The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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avrum68

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Busydave said:
This is why Covey is irrelevant in the twenty first century. Ok, he can point out all the things that are wrong with life today. But life today is not going to get any better. Nothing short of dismantling the global stock market is going to change that.
Covey is more relevant than ever before. As more and more of my friends live lives similar to yours, it's dawning on them that something's not right. Is it the tv? Is it that 2nd SUV they're still paying off? Is it the move away from my family to take that job that provides me with $15000 extra a year? Covey's message is that without a profound paradigm shift (for most of us this occurs due to an illness, natural disaster or some other major event)....we get the same ol', same 'ol. And the same 'ol is making many sick...emotionally and physically.

Covey lacked a day by day approach to living out his vision. And his software (while holding tons of promise) sucked. But his ideas will outlast Allen's because they address issues related to family, community and soul.

p.s.
As an aside, I've taken up an interest in meditation and signed up for a class at my local hospital. Seems the government is funding meditation workshops as an alternative to medicine/therapy as a means to handling stress/anxiety and pain.

Guess what? The room was a mob scene. Guess what? There's a wait list that doesn’t end till Fall-Winter 2006. And the number one concern during the q &a...folks don't have the time to commit to regular meditation classes because of their hectic lives (the very lives that are probably making them sick and in need of anxiety/stress workshops).
 
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avrum68

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CosmoGTD said:
Covey has picked a bunch of theological skyhooks, and calls them "principles". Covey would no doubt say his skyhooks are built from metaphysical cranes from his so-called "wisdom literature". (Wisdom Literature, is code for Religious Revelation, which is Skyhooking Inc.)

The reality is that what Covey is selling is a type of religion, which is why its so popular! People love that stuff, especially in the US.
You state this as fact. In reality, this is your opinion.

CosmoGTD said:
But does it work?
It might "sound good" in theory, but does it actually work?
Actually yes, it worked for me. The weekly check-in, roles, etc., are almost as integrated into my nature as say...responding to posts on BB's.

CosmoGTD said:
The more I work at this the more I realize that what is most important are ground level Next Actions being DONE, and not becoming One the with Cosmos.
And the very opposite was stated at the meditation workshop I attended (led by an ER physician no less). Regardless of theology, 4000 years of religious wisdom warns about too much action and not enough "stopping i.e. Sabbath". But yes, even for that i.e. meditation, prayer, Sabbath, walks in nature...one must take an action. Perhaps we're discussing the same thing.
 

andersons

Registered
Busydave said:
You will finish the book feeling servile and apostle-like, but soon your other ordinary likes and dislikes come back into view and the Covey message evaporates.

There is nothing new there apart from his preacher-like approach (which differentiates him from the more self focused angle of most other writers).
Well, as Sherlock Holmes would say, everything seems obvious once you know it. It clearly was not obvious stuff to you the first time you read it -- and that's the only time that counts for judging obviousness.

If it were all truly obvious stuff that no one needs to hear, I doubt the book would have had the impact that it did have and continues to have.

Busydave said:
I would LOVE to be able to devote chunks of high quality time to my important, non-urgent roles on a weekly basis, but I know this is never going to happen.

I get up at 6 a.m., and everything I do then is focussed on getting into work at 9 a.m. in a reasonably presentable condition. I generally get home around 9 in the evening, and I must be in bed by 10 p.m. to be ready to get up at 6 again.

My son is nearly 8, and after he hits 13 he won’t want to know me. The months are flying by and the window is closing rapidly. I can’t find time for him, let alone the other top role relationships.

Life in 2005 is a matter of trying to keep your head above water, a matter of survival.

The only hope in hell for the Covey approach is if we get non-urgent, important tasks onto our project lists, and try to get to the next action if an unexpected window of time comes up. But there are no big slots of time up for grabs: they don’t exist any more. There is no room for big rocks.

