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Stephen Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Essay Sample

Stephen Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Pages
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Summary
To really understand and apply this habit, you need to have first done habit 2 – that is, you should already have defined what is important to you. Without first doing this, habit 3 has no power because you simply cannot separate what is important from what is not important. This representation shows four categories of demand which may be made on your time. Quadrant 1 consists of activities which are both urgent and important – in other words, things to which you absolutely must attend. Why must you do these things? Because they are important – meaning that they contribute to your mission; and they are urgent – meaning that they have some sort of deadline associated with them. Choices about where to invest your time really are made in the other categories; and most people – driven by the concept of urgency – get drawn into Quadrant 3; doing things that consume their time but do not contribute to their goals. Highly Effective People (yes they all fit together you see) understand that the high leverage activities are all Quadrant 2 – important but not urgent.

Planning, preparation, prevention, relationship-building, reading, improving your professional knowledge and exercise are all examples of Quadrant 2 activity – not an exhaustive list, by any means. We all intuitively know that Quadrant 2 activities are the key to getting results; but you need to have internalized the first two habits before you can benefit from the high leverage this habit brings. In other words, you first need to have developed the strength of character (proactively) which allows you to be able to say no to demands on your time that fall into Quadrants 2 and 3; and you also need to have defined what importance means for you – otherwise the Quadrants do not exist. Put habits 1,2 and 3 together and you have the ultimate success formula.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”

Put First Things First
The very title of this habit is self-explanatory. It should not require excessive meditation or mulling over for anyone to grasp the true meaning of what Stephan covey is trying to get across through this habit. These four words should be enough to galvanize an intelligent person into considering his way of life and his priorities. However as simple and as easy it is to understand this habit, implementing it and inculcating this habit of “putting first things first” in our lives is a totally different story. We cannot efficiently work on our priorities unless we take initiative and become responsible for our actions. Furthermore in order to pay attention to what is most important in our lives we first need to determine the most important thing. Thus, in the context of the “Seven habits of highly effective people”, in order to infuse habit 3 in our lives we first need to assimilate in ourselves habits 1 and 2. Habit 1 and 2 are absolutely essential and prerequisite to Habit 3. You can’t become principle-centered without first being aware of and developing your own proactive nature.

You can’t become principle-centered without first being aware of your paradigms and understanding how to shift them and align them with principles. But with that foundation, you can become principle-centered, but with that foundation you can become principle-centered, day-in and day-out, moment-by-moment, by living habit 3-by practicing effective self-management. In addition to self-awareness, imagination, and conscience, independent will is the fourth human endowment that really makes effective self-management possible. Empowerment comes from learning how to use this great endowment in the decisions we make every day. Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what “first things” are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment. Management is discipline, carrying it out. Four Generations Of Time Management

Organize and execute around priorities
This phrase represents the evolution of three generations of time management theory, and how to best do it is the focus of a wide variety of approaches and materials. Personal management has evolved in a pattern similar to many other areas of humor endeavor. Each generation of time management builds on the one before it- each one moves us toward greater control of our lives. The first wave of generation could be characterized by notes and checklists. The second generation could be characterized by calendars and appointment books. This wave reflect and attempt to look ahead, to schedule events and activities in the future.

The third generation reflects the current time management field. It adds to those preceding generation the important idea of prioritization, of clarifying values, and of comparing the relative worth of activities based on their relationships to those values. In addition, it focuses on setting goals-specific long-, intermediate-, and short term targets. But there is an emerging fourth generation that is different in kind. It recognizes that “time management” is really a misnomer– the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. Rather than focusing on things and time, fourth generation expectation focus on preserving and enhancing relationship and accomplishing result-in short on maintaining the P/PC Balance. Time Quadrant

* We spend our time in 4 quadrants – each quadrant contains different kinds of activities and represented by a type of person. * The Time Quadrants are made up of two primary ingredients: * Important

* Urgent
* Important – Important things are those that contribute to your mission and your goals. * Urgent – Pressing things, in-your-face things, activities that demand immediate attention.

