Having a busy schedule and being a workaholic does not mean that you’re effective at what you do. A workaholic may complete an assignment in an hour but an effective person can do the job in less than 15 minutes. As they say, you may look like a “busy idiot”. A busy idiot is someone who’s busy at the wrong places and doesn’t become effective or productive.

The more time a workaholic spends working increases the chance of encountering more consequences. Thus, creating more stress and decreases the productivity and effectiveness of what they do. Lower productivity leads to longer working hours. What are the habits of highly effective people? Here’s what you should know.

The Book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

A self-help book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen R. Covey is mainly created for self-improvement. It provides a lesson to the readers and is used by many as a learning tool to inspire and motivate, and reflect on our values and evaluate our perceptions. 

The best-selling book of Stephen R. Covey, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, offered us an opportunity to explore one’s self. It is by giving us a detailed display of the seven habits of highly successful people to understand how they influence and communicate their knowledge and compassion to achieve success. 

Our lives today are sums of our habits. What we do repeatedly shapes the person we are now and the personality we portray. When we learn how to transform our habits we could also easily transform our lives as well. 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Habit 1: Being Proactive

Habit 1 be proactive! The first fundamental habit of being an effective person is being proactive. 

Being proactive means being prepared so you can take control of any situation that may come your way. You do not wait for things to mess up before taking action, instead, you take action before things mess up, and you have Plan B, Plan C, and so on in case, things mess up.

Highly effective people are proactive, and being proactive is being in charge! Our ability to assess ourselves and change how we perceive ourselves helps us control our effectiveness and it is what distinguishes us from other animals. 

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

Habit 2, to begin with, the end in mind, is all about having a plan. It means to start something that you already have the desired outcome in mind. Planning ahead and setting up goals creates a lot of difference. Stephen Covey wants us to use our imagination and create a vision of what we aim to happen and letting our conscience decide on what values will lead us to the outcome that we envisioned.

With a target end in mind, we can focus more on external things that we can control. A highly effective person contributes each day of his life to his vision of his life as a whole. It involves identifying and analyzing old scripts that lead you away from your goals and creating new scripts that are harmonious with your values. The book of Stephen R. Covey, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people states that having a personal mission statement is the best way, to begin with, an end in mind. 

Habit 3: Put First Things First

If Habit 2 talks about how we determine our goals based on principles and values, Habit 3 talks about how we go after these goals, it is to put first things first (to prioritize). Saying yes to something that we don’t want to do, but is vital in achieving our goals requires strong willpower.

Having willpower gives you the ability to make decisions and act on them. Our willpower depends on the integrity, and integrity depends on how we value ourselves and our commitments.  Habit 3 talks about prioritizing commitments and how we put these things first. This habit also concerns our ability to decline things that go against our principles.

The first 2 habits encourage mental growth, but this third one is a strong indication of your personality and willingness to succeed. A highly effective person knows how to establish priorities. 

For example, the goal is to save a lot of money to buy a car. The first thing that you will do is list down the things and opportunities that could help you save more money for your dream car and eliminate expenses that are not needed or important. This way you can save up faster and more effectively if you focus on your list.

Now if you happen to cheat, and impulsively spent a good amount of your savings to buy new shoes then you failed to keep your eye on the goal. You should probably reassess yourself because you need to learn the habits of a successful effective person.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

A highly effective person has a habit of establishing interdependent relationships effectively with others. You should have the ability to compromise and create a win-win situation that can be mutually beneficial to both parties. You aim to win not by putting other people down, instead, your goal in mind is to let everybody win.

According to Stephen Covey, win-win is not a technique but a philosophy of human communication and interaction. A win-win mindset is where you seek solutions and agreements that are mutually beneficial to the parties concerned. In order to embody this kind of habit, highly effective people see life as a win-win situation for themselves and the people around them, not a competition.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

When humans are engaged in a conversation, most of the time we tend to filter everything we hear and compare it with our own frame of reference. Sometimes, even the person you are talking to does not even finish his question when you already have formulated a response. 

Habit 5 talks about the art of reflective and sincere listening — seek first to understand, listen with the intent of understanding, and be understood. The ability to convey your thoughts and receiving a response is clearly vital for overall effectiveness. Communication and listening are important skills that can be learned and trained.

Listening skill is found in the circle of influence. Effective people devote more time and energy to empathic listening. Having a solid principle, they naturally want to engage in listening to people around them. With these kinds of skills, they are able to let people instinctively open up to them since they listen with an intent to understand.

Habit 6: Synergize

Synergy incorporates our desire to achieve win-win agreements through empathic listening and communication. Habit 6 is important in principle-centered leadership as it can unleash the great potential from people. Synergy simply means that “two heads are better than one”. It is known as a habit formed by creative cooperation and teamwork. 

It involves open-mindedness and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. 

Together, they can produce far better results than they could individually. Synergy lets us discover jointly things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves. It is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One plus one equals three, or six, or sixty–you name it. 

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

The final habit out of the seven habits is to sharpen the saw. Habit 7 talks about devoting time to improving oneself, whether it be your physical, mental, social, emotional, or spiritual health. Sharpening your saw means enhancing and preserving the qualities, capabilities, personality ethic, personal effectiveness, principles, relationships, or assets that you have. 

Do you think you need to have a better character ethic? Work on it. Do you need to improve your wisdom and power? You can always change your life. Do you want to see the world from a better perspective? It’s your life, and it’s only you who can sharpen your saw. 

Final Thoughts

If you are on a mission to become place your life in an upward spiral and aiming for success, these habits are your stepping stone for a better life. These habits just do not occur overnight, it is a long-term process of discipline, of abundance mentality, and aiming for being the best version of yourself. In addition to these habits, learn healthy coping skills as well. This way, you can live life to the fullest.

Do you think there may be thoughts, behaviors, or emotions that hinder you from achieving these habits? You may sort out these hindrances by talking to a mental health professional. Let the counselors of the Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) help you with this. KCC can help you become the best version of yourself. 

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