This is why Covey is irrelevant in the twenty first century. Ok, he can point out all the things that are wrong with life today. But life today is not going to get any better. Nothing short of dismantling the global stock market is going to change that.
Yikes. You missed the message of Habit #1 -- you have the power to choose. You choose to spend 15 hours a day on work and none with your son.

Logically, you have to actually follow advice before you can judge whether it works or not. You choose to do the opposite of Covey's advice for habits 1, 2, and 3. Then you say that Covey is irrelevant. The logic here is sorely lacking. When you do the opposite of someone's advice, you cannot say the advice is irrelevant.

Likewise, if a person disregards every bit of advice in GTD, that person cannot claim that GTD doesn't work!

Covey is absolutely right about scheduling time for important but not urgent things. It works. How many times on THIS forum have people asked how they can get themselves to do the things on their Next Actions list that are important but not urgent? And how many times have people on THIS forum responded that they should schedule time for those things?

Putting things like "Exercise" or "Time with spouse" on a Next Actions list to be done whenever "possible" is the approach that DOES NOT work. Those merely important things sit on the Next Actions list forever while the urgent ones get done.

Every single person I know who exercises regularly or who spends time with family regularly schedules regular times in which to do those things.

So you read Covey, didn't like the message, and choose to live your life differently. That doesn't prove Covey irrelevant; in my opinion, your experience proves Covey IS relevant. In the long run, if you are happy with the choices of your life, if you are satisfied with the outcome of those choices, and if the people to whom you owe responsibility, like your son, are happy with the outcome of your choices as well, then perhaps you can say you didn't need Covey. But you'll still never know what your life would have been like if you had followed the 7 habits. So you still cannot judge them.
 

MikeC

Registered
And don't forget "intuition"

Covey's method is to Ask (with intent of listening) Listen (without excuse) and Act (with courage).

Obviously, this so called connection with conscience is most likely meant to be Spiritual.

However, then, what is intuition? It is (for one) the belief in an inter-connectedness with each other and other things. Isn't this a spiritual thing?
 
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CosmoGTD

Guest
Much of this comes down to style, and not just content.
Some like Covey's style, some despise it. Personally, I got the 8th Habit from the library, and I found the book, and DVD to be repugnant, as in, as cheezy as an infomercial. That applies to both the style and content, and the postulating of human "faculties", etc.

I find the Covey thing can end up with a nice Mission statement that looks good on the wall, or worse, creating something too idealistic that creates self-loathing.

But purely on the level of subjective experience, Covey's way of speaking makes me feel all creepy. Its sort of detached and robotic, with an affected perma-grin built in.
I find the Covey thing just too grandiouse and corny, and perhaps even sorta culty.
 
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pageta

Guest
kewms said:
Why not? My own experience is that I can make time for anything that I truly consider important, because if it's really important I'm willing to sacrifice something else to do it.

For me, the key difference between Covey and GTD is that Covey shows you where to go, but GTD shows you how to get there. (Compass vs. map? Maybe.)
Katherine, you have such a gift for hitting the nail right on the head.

I am self-employed. When I worked for someone else, even if I had "goals" they were completely irrelevant because my job was to go to work and do what needed to be done. GTD would have done wonders for me in that environment.

Now that I'm self-employed, GTD sounds great, but the thing I struggled with most in the beginning is that I had nothing to do because no one is telling me what to do. Every single item on my lists is something I came up with myself and since I decided to do it, I could also decide not to do it.

I use Covey to help me decide what I need to do. I use GTD to actually get it done. Seriously.

So now that I've been doing GTD for a while, I've actually gotten Covey back out and for the first time in my life actually found it to be quite useful as well. Prior to GTD, I would set goals but never come anywhere near accomplishing them. The weeks and months would go by and I would be in the same place I was when I sat down and defined my purpose and roles and goals and all that. Now that I have the confidence that I can accomplish what I set out to do, setting goals in all areas of my life has become extremely valuable to me.

The other thing about GTD that kind of sneaks up on you is that you see what you are spending much of your time on since you have all of your to-do's written down. With that perspective, you can objective analyze your tasks and possible delete or delegate the ones that don't actually appeal to you. What you are not aware of, you cannot change.

