The Season of Too Busy

awareness Dec 06, 2018
A hiker in the woods

A hiker came upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree. “What are you doing?” asked the hiker.

“Can’t you see?” replied the man working in the woods. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look tired! How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours … and I am exhausted! This is hard work.”

“Why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen your saw? I’m sure the job will go faster with a sharp saw.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man declared. “I’m too busy sawing!”

How sharp is your saw?

Have you ever behaved like the person with the saw? It's easy to become so involved in “doing” that you don't take the time to sharpen your saw.

This time of year is particularly busy. You may already be seeing the signs: bright lights on the outside of houses, glossed-over eyes on the people shopping. It happens every year in December, the season of too busy. But does it have to?

Businesses also cycle through seasons, some more frantic than others. Whether your organization is in go-fast or keep-going mode, it’s always best to be ready with a sharp saw. There is no benefit in exhausting yourself. Let this December be your time for finding ways to work smarter, not harder.

Know yourself

Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. Each of us has natural tendencies. The UpCloseTeam firmly believes that the process of personal growth starts when we learn our unique personality style. This foundational knowledge helps us carry out our individual responsibility for personal development and growth. Knowing our unique personality style also helps us connect effectively with others. For information on how you can learn more about your personality style, we invite you to click on our webpage with the Personality Leadership Report.

Keep learning

Researchers say that in our present world, the volume of human knowledge doubles about every 13 months. This rapid increase of knowledge has a huge impact on our personal and professional lives. An under-graduate or post-graduate degree becomes largely outdated within two years. And the pace of improvements is only going to continue to increase.

To survive in this age of knowledge, we must develop our ability to think, adapt, communicate and work collaboratively. It’s the only way we can continue to be productive and competitive. If we are to keep pace, we must not wait for government, educational systems, or even our employers to develop training programs for us. It is up to each of us to accept responsibility for our own personal knowledge, skills and ability to adapt.

Keep growing as a leader

John Maxwell wrote, “When you quit growing, you start dying.” We were participating in a seminar a few years ago when John said this to our group. Everyone at our table stopped to reflect on how true this statement was for them. Like most of the career leaders around that table, we recognized ourselves as leaders who for a long period of time had been very busy sawing, but with an increasingly dull saw.

Here are some things we can all do to keep growing as leaders:

  • Read intentionally. To grow, focus on reading books and magazines that will help you grow in your profession, in your area of strength, and as a leader in your various leadership roles.

  • Attend personal and leadership development workshops.

  • Watch and listen to personal development training available through webinars and podcasts.

  • Hang around smart people. (I've heard it said that if you are the smartest person in your group, get a new group.)

Keep growing with others

Always stay engaged with mentors, coaches and accountability groups. Successful people never reach their goals on their own. If you want to sharpen your saw for success, enlist mentors and coaches. Participate in an accountability or mastermind group.

As Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”

Call to action:

Update your personal development plan. Include self-discovery, learning, leadership development and networking.

Communicate your plan to your employer, mentor, coach, accountability group or spouse. Remember, “Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen R. Covey


The best is yet to come. It starts with you.

Your friends,
The UpCloseTeam