Become More Effective with the 7 Habits Part 1 – Private Victories

After some deep reflection in the new year, I have concluded that the reason why I did not perform as well as I would have liked to in 2016 was simply because I was too ineffective.

I had spent a lot of time watching television, not doing anything and focusing on low priority tasks. None of these activities had helped me progress financially or personally.

To do better for 2017, I will focus on personal development and becoming more of an effective person. In attempt of this, I will study and put into practice The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Here is what I have learned so far:

About the book

Before I go any further, may I first recommend this book to anyone who would want to develop good habits that would lead to success.

In the book, Stephen Covey has divided the 7 habits into three categories: Private & Public Victories and Renewal. Private victories are achieved from habits that revolve around the self, whereas public victories require the involvement of others.

For this post, I will be focusing on the private victories of the independent self.

Habit 1 – Be proactive

The first of the seven habits to becoming an effective person is to be proactive. This is the habit that will motivate you to take action. Start to be more proactive by:

  1. Being responsible for your own life.
  2. Avoiding reactivity to social conditioning and other people.
  3. Taking the initiative instead of waiting for good things to happen.
  4. Not using reactive languages (I can’t, I must, If only, etc.)
  5. Focusing on the circle of influence instead of the circle of concern.
  6. Making commitments and keeping to them.

Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind

The second of the seven habits is to begin with the end in mind. In short, this habit requires you to picture the end of your life and where you want to be.

You will need to know what your destination will be before embarking on the journey. Otherwise, you could be wandering for a long time and not get anywhere.

Once a destination has been plotted, you will then be able to start planning and mapping out a blueprint to get there. The key to creating a good blueprint requires constant revision to account for new developments in life as things may change over time.

To determine what you want out of life, it is crucial to know what you value and to have a personal mission statement. What will be at the center of your life? Is it

  • Your spouse?
  • Family?
  • Money?
  • Work?
  • Possessions?
  • Pleasure?
  • Friend?
  • Enemy?
  • Religion?
  • Self?

Stephen Covey is suggesting that having a principle-centered life is the most efficient route as it is timeless. Principles will encompass all of the other centers mentioned above.

Ever heard the phrase that if you want something bad enough, you will eventually get it? The last notable point for me on habit 2 that Covey makes is to continue the visualization and affirmation process and soon enough it will become your reality.

Habit 3 – Put first things first

The third of the seven habits of highly effective people is to put first things first.

In short, this habit will teach you how to manage your time better by spending time on tasks that will help you reach your goals. To explain this better, Covey used a time management matrix to help assigns each task that you perform into one of four quadrants.

Quadrant 1 – Important and Urgent

Examples of tasks in this quadrant include:

Health emergencies, crisis, deadlines & pressing issues that must be addressed immediately.

Quadrant 2 – Important and Not Urgent

Examples of tasks in this quadrant include:

Prevention, exercising, relationship building, planning, personal development, recreation & recognizing new opportunities.

Quadrant 3 – Not Important and Urgent

Examples of tasks in this quadrant include:

Interruptions, taking irrelevant calls, dealing with e-mails, reports, unimportant meetings & other activities that are immediate but does not have any value.

Quadrant 4 – Not Important and Not Urgent

Examples of tasks in this quadrant include:

Trivial activities, watching television, playing video games, pleasant activities that get no where & other time wasters.

My Takeaway

Covey states that those who are most effective in life will spend the majority of their time in quadrant 2. For those who choose or wishes to spend time working on the not urgent but important part of their life, learning how to say no to distractions can be a vital skill.

This is not to say that you should not spend any of your time in the other quadrants. After all, we’re all human and it wouldn’t be he worst thing in the world to watch some television from time to time. However, try to minimize the time you spend on quadrant 1,3 and 4. You may even want to consider outsourcing some of the menial tasks to a personal assistant.

In light of this new knowledge, I am committed to developing a schedule for myself in which I will spend 50% or more of my time in quadrant 2.

For me, going to my day job is a quadrant 3 activity. To obtain my 50% time allocation on quadrant 2, I will need to spend more time working on the not urgent and important activities then I do going to my job. Hopefully this time management skill will help me reach my 2017 goals by year’s end.

Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

4 Responses to “Become More Effective with the 7 Habits Part 1 – Private Victories”
  1. Adam January 19, 2017
    • Jeff January 23, 2017
  2. Vivianne February 1, 2017
    • Jeff February 11, 2017

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