About The Show

Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, in habit 7, introduced the concept of sharpening the saw.
What he meant by this metaphor, was that it is vital that we take quality time out and invest in our well being if we are to achieve what it is we set out to achieve with sustainable success.

In today’s fast, busy passed world it is easy to get on the treadmill of tasks thinking that our business is going to stop if we do, or that our business will break if we take a break.

It’s simply not the case.

To be successful in business we need to slow down to go faster.

In this episode, I share with you the importance of slowing down and taking regular breaks in your business.

When you do this you come back more energised and equipped to tackle things in your business with greater effort, more efficiently and with clearer thinking.

What You'll Learn!

  • How easy it is to get bogged down thinking you can’t take a break from your business.
  • The challenges of scaling your business and being able to take breaks
  • The importance of taking time out to sharpen the saw, by investing in yourself for better more efficient growth
  • What happens if you don’t invest in time for yourself.
  • How to go about getting started taking time out for yourself even when you feel there’s no way you can.

Links Mentioned

Need Speed? Slow Down – In business, there’s a speed gap: It’s the difference between how important a firm’s leaders say speed is to their competitive strategy and how fast the company actually moves. 

Join other business owners in our Free Facebook Community all sharing their trials, ideas and wins in business. It's a fantastic community of driven and supportive entrepreneurs.



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Full Episode Transcript

Good day, good day and welcome to the Business Made Easy Podcast, where we make business easy. Jason Skinner, your host here for another week of the podcast that is all about growing your business, growing your bottom line profit, and giving you a better life as a result.

How are you doing out there? Thank you so much for joining me wherever you are in the world. If you’re new to the show, welcome. I’m glad you found us. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, if you haven’t done so already. That’ll just make sure you get each week’s show as it comes, as we release it. And, if you’re a returning listener, welcome back and I’m glad you’re here with us as well, and I hope you’ve had an awesome week in business, whatever it is that you have been up to.

For me, I’ve been doing a bit of travel, actually, this last week. I’ve been down to Melbourne, Australia, for a conference or one-day conference. It was sort of a fly down and fly back, but, always great to get away and visit the people down there in Melbourne. It’s just an amazing city. I love Australia’s best food and wine, I believe, and coffee and just the quality of food down there is just, mind-blowing really. Got a few favorite restaurants down there.

But more importantly, been busy doing a big system upgrade within, in the accounting practice side of our business and that’s really taking its toll, I’ve got to tell you. I don’t know why I decided to go down this path. Well, I do know. But, it seemed like a great idea at the time. It’s funny when you plan these things out, you plan these system changes in your business. Whenever you change something dramatic like a, some software or a program, you know, you realize, “Oh hang on, it’s not gonna do that the same way now. I need to change that bit over there as well.” And it’s sort of like this, just … It’s like those, , have you ever seen those, little,dolls? I don’t know, what were they…? They’re European dolls and when you take the top off one doll, inside there’s another doll and then you take the top off it and there’s another doll. They’re all stacked inside each other. Well that’s quite [laughs] that’s how I think of, that’s how I think of changing software. It’s sort of, like, you change one thing and you fix that up, and then now we’ve got to do this, we need to integrate it over here as well.

Anyway, enough of that. I’ve been tearing my hair out doing that stuff and, as well as trying to get my other work done. So it’s been quite challenging.

But I want to get on to today’s episode. And the topic of today’s episode, which kind of goes around that stressful situation that I’ve been having. Today’s topic is really about, the importance of slowing down to go faster and and I thought it’d be a great topic because I’ve been helping a couple of coaching clients and they have actually been experiencing this very topic that we’re gonna talk about today. I know myself, personally, I have, particularly with all this software going on, software change going on, within my businesses that it’s really causing me to wanna go faster and I guess just keep going harder and working harder. I worked all last weekend much to my wife Melissa’s, disapproval. I just had to keep going. I had to keep going and I wanted to get it done. You know, what we should be doing is actually taking some time out and and slowing down.

So, I guess, I sort of thought with the topics today, if I’ve been feeling this, and I know I’ve got clients that are feeling this, then you may be feeling this as well. So let’s talk about that feeling where, you can’t stop, or things are not gonna happen in your business. It’s a form of overwhelm, which we’ve spoken about on the show before, if I stop now, this won’t get done or this won’t be done in time or, worse still, if I take a couple of days off my business, it’ll fall over or fall apart. And this can really happen a lot. I see it a lot with people that have been going for three or four years in business and they’re reaching some scale now things are starting to move because they’ve been putting in all this hard work, putting in, putting in, and,trying to grow.

