In August 1989, an American author, educator, and a businessman Steve Covey published his self-help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book has become a major success and a tool that aspiring businesspeople and entrepreneurs use to increase productivity levels. Even after all these years the book continues to be a bestseller and it’s not a coincidence – it truly works. How? Unlike many other books that were released later, this one contains recommendations that are easy to follow and understand. If you’ve ever wondered about habits that highly effective people have in common, you came to the right place. Scroll down to find out.
- Be proactive
If you want to improve productivity and increase performances, you should never stay passive. What does that mean? It’s not uncommon for people to take things as they come without trying to change anything. Reasons behind this behavior are numerous but in most cases, a person feels they can’t do anything about a certain issue or things are just meant to be. Not correct! Any change starts from within. It is your attitude that matters the most! Being proactive means you need to make a decision to improve your life through things you can influence instead of just remaining passive or reactive to external forces.
- Begin with the end in mind
Productivity struggles aren’t uncommon and they occur due to a number of reasons. One of the primary culprits behind ineffectiveness is lack of a clear destination. If you can’t picture or visualize the goals you want to achieve, then it’s difficult to create a strategy to achieve it. Start your journey toward a better productivity with a clear destination in mind. Use the power of your imagination to develop a vision of what you want to achieve or who you want to become. It’s not just about saying “I want to be a more effective individual” you need to think of aspects of your life and work you want to improve in order to realize the goals you’ve set out for yourself.
- Put first things first
Becoming more effective requires you to put first things first, but what does it mean? Basically, you need to know your priorities. The business world is competitive and stressful and if you assign an equal priority level to all tasks or projects you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed. It’s needless to mention how awful this can be to your productivity. Putting first things first means we need to work on our discipline and willpower that will enable us to identify our priorities on a daily or weekly basis. Top priority projects or tasks should always be completed first rather than delayed. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline. Once you master the prioritizing skills, you’ll notice that you’re becoming a more effective individual.
Classify your pending tasks to different quadrants such as:
- Urgent – important – top priority tasks that need to be completed as soon as possible
- Not urgent – important – things that matter in long-term, but have no urgency to be completed ASAP
- Urgent – not important – activities that need to be finished ASAP, but don’t bear great importance. They are the reason why people complain about lack of productivity, we consider them important, but if you take a closer look you realize they really are not
- Not urgent – not important – things we often do, but they have no urgency and bear no importance to your work
- Think win-win
Everything you do can either help you become more effective or make it difficult for you to do so. Yet another habit of highly effective people is that they create win-win scenarios from which they and the other party can benefit. Regardless of the type of your job, chances are high that interaction with other people is of extreme importance. When you create a win-win situation it becomes easier to overcome a challenge at work, increase productivity, and be more effective. This only shows that people need to support each other and make deals that benefit other parties too, rather than ignoring everyone else. Good relationships go a long way which is why managers should also reward win-win scenarios in their departments.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
An important habit to adopt in the process of becoming more effective and productive is to understand others before offering any type of advice, recommendation, or help. Why? It’s simple; if you don’t understand what the other person is telling you about, then your efforts won’t be successful. In many situations increased productivity and efficacy at work depend on our ability to understand others and to be understood by them. Basically, you need to be a good listener. Active listening is largely underestimated, but it is crucial for any aspect of your career. Listening isn’t just about being present physically while the other person is talking, it means you need to understand what they’re saying. This particular habit will help you improve your career in more ways than one. Others will find you more reliable and your own productivity can increase tremendously once you understand coworkers, managers, bosses, or your employees better.
All people are different and that’s the beauty of the world we live in. Diversity should be cherished and appreciated. Our individual differences make us who we are and it would be wrong to expect others to act and think equally. The workplace environment is where these differences are intensified. The wrong approach is to argue and fight with someone just because they disagree with us. The right approach and sixth habit to adopt is to understand and value the differences in other person’s perspective. Create synergy or an environment where these subtle differences help people complete each other. This contributes to creativity, improves performance, and creates more opportunities.
- Sharpen the saw
We need to devote time to personal growth in order to be more effective. You see, if we don’t evolve then our performance at work can’t do the same. Personal growth means you need to take care of yourself in a physical, spiritual, mental, and social manner. All these aspects of life play a role in your readiness to do your best at work and achieve the success you truly deserve. You can practice this habit in many ways, it depends on your needs, preferences, and goals.
Now that you know all the habits of highly effective people you’re ready to start your journey toward better performance and increased productivity. Remember, being proactive is crucial. Do your best and strive to evolve continuously.