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7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

1. Be Proactive

We spend too much time worrying about things in which we have no control, things that we are unable to do anything about. Instead, focus on things that we can change. And do it proactively, before we are forced to do something about it. You have a natural need to wield influence on the world around you so don’t spend your time just reacting to external events and circumstances. Take charge and assume responsibility for your life. Expand your circle of influence.

2. Begin with the End in Mind

If we don’t know where we want to go, how will we ever get there? Envision your future using both logic and imagination. Let it be based on principles. Write down your own mission statements. Have a vision for the future and align your actions accordingly to make it into a reality.

3. Put Things First

Write down everything that you want to do. You will see that they will fall into four categories.

  • Important and Urgent
  • Important and Not Urgent
  • Not Important and Urgent
  • Not Important and Not Urgent

To prioritize your work, focus on what’s important, meaning the things that bring you closer to your vision of the future. Don’t get distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks.

4. Think Win Win

Sooner or later, we realize that we not only owe a lot to the society that we live in, we also understand that our success depends on others success. Life is not a zero-sum game. When we make it a habit to see how others can also benefit from our actions, from our decisions, we are better off for that. The world is too connected for us to think win or lose.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

When someone presents us with a problem, we often jump right to giving a solution. This is a mistake. We should first take time to really listen to the other person and only then make recommendations.

6. Synergize

Synergy changes conventional math. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Adopt the guiding principle that in a group, the contributions of many will far exceed those of any individual. This will help you achieve goals you could never have reached on your own

7. Sharpen the Saw

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Your axe is your body, mind and soul. Run. Exercise. Study. Meditate.

Don’t work yourself to death. Strive for a sustainable lifestyle that affords you time to recuperate, recharge and be effective in the long-term.

Essential Time Management Skills

Time Block your Day

Schedule your day in time blocks for tasks rather than just having a simple To-Do list.

Schedule in Buffer Time

Give yourself time for things to potentially go wrong, or off track.

Take Time to Rest

You can’t always be productive, so don’t waste time dwelling on it or beating yourself up.

Multitasking doesn’t work

Focus on one thing at a time.

Set Deadlines

You’re more likely to get your work done if you have a deadline to work towards.

Set a Routine

Create a routine to give your days more structure. This will allow you to have set times and a format when you plan to get certain things done, and also when you do not.

Just Get Going

If you can finish a task in less than 2 minutes, it’s more productive to get it done while you are thinking about it.

Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.

There isn’t time to do everything so make sure you know what is most important.

Group Meetings into Blocks

Schedule all of your meetings at once to save time in between phone calls and traveling.

Work in Sprints

Work in bursts with breaks in between so you can regather your energy for the next tasks.

Break Down Tasks

Break down your work into small tasks that you are able to get done in a session at a time.

Take Notes

Don’t rely on remembering everything that you need too, write it down.

Safe Place

Make it easy for yourself and file work and notes in a convenient place where you will be able to easily find them again.

Automate and Batch

Spend time automating all of the tasks that you can, and do the rest of the work in batches of related work.

Block out distractions

Turn off your notifications and block out anything that might distract you or take away your focus.

How to Manage Multiple Projects at a Time

Managing multiple projects at once be incredibly overwhelming. Regardless of your role we could all benefit from being able to successfully manage multiple projects at one time.

Read More

10 Sunday Habits for a Productive Week

Are you afraid of falling behind during the week? Your Monday doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are 10 Sunday habits you can do to set your week up for success.

  1. Start with creating a clean and calming living space. Open the windows, light a candle and welcome in the fresh air. Taking time to get a few chores done, will make your life so much easier later in the week.

2. Review your Calendar. It’s easy to miss preparing for a deadline or even an important meeting if you don’t check your schedule. Review what your week has in store for you, and prepare accordingly.

3. Write a To-Do List. Once you write out your list, highlight your top priorities and plan your days around them. Once you’ve picked at least 3 top priorities, check back on your progress. It’s easy to get carried away with what you want to be able to do, but be realistic. What are you able to do?

4. Reflect on your progress thus far, and take time to set new goals or figure out how you will pursue the same ones differently. What went well? What went wrong?

5. Disconnect from Technology. While it might be hard at first, the increased energy and creativity you can experience from putting your phone down just one day a week makes a noticeable difference.

6. Take time to plan and prep your food for the week. Having food already prepared not only saves time but makes sure you stay on track with eating healthy and at home.

7. Go for a walk outside. Take time to clear your head at the nearest Beach or Community Park. Giving yourself this time, will help you start your week feeling refreshed and focus.

8. Tidy up your house, and straighten your workspace. Setting a day that you can get your maintenance things done makes a big difference and helps your productivity levels throughout the rest of your week.

9. The little things you didn’t get to. Pay your bills, run that errand or finish your laundry. These are all tasks that don’t take long, but in the long run help free your mental space for the week ahead.

10. Relax! It’s a day of rest. These tasks shouldn’t consume your entire day but just take a few moments here and there. Make sure to take time to hit the reset button. Read a book, meditate, spend time with your family, do something that you normally don’t make the time for.

How to Create a Strong Research Routine

Studies have shown throughout history, that the most successful Academics almost always had strong research routines. And interestingly enough, a number of similarities between these routines show up. It turns out that having no routine or structure is more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be! 

Create a Schedule

One of the most important ways to increase your productivity is to know yourself. When are you most creative? Awake? Alert? That is the time that you want to dedicate to your research. For some, it is the first thing in the morning, for others midday or even the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. The time and location do not matter as long as your writing and research become a part of your daily schedule. 

Use Time Wisely

All time is not created equal. Having a block of five hours to work is worth more than a dozen half-hour chunks of time throughout the week. Turn off your phone, forget about your emails and rearrange your schedule to have as many blocks of uninterrupted time as possible.

Schedule It

One of the biggest mistakes one can make is thinking that they’ll “find” the time for research. As if extra time was lying around or hidden somewhere we are hoping to stumble upon. The best advice for those struggling to balance teaching, research, and writing with responsibilities outside of the academy is:

Schedule the time. Don’t wait until you have a moment; seize the moment. 

There’s no one way to create the perfect research routine, but not having one at all is a recipe for incomplete projects. Routines are invaluable in your daily life, as they provide structure and focus to your activities. Although you should always remember that routines should serve you, you shouldn’t be a slave to them. Their purpose is to allow you to accomplish your goals and live a happy, healthy life. Accordingly, learning how to build positive routines in your life today is important for your future life as well.

5 to 7 AM

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” — Richard Whately

Maybe you have learned this lesson before. And you may have to continue re-learning it again and again.

How we spend our mornings determines exactly who we become.

How we spend our mornings determines how well we:

  • perform
  • strategize
  • prioritize  
  • influence
  • develop

If we do not consciously create a routine, then we continually repeat the past over and over again.

The purpose of a routine is to stop repeating things that no longer serve us.

It’s to put ourselves in a position of growth and development — one that you are purposely creating, regardless of what has happened to you in the past.

Without a routine, we are far less able to deal with the challenges of life.

What Do You Do Between 5 and 7 AM?

If you could give yourself two hours, every morning, dedicated to developing your personal growth, your life could change.

When you instill a morning routine dedicated to your self-development, you have the potential to change your entire life.

You’ll learn from your mistakes, and quit the same unhealthy patterns.

You’ll elevate yourself while most people continue small lives of regret.

What are you going to do about the hours between 5–7AM?

Master your Time, using Time Blocks.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” -Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives one can imagine.

From being a five star general in the US Army to becoming President of the United States, his life was anything but normal.

Along the way, he served as President of Columbia University, became the first Supreme Commander of NATO, and managed to find time to pursue hobbies such as oil painting.

Eisenhower had an incredible ability to sustain his productivity not just for weeks or months, but for decades. And for that reason, it is no surprise that his methods for time management, task management, and productivity have been studied by millions of people over the years.

His most famous productivity strategy is known as the Eisenhower Matrix, and it’s a simple decision-making tool that you can use today.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower’s strategy for taking action and organizing tasks is simple. Using the matrix below, you will separate your actions based on four possibilities.

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).

Urgent tasks are things that you feel like you need to react to: emails, phone calls and text messages.

Separating these differences is simple enough to do once, but doing so continually can be tough. And like anything in life, consistency is the hard part.

Too often, we use productivity, time management, and optimization as an excuse to avoid the really difficult question: “Do I actually need to be doing this?” It is much easier to remain busy and tell yourself that you just need to be a little more efficient or to “work a little later tonight” than to endure the pain of eliminating a task that you are comfortable with doing, but that isn’t the highest and best use of your time.

The Eisenhower Matrix can be a useful decision-making tool for increasing productivity and eliminating the behaviors that take up mental energy, waste time, and keep us from moving towards our goals.

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