Stephen Covey: Seven Habits, Stephen Covey: 7 Habits, Stephen Covey: Seven (7) Habits

Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits, Stephen Covey, Seven 7 Habits, Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits,

Monday, August 03, 2009

Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits -- Put First Things First


Why did I decide to focus on Stephen Covey and his ideas?

Stephen Covey belonged to a group of authors that I used to spend a lot of time focusing on, a group that included Robert Ringer, Susan Jeffers, and other "self-help gurus."

Stephen Covey's work in particular drew me because, ultimately, I am aware that we all live along a time line. In other words, we don't get very long: if you are now forty and you live into your sixties, let us say, you only have 1,000 weeks left! Even if you're twenty and you live to be eighty, that's still only 3,000 weeks...

With this in mind, I wanted a resource that could help me focus on the question: Given I only have, perhaps 2,000 weeks, and maybe less, of my life to live, then how can I best spend my time? I mean, it is hardly an inconsequential question: unless you are a Buddhist or a Hindu, you probably believe this is your only life on earth, the one and only time you've got in this kind of reality, and you may well believe that this is the only form of existence you will have period! So, it matters deeply what you do with your time.

Covey combines "time management" with "seeking out an overall vision." In other words, it is one thing to have an effective time management tool, but this is useless if you do not know what targets you should be aiming at.

Covey's ideas, then, lend themselves to a combining of deep philosophical issues with practical everyday concerns.

Thus, for me, the two overarching habits of the seven habits of Stephen Covey are: Begin with the End in Mind (meaning, find out what it is you should be focusing on), and then to Put First Things First, meaning to stop sacrificing your most important goals to less important tasks...

In the end though, you must Begin with the End in Mind first! In other words, Put first things first, and the "first thing" in this sentence is figuring out what "ends" you should have in mind.

None of the other self-help books I was looking at, including the more academic work of Aaron Beck, for example, emphasized this. In other words, no-one else seemed to pay such rigid respect for the idea that we all live along a time-line, ie., we have to decide what we are doing in the bounds of "the space-time continuum", because there is quite literally no escape from this: for humans, time appears as linear, and this is the foundation for all action, all goal-setting.

Stephen Covey forces you to pay heed to the linear march of time, by asking you to decide what the First Things are that you should be doing.

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