And if you think about that, when we start a business, we don’t have any kind of responsibility for that business that were what that business is doing. And then, we get the idea and we’re passionate about it and . We start a business doing it or we buy a business doing it. And we’ve got all this energy and passion in us to make this a success. It’s our idea, it’s our baby, it’s gonna work, it’s gonna fly. And we get so excited by that and we put in and we put in and we we grow and we increase our our premises, we increase our staffing, we increase our financial commitments, you know. All these things are in this expansion and growing phase, we just keep putting in, and it’s gonna work and it’s going to be great and everything’s optimistic and you have hard times and and things go wrong and whatnot, but you’ve got this energy and passion because it’s it’s still new and fresh to you.

And what we don’t realize, I believe, and and I’ve read about this as well, but what I’ve, I believe, happens is, and and with anything in life, if we just keep putting in and putting in like that and giving and giving, then, and not taking back something for ourselves to recharge, then then what actually happens is, bit by bit, these things just zap our energy. They just take away a bit more energy, a bit more tolerance. They take away a bit more, alertness and and they just etch away at our, at our internals [chuckles], really, and our mental internals more importantly. And and it’s our mental internals that we vitally need to have functioning, alertly and brightly, I believe, to help us come up with and deal with these situations as they arise in our business.

I guess, we can get into this state where we just don’t take a break. We don’t. We just keep working and and flogging ourselves, at the expense of our business, thinking that we’re going to get better. And thinking that, “if we just do this, if we just keep going here, and once we get to this point here, I’ll be able to put an extra staff member on and then I’ll take a break.”

But here’s the thing, you won’t take a break. You won’t take a break when you get to that point because you will just keep, you will just keep going to to the next thing. The next problem will arise. Because then all of a sudden now you’ve got additional staff members, you’ve got additional problems. Or once I get that extra warehouse or once I get this happening in business, then I’ll be able to step back a bit. And my take on that is it will never happen unless you actually make it happen.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you well you may be feeling like that in your business now you may be in that in that stage of your business, now where, you’re just on this treadmill, this constant treadmill, and and you’re looking for that exit to be able to to get that breather.

So I want to talk about that, in depth today and and discuss, ways that you can actually deal with this and the importance of, taking that breather and taking that step, and that, and the concept of slowing down, to go faster. And it seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? You know, like, “Oh yeah right, Jason, [chuckles] how’re you gonna slow down to to go faster?”

And I’m gonna share a story with you in a moment, but there’s a Latin saying, there’s a Latin, Now, I’m not conversed in Latin, but when I’m doing my research and reading around for this episode, I did come across this Latin saying called “festina lente.” “Festina lente.” And basically, what that means is, “make haste slowly.” And, just thought that was a just a great little saying to say to yourself, , when you’re feeling these, when you’re feeling these times. It’s, “festina lente” and that’s “make haste slowly.” For those of you who are converse in Latin and if I haven’t pronounced that correctly, I do apologize. My Latin is a little off. But, but yes. “Festina lente.”

I want to share also with you a story now about, and this story came which described beautifully this concept of of taking a break to actually move forward. There’s a couple of, stories I’ll share with you. But this first one comes from a book by Stephen Covey called “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Now, Stephen Covey in this book, this is in the latter part of the book, and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes for you.

But Stephen Covey in his book, basically, talks about this concept of sharpening the saw. And what that means in this story, I’ll describe it. He talks about, shares the story in the book of a man who was walking in the forest and he came across another man who was sawing logs in the in the forest. And he was going for it. He was going hammer and tongs and then and and sawing away at all these, these timber. And and the man said to him, “Gee, you’ve got a lot of sawing there, a lot of cutting there to do. All those, those logs.” And he goes, “Yeah, I guess, I’m really hard at it. I can’t stop or I won’t get it done. I’ve got to get, I’ve got to get through the logs.” The guy goes, “Oh really.” He said, “It looks like you know, it’s a lot of work.” And he goes, “Yeah, this, just this saw is just just taking so much time, to do it this way.” And the man said, “Well, why don’t you take a break and, , and sharpen your saw? Why don’t you sit down and and take ten minutes out and actually sharpen your actual saw? And then , you will, basically, be able to cut more wood in a lot, in a lot faster time.”

