Tag Archive: Covey’s Habits

Sharpen The Saw

Habit 7-Sharpen The SawStephen Covey’s 7th habit is Sharpen The Saw. Doing so means engaging carefully in selected recreational activities that offer you the opportunity for self-renewal so that you can regain your “production capability”. Time off, time away and regular breaks during the day are essential to your increased level of productivity and time for said activities are just as important to include on your calendar as are the tasks that get you to the end of the road. When I help clients plan, the first thing that we get into their calendar is their time off. The long weekends, “me time” and vacations come first.

Working day in and day out does not make you productive nor does it make you successful. It actually diminishes it. Taking time off and away from business actually helps to fuel you forward and is part of taking care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t run your business or take care of the things or people you’re charged with taking care of. It’s like getting on an airplane and having the cabin pressure cause the oxygen masks fall down in front of all the passengers. If you do as the flight attendant instructed prior to take off, you put your mask on first and you’re able to assist the child or person next to you who needs help. If you try to help them first, you may end up in a situation where you don’t end up with your mask on. You have to take care of yourself first so that you can tend to the things around you that you’re responsible for. Stepping back is part of sharpening the saw.



Habit 6-SynergizeCovey’s sixth habit is “Synergize”. Synergizing makes magic happen. There’s something to be said for working in collaboration with others, be it with your team or fellow business owners. When your mind is open enough to exploring new things, ideas and solutions you open doors to possibility. When you make the conscious choice to consider someone’s expertise and how it compliments your own you can go a lot farther and produce better results that you can on your own. This process allows for a bigger vision, increased creativity, and new beginnings.

At the core of synergy is valuing and appreciating differences on all levels and utilizing that to make decisions, create new products and programs and expand your business. The sky is the limit. Know that differences are strengths you can build upon and they open new possibilities for you and for your business.



Habit 5-Seek FirstHabit number 5 of highly effective people is Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. This calls for completely listening to another person’s concerns and not giving advice before you understand a person and their situation. Communication is key, more importantly, it’s how you communicate that’s key and it’s necessary when it comes to building relationships and working with others to get things done. With communication being so important you have to operate in a different manner when you talk to people.

How important is it for you to listen to your clients? I know that I really have to listen to people when they talk and I have to come from a place that allows me to really hear what they’re saying. Listening in that way allows me to hear things that they aren’t telling me. It allows me to be able to get an understanding of the things that are hindering them and to draw conclusions about how they’re operating. Are you listening to your clients to hear what’s said and remains unsaid? Listening with the intent of understanding allows you to see what’s really going on and to respond accordingly.

First Things First

Habit 3-First Things FirstHabit number 3 from Stephen Covey is Put First Things First. This means shifting your focus to place it on your long-term goals instead of things that are more urgent and less important and prioritize the work related to them.  Putting first things first means organizing then implementing activities directly in line with the focus that you create.

Here, things come into the physical realm. One of the processes that I guide clients through is intended to help them get to the important things. We start by looking at everything they have on their to-do list and break the list down piece by piece. Systematically I have them determine the things that aren’t important and the things that didn’t belong on their agenda at all. We then look at the things they have deemed to be important to see if they were in line with their goals. If something didn’t line up, it gets removed from their agenda and they learned how to incorporate their goals into what they work on daily. Increase efficiency by putting first things first.



Habit 2-Begin With The End in MindThis is habit number two from Covey’s list of seven and something that definitely supports productivity. It works when you set long-term goals, and use visualization as a tool to develop it. Before you start anything, you have to have a clear picture of what it is you want and that means looking at the end result and working your way backward to the starting point to know what to do to get you there. When you work in this manner and mentally create what you want, it helps you to focus on relevant things.

I have seen the difference that this makes time and time again. I’ll share one example with you. A few years ago a colleague said that she needed my help to pull things together. She was all over the place, working on a number of different things, but had no idea of where she was going with some of them. I took her through a visualization session so that she could get clear on where she was going with her clients. We went into the detail about the purpose of the programs she wanted to create and the results she wanted from each of them. I also had her stop working on her first annual retreat to get clear about the end results. That session made all the difference.

Beginning with the end in mind had her look at exactly where she was going with the programs and events in her business. The outcomes allowed her to see where the gaps where in what she was contemplating as well as the things she had already been working on without making time to envision it all first. Looking at the end result helped her create her long term goals for each endeavor and map out the plan to get there. Stopping to look forward enabled her days to be more focused and kept her from her usual days of being all over the place and not knowing where she was going.

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