The Time Management Matrix

Quadrant 1: “The Procrastinator”

* Procrastinator means a person who puts things off until they become urgent * Things in this quadrant are both Urgent and Important * This is where you find the crises, projects close to their deadlines, urgent problems and so on * The strategy: “Do now”!

* It needs to be done, and it needs to be done fast!
* It is known as The Quadrant of Necessity

Quadrant 2: “The Prioritize”

* Plans , get things done ahead & does first things first * Things in this quadrant are so Important, but not very Urgent * This is where you find education, working on your vision, investing in people and so on * The strategy: Schedule time

* It needs to be done, plan time to do it before it gets urgent * It is called The Quadrant of Priority

Quadrant 3: “The Yes-Man”

* People pleaser. Loaded with activities that are important to Other people but not important to them * Things in this quadrant are Urgent, but Less Important * This is where you find most interruptions, some meetings, other peoples chores

* It needs to be done fast, but are you the one that needs to do it * It is known as The Quadrant of Deception
Quadrant 4: “The Slacker”

* No activity is urgent or important. They waste time in excess * Nothing here is Important or Urgent
* This is where you find pass-times, some phone calls (you know them), the “too much” activities (too much television, too much internet).
* The strategy: Eliminate
* And why were you doing this again?
* It is the Quadrant of Depletion

What It Takes To Say “NO”

The only place to get time for Quadrant II in the beginning is from Quadrant III and IV. You cannot ignore the urgent and important activities of Quadrant I, although it will shrink in size as you spend more time with prevention and presentation in Quadrant II. But the initial time for Quadrant II has to come out of III and IV. You have to be proactive to work on Quadrant II. To say “Yes” to priorities of Quadrant II you have to say “No” to other activities sometimes apparently urgent things You should have courage to say no to thing which is less important whether they are urgent but they do not serve for our goal in long run. There are many people, who organize the value of Quadrant II activities in their lives, whether they identify them as such or not and they attempt to give priority to those activities and integrate them into their lives through self-discipline alone. But without a principle center and a personal mission statement they do not have the necessary foundation to sustain their efforts.

They are working on the leaves on attitudes and behaviors of discipline, without even thinking to examine the roots, the basic paradigm from which their natural attitude and behaviors flow. A Quadrant II focus is a paradigm that grows out of a principle center. If you are centered on your family, friends, money, your pleasure and even upon on yourself you are working in Quadrant I and III. If the priorities are deeply planted in your heart and mind only then you can work in Quadrant II as a natural existing place to invest your time. It is almost impossible to say “No” to the popularity of Quadrant III or to the pleasure of Quadrant IV if you would not have a burning “Yes” inside. If Quadrant II activities are clearly the heart of effective personal management-the “first things” we need to put first-then how do we organize and execute around those things? The first generation of time management does not even recognize the concept of priority. It gives us notes and “to do” lists that we can cross off and we feel a temporary sense of accomplishment.

There is no pain and strain; it’s fun to “go with the flow” Externally imposed disciplines and schedules give people the feeling that they are not responsible for the results. But first-generation managers by definition are not effective people they produce very little and their life-style does nothing to build their production capability. Second -generation managers assume a little more control. They plan and schedule in advance and generally are seen more responsible because they “show up” when they are supposed to. Third- generation managers take a significant forward. They clarify their values and set goals.

They plan each day and prioritize their activities. But third-generation daily planning often misses important things that can only be seen in a large perspective in addition the third-generation makes no positive for managing roles in balance way. It lacks realism, creating the tendency to over-schedule the day, resulting in frustration and the desire to occasionally throw away the plan and escape to Quadrant IV. As each generation builds on those that have preceded it, the strengths and some of the tools of each of the first three generations provide elemental materials for the fourth. But there is an added need for a new dimension, for the paradigm and implementation that will empower us to ‘move into Quadrant II to become principle centered and to manage ourselves to do what is truly most important. The Quadrant II Tool

