In 1989, Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People started a landmark revolution in how we think about time and life management. In this book, Covey presents seven principles for developing effectiveness in our private and public lives. By developing these habits, one moves from being dependent on other people to being and acting independently. Then we learn how to move to the more advanced state of interdependence and successful Cooperation. As a part of the seven habits. Covey introduces important and powerful techniques of time management under the habit of "Put First Things First." It is necessary to understand (and Practice) all seven habits so that the tools of time management can be learned and practiced in their natural setting. What follows is a basic overview of these ideas presented so you can take better advantage of this tool you hold in your hands. The habits themselves are based on some important principles. One such principle is that of P/PC Balance. "P" refers to production of desired results (such as achieving a particular grade in a course). "PC" refer to production capability or the ability to produce successful results. In managing our lives, we must be careful to balance not only the productivity of our lives but also the abilities to achieve these results. For example, we cannot ignore the activities which help build or maintain our health, finances, relationships, ability to learn etc., in our quest to do more, achieve more, and do all of this faster and more efficiently. Burnout is the inevitable result of P/PC imbalance!
Another basic principle important to understand the 7 habits is the Maturity Continuum. The 7 habits serve as a set of integrated approaches allowing us to move along the maturity continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence. Being dependent means that you depend on other people to take care you and your problems ("You take care of me"). Being independent means that you have taken charge of your life ("I am self-reliant"). Being interdependent means you combine your talents with others to create something greater together than any of you could do alone ("We can do it"). The first of these habits focus on achieving "private victories" which help move us from being dependent to being independent. The next of these habits relate to "public victories" which move us into the realm of interdependence where we can work effectively with others. The last habit ( Sharpening The Saw) encompasses all the others and ensures we engage in activities of personal renewal so that we can maintain our PC abilities! With these concepts as a background, we are now ready to review the habits.
Habit 1 : Be Proactive. The Habit of Personal Vision. According to Covey, this habit reflects our innate ability to take charge of our lives. We are not simply products of in-grained stimulus- response reflexes. We have the ability to take charge, plan ahead, and focus our energies on things we can control instead of reacting to or worrying about things over which we have little or no control. This habit allows us to rise above the ebbs and flows of the tides of our day-to-day lives and direct our lives.
Habit 2 : Begin With the End in Mind. The habit of personal leadership. In this habit, we begin each day, week, project, etc. with a clear vision of our direction and destination. This habit inculcates the ability to create our desired results mentally first in accordance to our guiding principles, and then maintain this vision throughout our daily activities. Part of the process of developing this habit is to develop a personal mission statement, philosophy, or creed. This mission statement focus on what you want to be and do. Your planning activities then can always be refer back to this mission statement so you can maintain a proper perspective on where you are headed and how you hope to get there. This habit is called Personal...