You will all be familiar with the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People a "framework for personal effectiveness" no less.
Recently I've spotted that people I have worked with or met over the years have all shared similar 'habits' So I've decided to write The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People I Know.
Some of these people are Graphic Designers. Some of them have absolutely nothing to do with Advertising or Marketing. Some of them are friends, some of them I have never met but have followed closely enough to be able to add them to this list.
By highly effective I really mean successful. 'Successful' is a loaded term. In this post I shall use the word liberally, as I see fit. 'Successful' is entirely determined by me. Successful might, but does not exclusively, mean being rich or being at the top of your profession. It also might mean being, in my opinion, a brilliant Dad or a brilliant Mum or just being a jolly good egg.
The kind of person you look at and think, 'I wish I was more like that'.
As Tarik points out in this brilliant and introspective post it's very easy to "fall in with the wrong crowd". It's just as easy to surround yourself with successful people and pick up some good 'habits'. The older I get the more I realise how often success is not an accident. It's frightening how early on it is determined and how easy it is to replicate.
And now on with the post.
Habit 1: Be Early: Principles of Personal Time Management
There's no getting away from this, the evidence is everywhere. If you want to be succesfull you need to be earlier.
Successful people get up early. They start work early. You could do that.
They arrive early. They realise that being late isn't OK. They realsie that the old adage "it won't matter if we're 5 minutes late, if they like the work they won't remember that" just isn't true. People remember if you're late.
But they also start stuff early. It's so much easier to finish a project if you've started early. That's a basic truth you're taught at school, but it's still very true.
Habit 2: Never Be Faux Busy: Principles of Personal Awareness
I used to work at a place where we had an account manager who started every sentnece with "I'm soo busy..." whether she was busy or not. You know the type. We use to call this faux busy. As in "I'm faux busy".
Everyone is busy. Everyone. Everyone has their own personal definition of busy. You're busy is different to Barack Obama's busy, but it's still busy. Succesful people have the humility to realise and respect other peoples busy and so never complain about being busy. They don't waste precious time flapping around claiming to be faux busy.
The busiest people I know can always find time for me. But then maybe that's because they've started stuff earlier...
Habit 3: Know When To Say No: Principles of Integrity & Execution
Saying No is one of the powerful tools you have. You should try it. Successful people don't say yes to everything. They don't go to every meeting. They don't take on every project. They pick and choose carefully. And if it's looks duff, they say No. Not maybe, but No.
If you've ever said No to a client, for the right reasons, you'll know that the relationship almost always benefits.
Habit 4: Be Generous: Principles of Mutual Benefit
Successful people are generous with time, money, trust and everything else. They know that they'll reap the rewards of what the give away. They're not afraid to share and they're not scared of trusting others. They don't micro manage. They trust other people to do a good job.
When you do that, you'll generally find that other people can be trusted to do a good job.
Habit 5: Learn To Compartmentalise: Principles of Mulitple Tasks
Politicians talk about this a lot. Compartmentalising means that you can leave a stressful job behind and not take it out on the kids. It means you can enjoy the weekend. It means you can be angrily terse with a courier who has fucked up and then charmingly loquacious in an employee review.
I was once advised that if ever I was having a bad day at work, when I left I should visualise a big heavy door closing and then locking behind me. It won't open again until I get back to work the next morning. You should try that.
Habit 6: Write Often and Write Well: Principles of Creative Writing
Odd but true, all successful people can write well. And I don't (just) mean blogs. I mean proper writing. There was an interview with Paddy Ashdown in the FT t'other day. In that he mentioned that he'd always written. Even when he was younger he used to jot stuff down on bits of random paper. Now he writes at airports - everywhere.
Writing is part of being able to articulate a point of view. Do you write?
Habit 7: Take Lots of Time Off: Principles of a Balanced Life
There was an article in The Economist a while back about how the best US presidents worked the least hours. (Bush used to to take loads of holidays, but he increased his tally by always working very long days.) Obama doesn't start work until the kids have gone to school.
As I've mentioned many times before the reason successful people can do more stuff is exactly the reason they are successful. They are better at getting stuff done. They make the best use of their time. They don't waste a minute. They know that an hour off is as important as an hour working. Successful people go on holiday. You should do that.