So to me, Covey is not useful without GTD and GTD is not useful without Covey. If I was working in the corporate world, I might find GTD useful on its own, but not in my world.
 

mcogilvie

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Please Read: Important Teaching of Auto Manufacturers

OK, people, listen up. Covey is a guy who writes books and gives seminars on how to live better. He is not the messiah, or a buddha, or an enlightened master; neither is he a charlatan or a fraud. He may be a 33rd degree Mason for all I know, but who cares? Anybody who thinks he has THE ANSWERS for modern life 1) has not been watching/reading the news lately; 2) has a fundamentally different apprehension of life than I have. Helpful, maybe; definitive no.

Remember always the great teaching:

YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY

and practice tolerance, both true believers and skeptics.

There, I feel better now. Thanks.
 
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avrum68

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CosmoGTD said:
Personally, I got the 8th Habit from the library, and I found the book, and DVD to be repugnant, as in, as cheezy as an infomercial.
We agree. The 8th Habit was the worst book purchase I've made in a long time. I'll admit something else...I trained my staff via the 7 Habits a few years back. We all enjoyed the process and they claim to have learned a lot. So I purchased a few copies of the 8th habit hoping for the same jolt. We were all disapointed. I owned that mistake :-|
 
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Cikub

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mcogilvie said:
OK, good, you can do sarcasm- always so win-win :).
Yes, I deserve more of a smack than a smiley, and I'm sure Covey would be first in line to smack me. I have an unfortunate affinity for sarcasm and irony. My apologies to BusyDave if it was offensive.

I wrote the post because I felt that BusyDave was throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It seems clear to me that millions have found the 7 Habit to have some merit or usefulness. If someone doesn't find the book to be helpful, that's just fine, but they should take personal ownership of their personal feelings. For example:

"*I* finished the book feeling servile and apostle-like, but soon *my* other ordinary likes and dislikes came back into view and the Covey message evaporated *for me*.”

I heartily disagree with other comments that have been made in this thread about Covey preaching religion, “skyhooks”, etc.. To me, these observations are just as logically unfounded as the owners of those opinions say that Covey’s principles are. If anything, I think it’s an issue of religions adopting effective principles as part of their “truth” rather than today’s authors trying to adapt religious beliefs to secular life.

Others in this thread have done an excellent job of pointing out that Covey’s work is all about shedding the deception that that life is in control of us. He wants people to realize that happiness comes from being the person you want to be rather than just completing next actions that outside forces “compel” you to have. He wants people to live their short lives with purpose. I don’t understand how anyone can fault that.

C

PS. Let’s try not to confuse Franklin Covey the company with Stephen Covey the author. He does not manage the company or control it. And I’m sure he himself would not touch their software with a 10 foot pole.

PPS.
CosmoGTD said:
But purely on the level of subjective experience, Covey's way of speaking makes me feel all creepy inside! Its sort of detached and robotic, with an affected perma-grin built in.
I can't say I feel "creepy inside", but I can relate with this comment. I listened to 8th Habit on audio book and agree that it was much more fluff than what I hoped for. I think Covey simply has walked so long in the personal improvement industry groove that it has become a rut. But that's just want happens to all humans, from politicians to IT consultants, after a while you get lost in the buzz words, etc.. The 7-Habits, however, is still a landmark.
 

BigStory

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andersons said:
Putting things like "Exercise" or "Time with spouse" on a Next Actions list to be done whenever "possible" is the approach that DOES NOT work. Those merely important things sit on the Next Actions list forever while the urgent ones get done.
Interesting. I agree. I was just skimming through First Things First other day, and came to this conclusion: "C" items go onto Someday/Maybe, "B" items go onto my NA lists, and "A" items go onto my calendar to mark the appropriate time for the get to work dealine and the submission deadline, AND they go onto my NA lists or Project lists, to remind me of what needs to get done before the deadline. Same thing with the Q2 and Matrix. The underlying principles are similar, but the parrangment is different. GTD is more practically effective. I too found that GTD supplied what I needed to actually implement the values and priorities that Covey helped me to recover.

