You want to be successful. Who doesn’t? But you’re not just going to do guess work. You’re going to find strategies, methods, and behaviors that work. So you started checking out the Effective Habits Series where we’ve broken down each step in Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Now that’s being proactive! And that’s step one.

You also began with the end in mind: “How do I obtain success and incorporate these seven habits into daily practice?” You put first things things—the urgent and important items above those that are less important and less urgent. You’ve also changed your entire mindset, and now you’re thinking win-win, listening to understand before speaking to be understood, and you’re making your best effort to synergize with others in the office or industry.

Now it’s time to sharpen the saw.

You’re integrating these habits as part of your everyday work behavior. But do you have balance in your life outside of work?

The seventh and final habit states that your single biggest asset is you. If that is the case, then you have to be sharp. And to do that, you need balance. Balance yourself physically, mentally, social-emotionally, and spiritually and you’ll be able to enhance yourself, your body, your mindset, your abilities, your life, your craft, and your business.

Here are a few suggested activities that will keep your saw sharp:

  • Physical: healthy eating, exercising, resting
  • Mental: reading, writing, planning
  • Social-Emotional: make meaningful connections, give to others, volunteer time, collaborate
  • Spiritual: spend time in nature, meditate, study, engage in music and/or prayer

When you participate in these activities, your mind and body will be refreshed. And when this happens, your capacity to produce, take on challenges, and accept new opportunities is increased greatly. Think about those who let the blade dull. They’re tired, unhealthy, and stressed out. Are they more or less likely to be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win for all, listen to understand before speaking to be understood, and synergize?

To be effective, you have to take care of yourself first. It’s that simple.