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,” keeping busy at the wrong places and aren’t that effective at what you’re doing.
The higher the number of hours a workaholic spends working, the greater their chance of encountering more negative consequences. This creates 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.
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 its readers, encouraging them to reflect on their values and evaluate their perceptions.
The best-selling book offers us an opportunity to explore ourselves. It is by giving us a detailed explanation of the 7 habits of highly successful people to understand how they influence and communicate their knowledge and compassion to achieve success.
Stephen Covey’s book aims to change the reader’s perception of life, the challenges that come with it, and success by establishing good habits. The habit was defined by Covey as a 3D personality trait. It is an intersection of our wisdom, skills, and wants that aims to direct us on what to do in order to achieve awareness of our desires and understand why, how, and what we need to do.
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 can also easily transform our lives.
The first and fundamental habit of an effective person is being proactive, which 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 go awry, and you have plan B, plan C, and so on, in case things don’t go as originally planned.
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, which is what distinguishes us from other animals.
Covey states that having a personal mission statement is the best way to begin with an end in mind. 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 create a lot of difference. Stephen Covey wants us to use our imagination, create a vision of what we want to happen, and allow our conscience decide on what values will lead us to the outcome that we envisioned.
With a target in mind, we can focus more on external things that we can control. A highly effective person contributes each day of their life to their vision or life as a whole.
It involves identifying and analyzing old scripts that lead you away from your goals and creating new ones that are harmonious with your values.
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. We accomplish our goals by putting first things first (i.e., prioritization).
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 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 two habits encourage mental growth, but the third one is a strong indication of your personality and willingness to succeed. A highly effective person knows how to make and follow through on priorities.
Let’s say the goal is to save a lot of money to buy a car. The first thing 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 cheated and impulsively spent a good amount of your savings on buying new shoes, then you failed to keep your eye on the goal. If this keeps happening, you will have to strengthen your resolve and willpower. It could also mean that you may benefit from professional help to effectively practice the habits of successful people.
A highly effective person has a habit of establishing interdependent relationships with others. You should be able 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 but by letting everybody win.
According to 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.
When humans are engaged in a conversation, we often filter everything we hear and compare it with our own frame of reference. Sometimes, even the person you are talking to has not even finished their question but you have already formulated a response in your head.
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 receive a response is clearly vital for overall effectiveness. Communication and listening are important skills that can be learned and taught.
Listening skill is found in the circle of influence. Effective people devote more time and energy to empathetic listening. Having a solid principle, they naturally want to engage in listening to people around them. With these kinds of skills, they can let people instinctively open up to them since they listen with an intent to understand.
Synergy incorporates our desire to achieve win-win agreements through empathetic listening and communication. Habit 6 is important in principle-centered leadership as it can unleash great potential in 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 this 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.
The final 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.
If you are on a mission to become the best version of yourself, then the 7 habits above are your stepping stones for a better life. These habits are not developed overnight. They involve a long-term process of discipline, abundance mentality, and determination to be the best person you can be.
In addition to these habits, learn healthy coping skills as well. This way, you can live life to the fullest.
Do you think there could be thoughts, behaviors, or emotions that are hindering you from developing these habits? You can discover and uproot these hindrances by talking to a mental health professional.
Kentucky Counseling Center has a roster of well-trained therapists who can help you with this. Book an appointment now to start your journey to becoming the best version of yourself.