Gordon
 

Busydave

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I believe that “choice” is one of the great myths of the self-help industry. We are encouraged to align our lives along roles/projects or whatever: but our entire lives have already been aligned with national economic policy as it applies to the workforce.

If I choose to cut down on my working hours, then my home, my son’s education fund, and my pension will vanish. I resent Covey implying that I have “chosen” to pay my mortgage, educate my son and provide for our old age. These are the cold hard realities of life.

My “choice” to work long hours was made by whoever it was thought a minimum forty hour week was a better “choice” for us than, say, a twenty hour week.

If I “choose” to deal with important but not urgent issues in work, I am liable to be injured when the pile of files in my in tray collapses on Friday.

I am not prepared to waste time fantasising about a world of “choice”.

Dave
 

kewms

Registered
I'm not going to argue about what choices you do or don't have, since I don't know you or your situation.

But I do know that houses, cars, vacations, and other goods come in a variety of different sizes and price ranges. I know lots and lots of people (myself included) who could be quite comfortable with much less stuff than they actually have. I know people who work two jobs so they can afford to vacation in Europe. That's a choice. I know people who work their butts off to afford three acre lots with swimming pools that they don't have time to enjoy. That's a choice.

Personally, I decided that no amount of money is worth working 15 hours a day and having no life. So I stopped doing that. Strangely enough, the world didn't come to an end. When I work fewer hours, my focus and quality of work improve, so the work product is more valuable. In the last ten years, I've taken two pay cuts to improve my quality of life (one when I changed jobs to work at home, one when I became self-employed). Yet I made more money last year than I would have if I'd stayed on the "fast track," and did it in half the time with less than half the stress.

The most important choice is to believe that you have choices.

Katherine
 

TesTeq

Registered
Get rid of this stuff.

kewms said:
I know lots and lots of people (myself included) who could be quite comfortable with much less stuff than they actually have.
Why not to get rid of this stuff - to give it away to clear your life space. Radically.
 
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SteadyEdd

Guest
For me this is one of the most interesting threads for a while. I've read both texts but don't consider myself good at either (yet). However I think that some people are confusing Coveys First Things First (FTF) book with his 7 Habits. FTF is a more time management orientated text based on his 7 Habits work and doesn't compliment GTD too well. Although there may be some overlap between 7 Habits and GTD personally I see them as complementary. Covey himself talks about the return to the 'Character Ethic' which is the thrust of the 7 Habits work. GTD is all about Getting Things Done.
Edward
 

Gameboy70

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While some of the criticism in this thread is idle sectarianism, it's been an interesting read. Part of the problem with reading Covey in the 21st century is that yesterday's truisms are today's platitudes -- think of the apocryphal student who complained, after reading Hamlet, that it had "so many clichés" (not to imply that Covey is the Shakespeare of time management!). Before Covey, the only well-known personal productivity gurus were James McKay and Alan Laekin. Covey was instrumental in defining the rubric we now take for granted.

The appeal of Allen's system over Covey's is that it's grounded in highly specific methodology rather than motivational discourse. The workflow algorithm, general reference filing, suspense filing, context lists, etc., leave nothing to the imagination except for personal preferences like hardware. It's the first productivity system that I'm aware of that treats the comprehensive collection and processing of both internal and external material equivalently (i.e. physical paperwork and inputs from a mind sweep are both handled through the same process). GTD is a system of fairly straightforward technical tasks, which I've personally found more actionable than appeals to "principle" and "character."
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Gameboy70 said:
While some of the criticism in this thread is idle sectarianism, it's been an interesting read. Part of the problem with reading Covey in the 21st century is that yesterday's truisms are today's platitudes -- think of the apocryphal student who complained, after reading Hamlet, that it had "so many clichés" (not to imply that Covey is the Shakespeare of time management!). Before Covey, the only well-known personal productivity gurus were James McKay and Alan Laekin. Covey was instrumental in defining the rubric we now take for granted.
Ah, another scholar of the history of time management! Actually, I would argue that Hyrum Smith, founder of the Franklin Quest company which merged with Covey's smaller organization, was the true popularizer of a holistic planning process. He worked with Charles R. Hobbs, who had a relationship with DayTimer. Hobbs wrote a book called Time Power, in which one can see many of the hallmarks of Franklin practices: ABC123 priorities, linking of entries, et cetera. It is not my area of expertise, but I think Covey lifted what is now the "business life" genre away from "Make millions by cold-calling" towards something new. Can anyone comment on how people like Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale fit into this?

