Move From Busy to Taking Care of Business
For this, we look to author Stephen Covey, who wrote a book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Covey describes a mindset to adopt that will transform you from “busy” to taking care of business.
Here are his tips:
- Be Proactive. This doesn’t mean writing more to-do lists or attempting to plan ahead more than you already are. Covey is referring to a mindset built on proactive thinking rather than reactive thinking. Instead of letting the situation control them, proactive people take charge and realize that you have control over yourself and your decisions.
- Begin with the end in mind. This is essential to productivity. Avoid busywork by setting a goal, and letting that goal drive your process.
- Put first things first. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! If you’re a list-maker, evaluate what you have to do and decide what needs to be done first rather than attacking the list at random.
- Think Win-Win. When [dealing/working] with others, it’s important to [create] Win-Win agreements, from which each party benefits. This is best achieved by entering discussions with courage and consideration of the other parties.
- Seek first to understand then to be understood. In other words: “Listen first, then speak.” Make an effort to understand what someone else wants before steam-rolling the conversation with your own concerns.
- Synergize. In essence, this means to cooperate with others to make something great. In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Proactive thinking, Win-Win seeking, and listening first all come together to make it possible to achieve something greater together than we would on our own.
- Sharpen the saw, i.e. take time to recuperate. Ignoring the needs of your body and mind in order to squeeze in another few hours on a project is a waste of time. There’s no trophy for running yourself ragged. Spending those extra hours taking care of yourself allows you to come back refreshed and work much more quickly and competently. Blurring the line of work-life balance serves only to create ineffective people prone to making mistakes and perpetuate the Busy Cult.