Implementing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in real life
My journey of implementing and internalizing the habits of highly effective people began the day I read this modern classic by Stephen Covey around 8 years ago.
Over time these have become an internal part of my personality and unknowingly have been the foundation for LifeHQ.
Few weeks ago I noticed this book being mentioned in an article and I thought to myself, let me check what the 7 habits were. To my surprise it was an almost 1 to 1 match with the modules at LifeHQ. For every habit of the book I have created separate module for practicing it.
How to implement the habits of highly effective people
Habit 1. Be Proactive
Proactive means starting things on your own accord.
We are all proactive in some ways and reactive in others.
For your health this means going to the gym to stay in shape instead of becoming overweight and then going to the gym as a reaction.
For our careers this means improving ourselves, taking courses and certifications and sharpening our skills without waiting for our boss to tell us it’s mandatory or we’re out of a job.
Proactive is also starting your own side business instead of waiting for a raise.
In the early stages of your company, you must be proactive to get your first customers. When no one knows you exist.
Being proactive means running experiments and personal projects and explore new opportunities for growth in your life, career or business. Over time you will notice yourself becoming highly effective at starting and finishing new experiments and projects. Great advantage no matter what career or business you’re in.
I like to structure my experiments as projects with short deadlines. This makes them concrete, measurable and actionable.
Do no more than two at a time
At any point you can’t be running 10 experiments, that is why you need short deadlines, like 1-3 months. You finish one experiment and start the next one.
Three months pass by quick and this will eliminate your urge to start everything at once and then drop it. I have found I can run two programming projects at once. If I start 3 then they all suffer in quality.
Habit 2. First things first
The most important habit of becoming highly effective must be this. Prioritizing the work on your long term goals, day in and day out. They won’t happen a year from now if you don’t work on them today. Whatever you are reaping, you have sown last year.
How I put first things first
I get up in the morning and before starting with my day job I start working on LifeHQ. My usual working hours are from 6am to 8:30am.
Working on LifeHQ is important for my long term goals, but it isn’t urgent, I’m not living off of this income.
My approach is to do the important things before the world wakes up. Alternatively after the workday, but many things can get in your way at that time.
This Eisenhower matrix (picture above) is important and was the basis for my Daily master list. I haven’t seen other todo apps implement it this way.
Put First things First with the LifeHQ Master list
Easily pick tasks from all projects and add them to your daily Master List. Doing this planning the night before has made the biggest impact to my productivity.
The daily Master list is split into three categories: Urgent, Important and Extra
- Urgent tasks: Must get done today, have deadlines
- Important tasks: Non urgent but still must get done today, if I want to be successful tomorrow
- Extra tasks: Optional but extra points if I finish them
Habit 3. Begin with the end in mind
The third habit serves two purposes. Both essential to becoming highly effective and successful.
Keep yourself motivated for doing the work
Having the end in mind is the only way to keep yourself motivated during your early struggles. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, all beginnings have difficulties and success in anything takes time.
Eliminate the fluff
You will focus on the essentials if you start from the end and work your way towards the beginning. This way you will be able to recognize the 20% of the tasks that get you 80% of the results.
The power of your journal
Journaling is a powerful tool but only if you do it consistently.
Once you get into the habit of writing, even just few sentences of your daily events, you can exploit this habit to do amazing things.
I have a few productivity questions or prompts that anchor me to become my best self and do my best work every day. You can steal it here.
I use my daily journal for tracking and keeping my productivity on point. Once I’m satisfied with my productivity I will change things up and focus on something else.
Habit 4. Think Win/Win
It is a common misconception to think that Win/Win is something altruistic or something you should only do when you have enough money and can afford to leave something on the table.
The popular opinion is: When starting out you should grab as much as you can.
Completely false. It makes practical business sense to think Win/Win from the start.
There aren’t that many businessmen in the world and building a reputation when you don’t have anything else is essential. If you’re planning to be successful long term, you will eventually run into the same people. It’s practical to be on good terms with your business partners.
Having a Win/Win mindset also sparks your innovation. Every constraint is an opportunity for creative business deals.
Habit 5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This one is my favorite. In any discussion or meeting everyone is in a hurry to say their point first.
Little do they know that the person who goes last has the most power over the argument.
- By listening and understanding the other points of view you can adjust your argument and make it compelling for everyone.
- Everyone mostly remembers the thing that was said last. If you find yourself in a boardroom or meeting or pitching event, aim to go last.
Habit 6. Synergy
This habit is about working within a team and understanding what the strengths and shortcomings of every team member are. It’s about putting each team member to spend their time doing the things they are best at.
The combined contribution of all team members is much greater than the sum of their individual efforts.
Habit 7. Sharpen the saw
The final habit for becoming highly effective is Sharpening the Saw. This is a metaphor for moving away from your work and taking care of your body and mind by developing healthy habits. After all your body and mind are the tools you use to do your work. Take care of those tools, you can’t replace them.
Until next time,
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