And that story really resonates with me because I think that, in situations at work, where, Sometimes, if I actually took a mental, a bit of a mental break, and invested a little bit of time in my mental health and in fitness and well-being, then, I would actually perform better. I do know that for a fact. I can I can tell you now, just, yesterday after a weekend of toiling with this software program that I’ve been been trying to, master, I was just burnt out. Because I didn’t actually take time to recharge and then when I went for a good long, sort of brisk walk and run, when I came back Oh, well, first, two things happened. When I came back, I was energized. My all the chemicals were flowing. I’d given myself like this relief of stress from this situation. And my alertness to being able to tackle on the next challenge was just so much more heightened.

And, I think, it’s really easy for us in business to get bogged down in this stuff and think that we’ve got to do it all and we’ve got to do it now and we’ve got to just just make all this hasting to get all this work done and it’s gonna fall over if I don’t then, basically, I think it’s fort of danger because I don’t think we’re going to be as effective and productive and achieve as much as we we can and reach our potential, if we don’t take that time, at least, once a week to just recharge those mental batteries.

There was an actual study done in the Harvard of the Business Review. Now, this this article goes back quite some time, back in May of 2010. I thought it was a really good, study. It was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit that was, I’m gonna put a link to this in the show notes for you, for those of you who are interested in this. What they did is study of 343 businesses and, basically, looked at those that just flogged themselves to get things done, operating at breakneck speed, and just believed in the philosophy of working harder and faster versus those who, slowed down. Actually, they slowed down, their production,and the work that they were doing, and spent, and and just developed strategy slowly. They took time out to think about things they took time out to think about the way they were doing things and, actually, attacking that work. And if you think about the story of the guy in the woods chopping the the timber with the blunt saw, working harder to get through the logs, a ten/fifteen-minute break, he probably would have been finished a lot faster had he stopped and sharpened the saw. So it’s the same sort of concept in this article. But, they found that, basically, the people that slowed down to speed up they’ve improved their bottom line. On average, they had 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period. Just by approaching their strategy with this this slow down to speed up sort of mentality.

And so, when I share these sorts of things with you and you’re on your way to work or I don’t know what you’re doing right now, when I share these things with you and you’re feeling stressed and you’re feeling like, “Oh geez, I’ve got so much to get done.” You know. “There’s no way. Great, great, Jason, how am I ever going to do that?” I want to share with you some sort of things that have worked for me and I’ve implemented with clients that have have seen amazing results. I have, clients that are are tied to their telephones they need to be on the phone all the time. I’ve got clients that, are managing people and staff and teams that feel like that they can never, take a break. But one thing that we have, I have done with them is we’ve identified windows, small windows of time that they can actually take a break. Take a break to even just get to the beach. Take a break to even just just disconnect from the telephone and and have a block of time away from and break that, cycle that, is not giving you mental recharging.

And there’s lots of ways you can do this one way to do it, the first thing, I believe, you should do is to lock in a time within your diary. Basically, find a time during the week. Now, everyone has these times, I haven’t seen a business yet that doesn’t have these times, or a business owner that doesn’t have these times, where it’s not as chaotic and busy as other times of their business. Or they have more staffing and resources in their business at that particular time than they otherwise would. So there’s an opportune time there to actually lock in some “you time” basically. And let’s just call it “you time.” That’s what we’re talking about.

But as Stephen Covey, Covey says we want to sharpen the saw. We want to sharpen our mental, our mental strength. We want to get clear and energized again and just just break that tension, and set it free and let… And then come back, , recharged and fresh. Now, locking it into your diary as an appointment is a great way to do this because, basically you put the big rocks in first. You put that in that. Those I like to get my diary and fill that time into my diary, as much as possible before I fill the other stuff in. Because if I don’t prioritize that in my week… And I’m usually planning my diary out two to three weeks, even a month, in advance, so I’m trying to look down the road all the time as to what’s coming up, etcetera, and what obligations I’ve got. But I like to actually, plan out those opportune times that I’m going to to fill those those rocks.

