Sunday Salon 10-26-14

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Read But Still Unfinished

If you have been following this blog the last couple of months, you might have been wondering, “Are you ever going to finish that damned book?” The answer is yes, I have finished reading the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey. Here are a few of my thoughts on it:

In June for my birthday, I decided to read one self-help book a month for the rest of the year. I started with The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg and The Power of a Positive No: How To Say No and Still Get To Yes by William Ury in August, which I wrote about in a post mid-August. In September, I chose The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People after starting to use an app on my phone called My Effectiveness Habits that used the book as a basis.

While I didn’t find everything about the book applicable since I don’t work in a corporate environment, I did find one part in particular helpful. Under the section on Habit No. 3: Put First Things First, Covey presents what he calls Quadrant II thinking. Basically, Covey says there are four quadrants in our lives:

  1. Quadrant 1: Important and urgent, such as deadline-driven projects.
  2. Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent.
  3.  Quadrant 3: Not important but urgent.
  4.  Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent.

The ideal is to be able to focus on Quadrant I and II first, especially Quadrant II, where often things that we do to better ourselves are placed. For example, at work one of the things I’ve been trying to do at the library where I work is “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (based on James 1:19 from The Bible) with my coworkers and the patrons there. However along with that, I have to focus on what Covey called “first things first,” those things that have to be done first, sometimes daily, sometimes once a week. So it’s not just about what you do at your job but how you do it.

I am learning also that those Quadrant II things, especially these three goals, are not something just to be crossed off daily. I can focus on one one day, focus on another another day. That doesn’t mean that I’m not attempting to keep all of them in mind daily, but that certain days I might focus on one more than another.

In practical terms, on Monday and Wednesday, I am focusing on being quick to listen, because those are my shortest days and I especially need to listen to what my coworkers are telling me about what happened earlier in the day. On Tuesday and Thursday, which are among my longer days, I focus on being slow to speak because I have a tendency to look for problems even when I arrive early. Finally on Friday, I focus on being slow to anger when I am dealing with more people, especially toward the end of the day.

As I mentioned in a post at the beginning of the month, unfortunately at the end of one week, on a Friday, I was tested  on all three actions with one “problem patron” in particular.  Although in the end, we both apologized to each other for our behavior, I “lost my shit,” fortunately not in front of the patron, but in a back room where I mouthed a few choice words and flailed my arms like a child in a temper tantrum. So while I didn’t completely fail, I learned that I still had (and have) work to do on that front.

Last week I was tested again with a patron but this time I think I passed. This patron wasn’t a “problem patron,” but again without going into details, I had to listen closely, speak slowly and not get mad with this particular patron. It wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t completely fail either – and didn’t get mad with the patron.

So yes, I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but yes, I am still unfinished — with both it and myself. I allow what Covey calls concerns to bother me instead of focusing on what he calls influences and need to work on that. I also want to work on my own mission statement, and I am starting to see more clearly what that is.

I’ll leave you with a song, which although might not be my mission statement in total, it certainly reflects ideas (minus the language) that might make up part of it:

Flashback Friday 8: The love and marriage edition

Each Friday, I use St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Examen to ask for what am I most grateful this past week? I also sometimes ask: For what am I least grateful this past week?

Most grateful for:

  • Sister-in-law getting married last Saturday afternoon: My wife and I were able to attend both wedding and reception. Also we were able to get together with friends from college on Friday night. One of them lived only a few miles from the hotel where we were staying.
  • Nasonex: Since being prescribed it early last week, it has been helping with my ears ringing not as much…

Least grateful for:

  • …but they’re still ringing some (to continue thought from above): They were especially bad this past Wednesday when we had a storm.

While I didn’t get any photos of the bride and groom, because I wanted to allow them to be able to share the photos from their photographer, this one was on the photographer’s public Facebook page of the happy couple before the wedding, so I thought it’s probably okay to share:


Here’s one also of my wife and me before the wedding, but not quite as professionally done (Brittany was otherwise engaged) ;):

2014-10-11 15.46.36

So what are you least grateful for and/or most grateful for this past week?

Of cookbooks, fashion, happiness…and more!

After a week off, I’m back to share some thoughts…but this time from others. Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll share a few of my own, but for now, here are some thoughts from folks like you, maybe even you:

  • Trish of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity is “Checking Out Cookbooks” and this one caught my eye because I thought my wife would be interested in this.
  • Andi of Estella’s Revenge is talking “Personally: A Fashion Passion” and this one caught my eye because while I don’t have a fashion passion…yep, you got it, my wife does. Plus my wife and I can relate to losing weight like Andi has too.
  • Vasilly of 1330v: Thoughts of an Eclectic Reader is taking up a happiness project this week and since I recently finished a happiness project and still am working on productivity, I thought I would check this one out. See if you can’t relate too.
  • Stefanie of So Many Books – the agony and ecstasy of a reading life is “Celebrating Eleven Years” of blogging this past week. Sadly, I don’t always comment there like I should but I do attempt to keep up with her posts and when I do, I always am rewarded for it.
  • Florinda of The 3 R’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness gives us “A Little Techy Talk: Which Device for What?” that made me think how much I miss my tablet which has been broken for a little while. I’ve been doing many things on my phone but it’s just not the same.
  • Tanya from Girlxoxo is starting her New Year’s Resolution planning early? What?!? Well, okay, I guess. ;) See what her goals are for 2015 and maybe it will inspire you too.
  • Erin Kurup writes on her personal blog about “What would happen if you wrote like nobody’s reading?” I’ll be honest I did think about y’all this time. That’s why I’m sharing, but still Erin has some good thoughts here on the writing process, that is applicable for authors and bloggers alike.
  • Last but not least, Andi of Andilit gives a shout-out for reading in the bathroom. As a fan of Reader’s Digest when I was growing up, I am with Andi in this. Go let her know what you think.

So there you go: Some thoughts from her. I’ll be back tomorrow with Flashback Friday and then Sunday, The Sunday Salon. See y’all then.

The digital diary of Bryan G. Robinson, once known as Unfinished Person.