My new system to organize tasks

This was my first goal for 2009: create a system to do things and actually regularly use and improve it.

It’s based on the known systems from David Allen (Getting Things Done, GTD, a bottom-up approach) and the one from Stephen Covey (the 7 Habits, a top down approach).

Continue reading “My new system to organize tasks”

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Book Review: the 7 habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 5, 6 and 7

This is the sixth in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Mr. Stephen Covey’s classic “the 7th habits of highly effective people”.
I’m reading from the 2004 Free Press paperback edition. This entry covers the fourth habit.

The 5th habit (Seek first to understand then to be understood)  is around the concept of empathic communication which is – according to Covey – a powerful deposit in the emotional account of everyone because it gives a person psychological air . It’s the unsatisfied need that motivates: the greatest need of a human being is to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.

Continue reading “Book Review: the 7 habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 5, 6 and 7”

Book Review: the 7 habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 4 or Think win/win

This is the fifth in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Mr. Stephen Covey’s classic “the 7th habits of highly effective people”.
I’m reading from the 2004 Free Press paperback edition. This entry covers the fourth habit.

With thus habit starts the interdependence or public part i.e. after having successfully built on your private independence.
Before entering into details Covey is illustrating how to build a large emotional bank account thru regular deposits as:

  • Understanding the individual
  • Attending to the little things
  • Keeping commitments
  • Clarifying expectations
  • Showing personal integrity (conforming reality to our words, be loyal to those who are not present )
  • Apologize sincerely

Habit four is think win/win, which is one of the possible paradigm of human interaction, others being for example the win/lose one (competition instead of cooperation).
Three characters trait the Win/win thinking paradigm: integrity, maturity (the balance between courage and consideration) and abundance mentality (there is plenty out there for everybody).

Next: the other habits, from 5 to 7.

Book Review: the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 3 or Put first things first

This is the fourth in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Mr. Stephen Covey’s classic “the 7th habits of highly effective people”.
I’m reading from the 2004 Free Press paperback edition. This entry covers the third habit.

Habit #3 is the second creation (while habit #2 is the first creation: imagining and planning), the physical creation. It’s the fulfillment of the first two habits.

This habit is around the phrase “organize and execute around priorities“.

Covey is trying to shift the focus from time management to self management, i.e. to manage our own satisfaction and expectation which lie in our circle of influence.

The main point of this chapter is the time management matrix, with the four quadrants:

Q1 (I), Q2(II), Q3(III), Q4(IV).

The importance is relative  to your mission, values and goals which have been identified with habit 2. This is why is important to have a personal mission statement or a principle center: to use it as a foundation.
While upon urgent tasks we can only react, non urgent tasks can be prioritized and we can proactively do them.
Moreover, urgent tasks are often important for other people but not for us, so for us they are tasks in Q3.

The suggestion from covey is to spend most of the time in Q2, and little time in Q1. No time (or almost)  in Q3 or Q4.

Continue reading “Book Review: the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 3 or Put first things first”

Book review: the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey – Habit 2 or Begin with the end in mind

This is the third in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Mr. Stephen Covey’s classic “the 7th habits of highly effective people”.
I’m reading from the 2004 Free Press paperback edition. This entry covers the second habit.

The second habit is based on the principle that all things are first created mentally and then physically. As building a house, you first start to think about it, plan and visualize it, before hammering the first nail. The same can be applied to business or our own life.

The most effective way to begin with the end in mind suggested by Stephen Covey is to write a personal mission statement or philosophy. It should contain what you want to be and to do and the principles upon which are based.

It then follows some practical tips on how to write such a statement, stating that it’s not a quick task: it takes deep introspection, analysis and many rewrites. After having written it, you should review it regularly and update it if necessary.

Next: habit 3

Book Review: the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey – chapter one

This is the second in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Mr. Stephen Covey’s classic “the 7th habits of highly effective people”.
I’m reading from the 2004 Free Press paperback edition. This entry covers the first habit: be proactive.

What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.

First, a definition: proactivity means more than taking initiative, it means being responsible for our own lives, to be able to choose our response.

In contrast, reactive people are affected by their social environment: when people treat them well, they feel well, when don’t they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behaviour of others, empowering other people to control them. They are driven by feelings, circumstances, conditions, environment.

Proactive people are driven by values; they are still influenced by external stimuli but their response is a value-based choice. They are not pushy or aggressive, that’s not the actual meaning.

Continue reading “Book Review: the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey – chapter one”