Now, I haven’t, been doing that, to be honest, in the last couple of weeks because I’ve been so bogged down with this computer system and the changes there. I have to be on the ground for that because, I have to be overseeing, what’s going to affect who and where in the business, and get an understanding of it. But that’s not going to be forever and I’ve realized that I have to, actually, not do that myself. It’s been a good lesson for me because, normally, I do, put in those, big rocks and get that, get some time to myself, etcetera. But I haven’t been with this and I haven’t done something like this for a long time. But, I’ve realized, hey, I’m not effective if I’m just work. So I have to actually put in those blocks of time and sharpen that saw. because if I sharpen the saw, I can cut more wood and,

And that was my my my topic that I wanted to share with you today. I want you to think about when was the last time that you had two days off? Or when was it, the last time that you unshackled yourself from the email, from the mobile phone, from whatever it is that how you do business? When have you totally let go just for a half a day? Even if it’s just half a day, or a full day even better, a weekend even better, and a week even better still. When when have you last done that? And maybe it’s time that, time is well overdue. But the thing is, don’t just do it once. Do it once sure, and test it and see, see how it goes for you. But lock it in as a part of the way you do business. Lock that “you time,” that mental building in as a way that you actually do your business. And that’s, healthy. You know [chuckles], nobody sits at a funeral and goes, “Oh god, that guy he was so successful. He was the best. He was the hardest worker. he worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day.” No one ever does that. [chuckles] I’ve never been to a funeral where there was someone who’s done that. And, this is the thing, we only get one chance at life, as you know, and I want that to be the best life possible for you and I want that for everyone that’s important in my life, as you are, and I want you all to have a great great business life and recharge those batteries.

Alrighty. So I hope you found that helpful. , resharpen that saw. Factor in some time that, even if it’s a couple of hours, on a Monday morning where you can go for a walk along the beach. The beach is just an amazing place to me… And look, all things are different to other people,I do know that, so some people would prefer to be out in the bush. That’s fine, too. Even just listening to relaxing music that you don’t normally listen to. Put some classical on or just just chill out to some meditation music. Just start small and build it in. If you’re feeling that overwhelmed that you just cannot do what I’m talking about here in terms of a big block, just start small. So that so you can build on that.

And what I’ve found is, with the clients that I work with, and I can help you with this as well, the clients that I work with when we built, when we start building this into their routine, they just get far better and more superior results in their business because they are, actually, more equipped and charged mentally to deal with things on a day-to-day basis and make better decisions. So that’s the importance of slowing down to, speed up, I guess. As I said, I’m guilty of this myself, and it’s the reason I’ve realized this just of, late and that’s why I’ve brought this episode out this week, and I wanted to share that with you, as well.

So just remember that “festina lente,” which is “make haste slowly.” And I won’t say that again over the course of the show [chuckles], but anyway, I thought it’s a pretty cool world. I check out Stephen Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” There’s a great story, and the way he talks and approaches it in there about improving your mental health and investing in your mental health to grow your business is just fantastic. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes so you’ll be able to get access to that at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode91. , that’s businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode91. And I’ll put that in the show notes for you as well.

Alrighty, that’s all I had time for this week that I wanted to share with you slow down to go faster. Really really important concept in business. I do think, particularly, in, just before I go, in such a connected world that we are in, where it’s just so easy to j p online and be in your business again or be involved in whatever is going on in your business, really can make it feel impossible to get away and break away. But we have to be disciplined and just say no, I’m going for a walk along the beach. I love the beach. Just hearing the ocean and just seeing what’s around and, can really just, for a couple of hours is just all you need to recharge.

One thing that I am actually looking at doing, too, just before I go, notice I’ve got the talks now, haven’t I? [laughs] is, looking at changing my routines a little bit. Just, not, instead of just doing the same thing Monday to Friday, I have a meeting here, I do this here, just changing it up a little bit. So I start to get a little bit of, refreshed energy, in what it is that you’re doing. And it can really make a difference as well. So just another quick idea for you.

Also, alrighty, I really do hope you found that helpful and by all means, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you, on ways that you’ve charged your battery. Or if you haven’t been, if you need more help with that, drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll be more than happy to help you and guide you on how you might be able to rejig your week to building that, sharpen the saw time.

And also, too, if you haven’t already done so, join, feel free to join our, free Facebook community over at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/community. Going up in the coming weeks, I’m doing live trainings in there every Friday. So I’m going to be doing live trainings to help you with various aspects of your business to. More visual type stuff. It’s a bit hard to do the visual stuff on a podcast, for obvious reasons. So there’ll be more business sort of, visual type stuff, mindset tools and techniques and things like that. So check that out over at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/community.

Okay, guys, you have a great week. It’s been great being here with you. Thank you so much again for joining me on the show whatever you’ve been doing. And, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next week, I’m gonna hand you over to Mia and I hope you have an awesome week in business and here’s to your success. All the best. Bye.

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