Walk away from your work, then return refreshed and balanced.

In addition, I recommend a massage once a week if you can afford it.  Your body definitely will welcome this investment.  Of the 28 major-league baseball All-stars I’ve coached, all of them received massages weekly, with most of them getting them daily.  And 20 took power naps of 10-20 minutes every day.  In fact, former all-star Carlos Delgado hit four home runs with the Toronto Blue Jays in one game after he had a 30-minute power nap just before the game.

Here is a list of activities to sharpen your axe.  Add more activities as you see fit.

  • Vacation
  • “Ferris Bueller” day off (nothing planned)
  • Nap
  • Massage
  • Taking a bath instead of a shower (bubble, candles, wine optional)
  • Whirlpool/sauna/steam room
  • Playing with your grandchild (be a kid again)
  • Dining alone (taking time to savor your meal)
  • Yoga
  • Morning and afternoon break (15 minutes)
  • Music (anywhere and everywhere)
  • Going to movies/plays/concerts
  • Reading a good book
  • Going for a walk
  • Hobby
  • Performing music (sing, dance or play)
  • Walking your dog
  • Weekend getaway
  • Leaving work early
  • Sleeping late on the weekends
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Monthly “Silence Day”
  • Martial Arts

Yes, your brain needs silent moments.  It may be time to sharpen your axe.

Be in the Zone!

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