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The 7 Habits You Should Follow If You Are To Be Extremely Efficient

6, 2021

13 minutes of reading

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur because of this process.

The opinions of entrepreneurs' contributors are their own.

The years go by and this book is a bestseller around the world and it's one of my favorites too. In it we can learn everything we need to be an effective, productive person who is able to shape the life that one wants.

Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" was published in 1989 and sold out one edition after the other.

The author, who died in 2012, is an internationally respected leader, teacher, organizational consultant and author. He dedicated his life to teaching principled living and leadership to build both families and organizations.

In this work, he condensed his experience into effective people, no matter where you are today. These are 7 habits that you should practice over time in order to achieve your goals of high productivity, personal and professional efficiency.

The first habit of highly effective people is to be proactive

The first step is fundamental and lies in what Covey calls a "private victory" as they are entirely up to you. The author assures that there are two positions in life, reactive people and proactive people. People who are viewed as a reactive act in relation to an external question are constantly waiting and responding to external stimuli. This type of action never finds satisfaction because it is constantly forced.

On the other hand, there are proactive people. Once you have made up your mind, you can begin to exercise the complete freedom you have about your being, to act with your own identity in order to activate an internal engine that feeds all of your decisions.

To be a proactive person, you need to take full responsibility for your life and act from a perspective where you are in control. The author mentions that there are two types of psychological spheres one can live in: the sphere of influence or the circle of worry.

The worry circle is full of all the things that are important to you (even the things that make you angry) that you cannot control.

On the other hand, the circle of influence consists of what is relevant to you and you also have the option to change it.

For example, you see on social networks that there are many problems in the world. In the vast majority of cases, there is not much you can do about it, there is too much information that can only create useless worry that affects your ability to appreciate life.

The proactive vision is to focus most of the time on the area of ​​influence where you have the opportunity to influence the outcome, for example your financial status depends on you and your growth; And if you want to improve this aspect of your life, it is your responsibility to develop a strategy that will give you the results you want.

The proactive mind kicks in when driven by your vision and goals rather than responding to your problems and frustrations.

The second habit starts with a goal in mind

As you develop your life project, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions in order to know what you really want. You have to start with a vision; H. a mental picture that represents what you want to achieve with your life. The clearer and more meaningful that vision is, the easier it will be for you to approach it. To know which way to go, today you need to have a clear idea of ​​where you are going.

To understand where you are today, start by developing an inspiring vision of the future. Take action, imagine your life as a work of art to know what techniques and colors to use. You need to have a clear idea of ​​what the bigger picture will be in the end.

The third habit is to establish the most important thing first

In the previous point, you can begin to develop a detailed plan of action and then carry it out optimally. This is the time to start managing your daily life.

The first habit, as you read, is to take responsibility; The second habit is formed by creating an ideal vision of your future, and this third habit is to anchor that vision into reality and begin to build it.

For example, imagine you want to build a house. The first habit leads you to make the decision to begin, the second habit focuses on developing the plans of this house and envisioning it and building it in detail. When you have everything in mind, it's time to build. The third habit is to make the foundation of the house and lay the bricks to raise the walls.

Your principles and values ​​must be paramount at this stage of your development. For this reason, it is important that you begin to become aware of how you are managing the time you have.

Stephen Covey suggests a four-block model in which your activities are organized according to urgency and importance.

Image: Courtesy of Daniel Colombo.

In the first quadrant are the most urgent activities that are important, it relates to your most immediate priorities. Activities that are practically mandatory, for example crisis management, payments, projects with deadlines.

In the second quadrant are activities that are not urgent but are important to your vision. Here's how to make decisions to move your project forward. For example things related to reading, learning, planning, relationship building, looking for new opportunities. Everything related to further improving.

In the third quadrant are the urgent but not important activities, i.e. the interruptions that occur, the unnecessary meetings, the loss of time and the concentration on the essentials and, in general, everything outside that requires your attention. even if it's not important to your life project. The key here is to effectively delegate.

