I was recently introduced to the work of Stephen Covey, who produced one of the most popular templates for developing successful habits in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘.

It can always feel challenging trying to become ‘effective’ when there are always so many demands on our time and energy. However, Covey tried to simplify his ethos into seven simple points, which you can take as a whole or adopt one by one until you’ve started utilising all of them in your life and work.

These can be broken down into the following:

  1. Be proactive – and take responsibility for your life.
  2. Begin with your end goal in mind and work backwards – identify what you need to do to reach your goal by breaking it down into smaller chunks. For example, in the same way as when you go on holiday and you choose your destination, and then start to research and book hotels, travel, transfers, insurance, etc, afterwards.
  3. Put first things first – mastering the art of time and resource management is crucial and gives you clarity of focus.
  4. Think win-win – rather than adopting the ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ mentality, look for how you can help others win in order to also help yourself win too. There’s a lot to be said for building mutually beneficial relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues – look for these wherever you can.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood – once you have a great understanding, there’s a lot you can achieve with this.
  6. Synergise – try to find synergy in everything you do, taking on board other people’s opinions, finding the differences between people and avoiding negative energy.
  7. Sharpen the saw – look after yourself because if you don’t, you’ll burn out and not be able to achieve what is required. It’s important to maintain balance and perspective, thinking about long-term actions rather than short-term benefits (e.g. looking after your health and wellbeing).

There is a great video that also explains this, which can be watched here: