Years ago, I spent some real time digging into Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In quick summary, his thesis is:
- He studied a bunch of very successful people (not just financially, but those w/ high degrees of respect in their community and having accomplished interesting things but not at the sacrifice of their families and friends).
- He tried to isolate what was similar in how these people lived their lives (hence the 7 habits, see below, copied from wiki).
- In essence, these people think of their legacy, plan long term objectives that are in line w/ the legacy they want to leave, and then proactively take action against them. He suggests a weekly planning framework to operationalize this thesis.
It’s been very effective for me personally. I’m not a “Covey-head,” and won’t project that it works for everyone in all cases. But I do know that most of the interesting accomplishments in my life have been because I was thinking about the person I wanted to be remembered as when it’s all said and done, what creative and fun life experiences I wanted to have to get me to that place, and then having a plan for taking action to drive me towards those goals.
My Most Recent Tracking Spreadsheet
Over my career, I’ve swayed back and forth between good usage of the methodology and not using it. In this most recent return to the methodology, I built it Google Spreadsheets and discipline myself to spend time each week. I’m not perfect at it, but it helps to keep things balanced when I do.
Here’s my sheet: 7 Habits Tracking Template
In case you’re curious….
7 Habits of Highly Effective People (taken from Wiki)
- Habit 1: Be Proactive Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
- Habit 3: Put First Things First A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation. Interdependence
- Habit 4: Think Win-Win Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way.
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
- Habit 6: Synergize Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.