And the fourth quadrant consists of activities that are neither urgent nor important. This quadrant can destroy your life. This is just an escape and includes all the habits that don't help us build the life you want, the distractions you do when you are bored; it is a waste of time on the vision you are trying to develop. It's about eliminating unnecessary distractions and interruptions.

With this model in mind, Covey suggests that you create a schedule that is fed with important activities, that is, spending at least 50% of your time on the activities you think are quadrants one and two, and as many activities as possible in the quadrants eliminate quadrants three and four.

Remember to start slowly and gradually manage your time, whichever is most important to you.

On the way to effectiveness

Back to Covey's 7 habits: once you've mastered the first 3 habits, you can move on to the next 3. These habits fall under the category of "public victory," which means that once you have learned how to deal with yourself, you will be able to begin exercising leadership skills over other people.

The basic idea is that if you become a person who has the ability to develop a vision and work towards it, you will eventually be able to inspire others to join you on a shared vision.

The fourth habit is to think win-win

By developing the habit of achieving a "private victory" (for yourself), you have understood what it takes to win individually. Now the next step is to create situations where all of the people involved in you can win.

In a way, we're used to destructive paradigms where one has to lose for another to win, that's the easy way. Many relationships are loaded to the side very unevenly. With this new paradigm, instead of starting an activity with the intention of getting the most benefit for you, you are looking for a mutually beneficial path.

In the end, this will help you build very strong relationships in which trust binds them together.

The fifth habit is to understand first and then to be understood

Learning to listen is one of the most important skills you can develop. It will be impossible to build a relationship if you don't have this skill. The key to being a good listener is to avoid wanting to interrupt the other person and instead maintain a deep curiosity to try to understand them.

Trying to understand a person takes effort and thought on your part and, on the other hand, it takes courage and precision to say what you really think.

Empathy, that incredible human ability to try to understand someone else's point of view when trying to solve a problem, is paramount.

Communication enables us to find a solution through the ability to listen and share information. One of the worst habits we have is offering solutions to problems we don't finish hearing and this can affect your communication and put your relationship at risk. With this in mind, it is important that you gather as much information as you can first to understand someone and then, when you have a clearer vision, you can contribute to a successful resolution.

The sixth habit is: Use synergy

This is when you manage to coexist with groups of effective people.

Your personal and professional relationships are based on trust and responsibility. At this point you surround yourself with people who are looking for creative solutions together. So, through collaboration between individuals, you can achieve much greater things.

At this point you understand that there are things you do not know, and you also understand your own limitations; However, you can find people who can help overcome these limitations and cover a wider area of ​​influence.

The main concept of this book is that you can celebrate that we are all different.

There is a wide variety of talents, ideas, and skills, and therefore working in teams of effective individuals always leads to better results.

The seventh and final habit to complete the process is sharpening the saw

To end this cycle suggested by Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you need to focus. Strive to keep improving each day with a focus on perseverance that will allow you to constantly develop all aspects of your life.

The author describes this part as a balanced self-renewal process that consists of four complementary and interconnected parts.

There are 4 important dimensions that you need to constantly feed: the physical part, that is, everything that has to do with your body, such as diet and exercise; the mental part, for example reading, meditating, and goal planning; the social part, the service you offer others, trust and your empathy; and the spiritual part that is related to your values ​​and your deepest center.

If you manage to devote time to these four parts, you will be able to live in a state of constant growth in which you will very soon see the benefits around you and enter a state of greater fulfillment and contentment.

Looking back at your victories

This last habit completes Steven Covey's 7 Habits paradigm: In the beginning, you started with “private victory,” which consisted of: being proactive; Second, start with one goal in mind; and third, put the first things first.

At the end of this initial phase, you can begin to explore "public victory", which consists of the following elements: fourth, thinking win-win; fifth, seek to understand first and then to be understood; and sixth, use synergy.

By establishing these six powerful habits, it is time to renew your way of being and acting in the world, time to grow, learn and improve each day. Of course: you will always keep the intention in mind to apply habit seven (sharpen the saw further) and create a system in your life that will allow you to continue to make the best decisions for yourself and to remember the to support and use whole group of people who help you. surrounds.

What do you think of this book, have you already read it or will you still read it?

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