During a meeting last week we were discussing a book to review during a quarterly education event coming up. Cleaning out my desk drawers the week before, I stumbled upon a miniature edition of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I suggested we use that as our book review. It’s timeless and still very relevant. That idea made me go look for the full size version and I re-read it over the weekend. Well, mostly I sped-read it.
The reading event triggered my blog post today. Every Sunday, I take time to do research on Twitter and blog topics for the week. It’s part of my business routine. People always ask us how to come up for ideas for blog posts and tweets and it’s actually pretty easy. Look at events the crop up and they will lead you to discovery of ideas.
The main theme I remembered from the book was finding out what is important in life and reducing focus on things that are not important. We all need to learn what is truly urgent and relevant and what can go away as not important. This theme comes up in many books I read on organization and time management.
One book said to create 10 yellow stickie notes with the word NO and then stick them on mail, paperwork, or “hypothetically” on those things that are not tangible – like spending time looking at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Those are fun – but do they need to take up valuable time during your productive moments.
Mr. Covey stressed that while it is critical to focus on urgent tasks, we need to ensure we don’t forget the Important but not urgent items as well. It really is about balance. Stop working on things not important – and focus on the important but not urgent items in more depth.
His 7 habits in the book are:
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
7. Sharpen the saw
Each of his habits is geared towards the same goal – keeping on track and focused. Know the end goal and move towards it. It’s not something you figure out and you are done. This is a life long journey of discovery and reshaping yourself. And to be successful we need to realize we are not on the journey alone. Once we have mastered knowing ourselves we move on to understanding working with others via communication, collaboration and teamwork.
It’s all about discipline. Develop a set of habits and stick to them. While it is easy to get distracted, setting up a plan for your day, sticking to it, ending it, planning the next day and repeating will ensure you keep on track. And of course you can keep track of these ideas using your CRM. Set up tasks to help guide you towards focusing on what is important and avoiding the time drains that keep us off target.
This was a good exercise for me and I realized it’d make a good blog post as well. We all need motivation and something to help us keep our eye on the ball. It made a very good start for my week. Spring cleaning for the mind so to speak.