Rosa Say had a great post on her Talking Story blog about Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Effective People” and David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. She illustrates how the seven habits helped become more effective on her job and as a manager. She goes on to point out that GTD has had a similar effect.
In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of Covey’s Habits again as I’ve read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and I like the way they seem to synchronize. Both Allen and Covey talk about proactivity, which Covey called “the power to choose our own responses.” I can still remember this Covey quote sitting in residence in big bold letters across the top of a bulletin board in our Ritz-Carlton employee cafeteria:
“Urgency is the hangover from a reactivity binge, which comes from ignoring values.”
Any clearer why I may be a bit hung up on values? We are our values, however we are not our habits. Using Covey’s words,
“You can make and break your habits. You need not be a victim of conditions or conditioning … habits of effectiveness can be learned; habits of ineffectiveness, unlearned.”
I had learned that Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits are based upon the timeless principle called the Law of the Harvest: we tend to reap what we sow. “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,” the maxim goes.
What David Allen has been so effective in doing in his book for me thus far (I’m into my second, slower reading now) is cement the action part of this into my head, so I keep asking myself with each task that presents itself, “Is it actionable?” I like Covey’s connection as the next one, asking myself as I implement, “Is this a habit I want to keep?” knowing it potentially can reap the character builder of my destiny.
I really agree with Rosa that the two work well together. I like Covey for the effectiveness part. His habits are timeless principles that work well in most job situations. In his new book,”The 8th habit”, his tenets on “finding your voice” form the basic core of this blog. David Allen’s “next actions” have been pivotal for me in my struggle to find an effective time management solution. I had tried Covey’s time management plugin for Outlook, but I found that it took way too much time to implement. I spent more time working the system than I saved from its implementation.
“Getting Things Done” revolutionized my time management process. David’s system is simple yet effective and does not take much time to implement. By dividing things into projects and “next actions”, I’m able to see at a glance what I need to do next. His GTD plug-in for Outlook helped me finally get a grip on the E-mail monster. I was able to whittle over a thousand e-mails down to just a handful and keep them under control on a daily basis.
The Synergy of these two systems results in a very effective business structure. One that would make anyone more effective and time efficient.