Today, due to the competition that exists in the world of work , companies pay a lot of attention to the effectiveness of their workers. But being effective is not only important if you work for someone, because if you want to undertake a project or if you are a student, being effective is going to be decisive in achieving success in any task you set yourself.

Have you ever done a lot of things but didn’t seem to make any progress? Spent a lot of time on a task and didn’t manage to finish it in time? Thought you were very active but not very productive? If so, you may not be as effective as you thought.

In today’s article, and inspired by the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey , we will review the outstanding habits of people who are highly effective in their day-to-day lives.

1. Be proactive

The proactive person takes control and conscious responsibility for his or her own life , sets realistic objectives and does not stop working to achieve his or her goals. Being proactive has to do with going out and looking for opportunities, as the proactive understands that these opportunities will hardly come on their own. Therefore, the proactive person creates his or her own destiny by responding to his or her ambitions and challenges.

2.Start with an end in mind

This custom is closely related to the personal development and motivation of individuals. It refers to personal leadership and action, as an appropriate vision of the future can bring positive consequences for an individual’s emotional health. It is important to understand that the end in mind must be realistic. Any goal we set should follow the SMART rule (it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and should be achieved within a given time frame), as unrealistic goals negatively affect individual well-being .

3.Set first things first

This point refers to the administration of one’s resources and the rational application of these resources, and allows individuals to make a distinction between what is important and what is urgent . One can have many objectives, but priorities must always be established. Therefore, having a well-defined plan of action and giving priorities to each objective or goal will be crucial in order not to do a thousand things at once and not to finish any of them.

4.Thinking about winning / winning (mutual benefit)

This custom refers to the mutual benefit and is beneficial for the balance in interpersonal relations, as it promotes the common good and equity. Cooperation and teamwork can bring many benefits: increased productivity , reduction of stress, increased creativity and learning, etc.

This habit is based on the study of the paradigms of human interaction, which are 6:

  • win / win;
  • win / lose
  • lose / win;
  • I lose / you lose
  • I win
  • win / win or no deal

The first of these paradigms is the important one to be effective, and it is the opposite of win-loss, which is common to many people because we have grown up in a society that values competition.

5.Try to understand first and then be understood

This habit also refers to cooperation and effective communication , and is based on the benefits of emotional intelligence. Furthermore, it is important for a correct social climate and for mutual respect and coexistence. Effective people have developed a capacity for empathy and active listening, so that they can later be understood. In this way they build successful and constructive interpersonal relationships.


This principle also refers to teamwork and collaboration. The synergy refers to the fact that working in a team (adding up the talent) the collective result is greater than the sum of the members . In other words, teamwork allows the talents of each individual to complement each other to create a final product that could not have been achieved individually.

7.Sharpening the saw

Sharpening the saw refers to continuous improvement and personal development in all areas of personality , and is concerned with well-being . For the author of the book, sharpening the saw is based on the metaphor of a woodcutter. The woodcutter can use the saw for a while, but then he needs to stop and sharpen it in order to continue his work. Effective people use rest (sharpening the saw) productively, as taking a vacation, reading or training, meditating, exercising, etc., helps to keep up good service. When people are not able to stop and recharge their batteries, they suffer negative consequences in their personality: physical, mental and social-emotional.