Habit 7 is taking time to sharpen the saw… it is the habit that makes all the others possible.

― Stephen R. Covey, Author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” 


By Ernesto C. Perez II


Happy Easter to everyone! I did not publish this article yesterday because it was April Fool’s Day.

Committing to accomplishing the goals we set for 2013 is serious stuff. It is no laughing matter at all.

The Holy Week has come and gone. When you live in the Philippines you know that Holy Week is a time when people slow things down from the hectic pace in their lives.

That’s why they take a break – a vacation with family and friends, or just a vacation from the worries in life. Holy Week is a time of relaxation, and hopefully much needed reflection.

We all hope that we come out and celebrate Easter Sunday with renewed zeal to prosecute our goals for this year and fully invigorated to tackle any challenges and setbacks that we will face the remainder of the year.

It is fortunate that Easter Sunday came in the last day of the first quarter of 2013. As one of my tasks during the Holy Week break, I made a quarterly assessment on what I have accomplished so far during the first three months of this year.

If you are like many successful individuals, you measure your progress DAILY, WEEKLY and MONTHLY. Why is this process necessary? In my mind, it is an important step to take for all Real Estate Service Practitioners (RESP).

Benjamin_Franklin_RoutineIt is important to allocate time for “examination of the day” similar to what Benjamin Franklin did while he was living, and “review of the week” and “review of the month” to give constant feedback on how you are and where you are at accomplishing your goals and tasks.

But, take it a step further. Blue chip companies listed in our Philippine Stock Exchange come up with a QUARTERLY REPORT to let its investors know if they are meeting their sales and growth forecast for the current year.

Remember, in a previous post, I suggested that you look at yourself as a business owner and not just a mere RESP. Therefore, you should come up with your own quarterly report as well.

At about 11 days before the end of the first quarter, I hit a wall. I began feeling sluggish and felt that everything I was doing was a horrible chore. The people I was dealing with were being uncooperative. Nothing was being closed. Some clients were not paying fees for services already rendered. Other projects were at a standstill.

At first, I did not know what was happening and why it was happening. Then last Holy Monday, I read a previously saved article for the first time. And it was about taking time out to check your progress in a macro level.

I began by listing the goals that I already accomplished during the first 13 weeks of the year. Then I started to list the goals that were off-track – those that remain stuck or set aside due to other goals and tasks that became urgent at a particular time.

Beside each monthly or weekly goal, I gave an honest assessment on why these goals are off-track. I asked myself why completing the task became so difficult. What were the reasons why I could not gain any progress with this goal? I listed 7 goals that were off-track.

Next, the article [Power Surge Message from the 2007 Early to Rise Total Success Achievement Program] instructed me to list a minimum of 5 creative solutions that will move me forward towards accomplishing my goals.

As I listed more and more creative solutions, I felt a surge of energy in me. I became more positive and excited to try the things that I listed. It gave me a totally new and different perspective on things.

In his book, Steven Covey began the chapter on Habit 7 with these paragraphs:

SUPPOSE YOU WERE TO COME UPON SOMEONE in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”

“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

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

7 Habits LogoIn the last few days of March, I was that person sawing down the tree. I was exhausted but I could not stop to “sharpen the saw” because I was too busying sawing. Making that 1st Quarterly Assessment Report on my goals was the perfect ending to a wonderful first quarter in all.

It was a most welcome break for me. And, it came in the most critical time.

As we reflect on the meaning of Easter, I hope that each of us has found spiritual renewal and the strength to move forward in times of difficult moments.

I encourage you to try making your own Quarterly Assessment Report to see where you are at the moment. Have you missed your sales target in the last 3 months? Have you followed up on clients after viewing the property? Are your listings out-dated instead of updated?

Make the quarterly assessment and I promise you that you will come out of it a person with renewed vigor, unending energy and enthusiasm. You will look at your goals in a different light and tackle them with more passion and conviction.

What have you got to lose?