Day 1 of Sharpen Our Tools: Working Harder but Getting Less Done?

rusty tools

We all seem so busy these days. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have time to take good deep breath. Sometimes it even seems that the harder we work, the less we get accomplished. You know what? That might actually be true. There’s a modern fable of a woodcutter, a very strong wood-cutter. This woodcutter sought a job from a timber merchant and got one – a good one with great pay and even great working conditions. The very good woodcutter was thankful for his good fortune and was especially determined to give this job his very best. His new boss provided him with an axe then showed him exactly where he was to cut down trees.

So on his first day, the very good wood-cutter worked hard and cut down an impressive 18 trees. It worked! The woodcutter’s boss was very impressed. His boss, no dummy, realized that yes he did indeed have a very good woodcutter – maybe the best he has ever seen and so he praised the woodcutter for his success that day. Well the woodcutter happily accepted the praise. In fact it motivated him to work even harder the next day.  So at the end of the second day after working even harder than the first day, the wood-cutter only cut down 15 trees, 3 less than the first day. So on the third day the woodcutter decided to try even harder and he did. At the end of the  third day, the woodcutter found that he had cut down 10 trees.

Every day the woodcutter tried harder and harder and every day he cut down fewer and fewer trees. After a while his boss, once his biggest fan, even threatened to fire him if things didn’t improve. The wood-cutter really needed this job, so every day he worked harder and harder to cut down as many trees as he could. He started working through lunch and breaks and staying late, but he could not cut down enough trees. He began to doubt himself and his ability. He questioned his strength. He feared he was losing it.

As you might have guessed, his boss’s patience became exhausted and he went out to the forrest to fire the once great woodcutter.  Of course the wood-cutter was very upset. He KNEW he had worked harder and longer and given this job all he or almost any other person could but he reluctantly and sadly gave his axe back to his boss.

His boss looked at the axe with amazement and asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?

“Sharpen my axe?”  I haven’t had time. I’ve been too busy trying to cut down enough trees.”

It’s so easy to see the error the once great woodcutter made and the price he paid in extra work and effort. We can imagine how worn out he must have been. What about us? Is it time to sharpen our tools too? That’s what we are going to explore this week. If you feel like you’re working harder and harder and getting less and less accomplished, maybe it’s time to sharpen your axe. Join us every day this week as we take a look at what might need sharpening and where to find a sharpening stone. What do you think? Share your thoughts at By the way, I tweaked my website a little and I’d love to hear what you think of it. Leave me a comment or a voice message. I would love to hear from you. Have a fantastic day and we’ll talk again!

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