Gameboy70 said:
The appeal of Allen's system over Covey's is that it's grounded in highly specific methodology rather than motivational discourse. The workflow algorithm, general reference filing, suspense filing, context lists, etc., leave nothing to the imagination except for personal preferences like hardware. It's the first productivity system that I'm aware of that treats the comprehensive collection and processing of both internal and external material equivalently (i.e. physical paperwork and inputs from a mind sweep are both handled through the same process). GTD is a system of fairly straightforward technical tasks, which I've personally found more actionable than appeals to "principle" and "character."
Exactly. Strong on process, agnostic on implementation. (Actually, GTD has a lot in common with modern software design.) GTD is layered in a very flexible way. You can take almost ANY program of guided exploration of goals and behavior, work it, and drop the results into a good GTD implementation.
 

jerendeb

Registered
My Turn

Okay here goes, I wish I could remember how I planned my calendar & tasks before 1990 when I read 7 Habits & before 1999 when I first heard of David Allen. I know one thing, I had less stress & got more done!

Covey-I think for me the most important commment is in regard to character & integrity; if I have any duplicity, dishonestly, ill motives I cannot do the 7 Habits because my mission statement will be idealistic or a reminder of how bad I really am. In First Things First he speaks of a shrink who was Manic-Depressive who got into real trouble until he became fully aware of integrity (therapy). I also found myself really getting absorbed in the Mission, Roals, Goals & found total frustration because I wasn't able to teach anyone this stuff & felt very alone & alein in my approach to managing my week.

GTD-I believe that a person can use this manner of stuff management no matter what type of character that person has. The idea here is to get stuff done & cleared off the deck. There are more modifications of David Allen's GTD than any other time managers. A criminal, homemaker, preacher, teacher, student, CEO, blue collar worker, anyone can get stuff done using all or parts of this management style.

Back to my main point in the begining; my wife uses no method or formula to get her stuff done & she is the most effective & efficient human being I know. Her approach is simple, just do it.

I wish I could remember how I planned my calendar & tasks...

later
 
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avrum68

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jerendeb said:
my wife uses no method or formula to get her stuff done & she is the most effective & efficient human being I know.
Ain't it the truth. All of my friends/family who are successful (not in terms of goods/money - although some do have those things - ) haven't heard of, read or practice GTD. And after reading and doing GTD, my basic nature - both good and bad - took over and much of what Allen preaches I found to be, well, annoying. It would seem that the more we understand our basic nature - how we tick - the better we can use certain tools, times of the day, working relationships to FIT with out style. And then we're sailing.
 
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pageta

Guest
avrum68 said:
Ain't it the truth. All of my friends/family who are successful (not in terms of goods/money - although some do have those things - ) haven't heard of, read or practice GTD.
Really? Everyone I know either doesn't manage time well or is very frustrated with how much they get done. I see people all around who could benefit so much if they implemented GTD. It almost drives me crazy. My mom, especially, is "known" for being a good time manager, and really, she does get a lot done. But she does a lot in crisis mode too, and it drives me crazy being around her because I have to operate within her crisis mode - she may get things done, but I get tired of having to drop my "non-emergency" in order to help her with her "emergency." Ugh!
 
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