In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey lists “Sharpen The Saw” as the seventh habit. The premise of the habit is to take time away from work to regenerate your energy to increase your long-term effectiveness. This concept can be confused with work/life balance; however this habit doesn’t quite mean just being home for dinner at 6 pm. This means taking time to clear our minds of the stresses that build up gradually and chip away at our focus little by little.
Stephen Covey emphasizes the importance of mental relaxation and meditation when one takes a vacation or personal time off. The idea is to be fully revitalized and more effective when one returns to ‘real life’.
The events industry is, literally, happening 364/24/7. Trade shows occur in multiple countries and time zones, and the preparations occupy your team through the year. The stress associated with such a demanding and high stress job can be overwhelming. The effort often takes from you as much time as you give it, and it will still seem never ending.
We all have our own individual ways of taking rejuvenating breaks. For me, sharpening the saw means taking a walk in the middle of the day, having lunch outside the office, taking a day off to go for a hike or taking a vacation every year. I recently took the first vacation of my professional life where I didn’t check my work email until the plane ride home. I thought it was going to be difficult, but I enjoyed it a great deal. And I was eager to get back to my responsibilities with a refreshed mind and body.
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