Good Habits You Won’t Want to Break

Steven Covey’s the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® – Habit #2 & #3

In our last newsletter, we discussed Habit #1 (“Be Proactive”) in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People®.
In this issue, we continue our series on Covey’s concepts.

Habit #2:
Begin with the End in Mind   

Covey’s second habit encourages people to use their imagination and visualize what they want to see down the road for their lives and businesses.

Think about your vision and strive to make sure that all you’re doing in the present is moving you in the direction of your goals.

Also, you can apply this concept to shorter-term projects in addition to long-term objectives. For example, let’s imagine you’re feeling frustrated because you and your customer are disagreeing about some job details. By keeping your end goals in mind (nice addition to your portfolio, opportunity for referrals, etc.), you may find the patience to work through the immediate challenges without burning any bridges.

Habit #3:
Put First Things First   

Covey’s third habit stresses the importance of prioritizing your to-dos. He suggests using a four-quadrant approach for identifying what you need to do now vs. later.

Examples of duties and tasks that might fall into these quadrants include:

1. Urgent and Important
Worker accidents on the job, rush deadlines, other emergencies

2. Not Urgent but Important
Planning, proactive work responsibilities, relationship-building, learning, worker training

3. Urgent but Not Important
Unexpected phone calls that do not require immediate action, other needless interruptions, unnecessary meetings

4. Not Urgent and Not Important
Trivial tasks, time wasters (television, arguing on social media, etc.)

The exact responsibilities, tasks, and developments that fall into these categories may vary depending on your business, the time of year, and other factors. Regardless, it’s critical to focus most of your energy on what matters (quadrant two) while tending to what is immediately necessary (quadrant one).

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you can spend more of your time on quadrant two activities. For example:

  • Order materials for projects in advance so that you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
  • Create a habit of organizing tools and equipment the night before your jobs so that all you need is in place and ready to go.

Planning will help avoid unwelcome surprises and unnecessary stress, allowing you to become more intentional and productive every day.

Stay tuned for more food for thought about Covey’s 7 Habits in our upcoming issues!