The objective of Quadrant II management is to manage our lives effectively — from a centre of sound principles, for knowledge of our personal mission, with a focus on the important as well as the urgent, and within the framework of maintaining a balance between increasing our Production and increasing our Production Capability. This is, admittedly, an ambitious objective for people caught in the thick of thin things in Quadrant III and IV. But striving to achieve it will have a phenomenal impact on personal effectiveness. A Quadrant II organizer will need to meet six important criteria. Coherence:

Coherence suggests that there is harmony, unity, and integrity between your vision and mission, your roles and goals, your priorities and plans, and your desires and discipline. In your planner, there should be a place for your personal mission statement so that you can constantly refer to it. There also needs to be a place for your roles and for both short- and long-term goals. Balance:

Your tool should help you to keep balance in your life, to identify your various roles and keep them right in front of you, so that you don’t neglect important areas such as your health, your family, professional preparation, or personal development. Many people seem to think that success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas of life. But can it really? Perhaps it can for a limited time in some areas. But can success in your profession compensate for a broken marriage, ruined health, or weakness in personal character? True effectiveness requires balance, and your tool needs to help you create and maintain it. Quadrant II Focus:

You need a tool that encourages you, motivates you, and actually helps you spend the time you need in Quadrant II, so that you’re dealing with prevention rather than prioritizing crises. In writer’s opinion, the best way to do this is to organize your life on a weekly basis. You can still adapt and prioritize on a daily basis, but the fundamental thrust is organizing the week. Organizing on a weekly basis provides much greater balance and context than daily planning. There seems to be implicit cultural recognition of the week as a single, complete unit of time. Business, education, and many other facets of society operate within the framework of the week, designating certain days for focused investment and others for relaxation or inspiration. Most people think in terms of weeks. But most third-generation planning tools focus on daily planning. While they may help you prioritize your activities, they basically only help you organize crises and busywork. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. And this can best be done in the context of the week. A “People” Dimension:

You also need a tool that deals with people, not just schedules. While you can think in terms of efficiency in dealing with time, a principle-centered person thinks in terms of effectiveness in dealing with people. There are times when principle-centered Quadrant II living requires the subordination of schedules to people. Your tool needs to reflect that value, to facilitate implementation rather than create guilt when a schedule is not followed. Flexibility:

Your planning tool should be your servant, never your master. Since it has to work for you, it should be tailored to your style, your needs, and your particular ways. Portability:

Your tool should also be portable, so that you can carry it with you most of the time. You may want to review your personal mission statement while riding the bus. You may want to measure the value of a new opportunity against something you already have planned. If your organizer is portable, you will keep it with you so that important data is always within reach. CONCLUSION

Since Quadrant II is the heart of effective self-management, you need a tool that moves you into Quadrant II. Stephen Covey’s work with the fourth-generation concept has led to the creation of a tool specifically designed according to the criteria listed above. But many good third-generation tools can easily be adapted. Because the principles are sound, the practices or specific applications can vary from one individual to the next. Becoming Quadrant II Self Manager

Becoming a quadrant II self manager involves four key activities

* Identifying roles
* Selecting goals
* Scheduling
* Daily adapting
Identifying Roles:
To manage the quadrant ii on weekly basis, first task is to write down your key roles. If you have not really given a serious thought to the roles, you can write down what immediately comes to your mind. You may have role as an individual, husband or wife, son or daughter and being the member of a extended family you may have role of grand parent, aunts, uncles and cousins. At work place you can be teacher, a doctor, a manager. You may also have role in religious and community affairs. Just consider the week and write down the areas in which you see yourself spending times in next seven days. Here are the two examples of the way people might see their roles

1. Personal development
2. Wife
3. Mother
4. Real estate salesperson
5. Sunday school teacher
6. Symphony board member
1. Individual
2. Husband/father
3. Manager new research
4. Manager new products
5. Manager administration
6. Chairman united way

Selecting Goals:
The next step is to think about two or three important goals you need to accomplish in next seven days. At least some of these goals should reflect quadrant II activities means important but not urgent. These short term goals would reflect long term goals stated in your mission statement and if you have not made your mission statement yet, consider two or three important goals for each role Individual

Rough draft mission statement
Visit frank hospital

Tim’s science project
Sarah’s bike
Home management
Husband/father

Manager research
Study last test results
Work on bonding problem
Meeting with employs

United way chairman

Prepare agenda
Start next year plan

Manager new products
Test market parameters
Study consumer survey
Study consumer behavior

Living IT
Living it is a function of our independent wills our self-discipline, our integrity, and commitment. Our principle center, our self-awareness, and our conscience can provide a high degree of intrinsic security. But because we are not omniscient, we cannot always know in advance what is truly important. But by carefully organizing the week, we will become principle-centered person and we will need to subordinate our schedule to a higher value. We cannot simply think efficiency with people. We think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things. But if you try to be “efficient” with a disagreeing or disagreeable person, it simply doesn’t work. People are more important than things. The Fourth Generation Tool recognizes that principle. It helps you to create balance in your life. It empowers you to use your self-awareness and your conscience to maintain integrity to the principles and purposes you have determined are most important. The fourth generation of self-management is more advanced than the third in five important ways and they are: * Principle-centered

* Conscience-directed
* Defines your unique mission
* Balance your life by identifying roles
* Gives greater context through weekly organizing
The practical thread running through all five of these advances is a primary focus on relationships and results and a secondary focus on time. Scheduling: Now you can look at the week ahead with your goals in mind and schedule time for each goal. For example if playing the role of a son your goal is to take your mother to the doctor for weekly checkup. Then you would set aside one or two hours for it. If you set a goal to be physically fit then you set aside one hour three or four days during the week. Advantages of organizing the week instead of the day:

Four generation of time management focuses on organizing the week instead of the day. Because by organizing the week after identifying roles and goals you can translate each goal to a specific day of the week either as a priority item or specific appointment. You can also check your annual or monthly calendar for any appointment you have previously made and according to it you can reschedule your goal. Quadrant two weekly organizing you the freedom and flexibility to handle unanticipated events, to shift the appointments and to enjoy spontaneous experience.

Daily Adapting:
With the quadrant II weekly organizing, daily planning becomes more a function of daily adapting and responding to unanticipated events, relationships and experience in a meaningful way. Mission statement

Goals
Roles

LONG-TERM ORGANIZING

Schedule
Plans
Goals
Roles

Delegation

Weekly organizing

Delegation
We accomplish all that we do through delegation, either to time or to other people. If we delegate to time, we think “efficiency”. If we delegate to other people, we think “effectiveness”. Delegation means transfer authority by one person to another, or appointing a person to act on one’s behalf. In other words delegation is the entrusting of authority, power and responsibility to another. Most of the people refuse to delegate to other people because they feel it takes too much time and effort and they could do the job better themselves. But effectively delegating to others is perhaps the single most powerful high-leverage activity there is. Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations. There are two types of delegation

Gofer delegation
Stewardship delegation
Gofer delegation:
One-on one delegation, it is true about gofer delegation. Many people consistently delegate the way. But how much does it really accomplish? And how many people is it possible to supervise or manage when you have to be involved in every move they make. Inn gofer delegation you don’t only delegate the way but tell them how to do? Gofer delegation is all about restricting the people what to do? How to do? And what not to do? Stewardship Delegation

Tewardship delegation is focused on results instead of methods. It gives people a choice of method and makes them responsible for results. It takes more time in the beginning, but it’s time well invested

Stewardship delegation involves clear upfront mutual understanding and commitment regarding expectations in five areas; 1. Desired Results

Create a mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished, focusing on what not how; results not methods
2. Guidelines
Identify the parameters within which the individual should operate. These should be as few as possible to avoid methods delegation, but should include any formidable restrictions 3. Resources

Identify the human, financial technical or organizational resources the person can draw on to accomplish the desired results 4. Accountability

Set up the standards of performance that will be used in evaluating the results and the specific times when reporting and evaluation will take place 5. Consequences

Specify what will happen, both good and bad, as a result of the evaluation. This could include financial reward, psychic rewards, different job assignments and natural consequences tied into the overall mission of organization

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