7 Habits in Remaining Effective During This Pandemic Crisis

7 Habits in Remaining Effective During This Pandemic Crisis

7 Habits in remaining effective during this pandemic crisis


We all know there are two types of people in the world, the OPTIMISTIC & the PESSIMISTIC. Where do you fall?

Being stuck in this circuit breaker gives me ample time to reflect on myself for the past weeks. With all the restrictions and changes in the organisation, I am finding it hard to be effective. Hence, I revisited the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to reflect upon what I can do to be better.

Here is a summary of what the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are and how we can put it in play to be effective.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book by Stephen Covey where he shares how we can examine and adjust our character, motives, and how we see the world to change how we behave and how we interact with others.

‘’Your paradigms shape how you interpret the world, and your interpretation governs how you behave; thus, changing the lens we use changes our behaviour.’’ – Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits are split into three different FOCUS.

Theme 1:

FOCUS on internal growth and personal character

Habit 1: Be Proactive 
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind 
Habit 3: Put first things first 

Theme 2

FOCUS on developing interdependence by working with others

Habit 4: Think win-win
Habit 5: Seek first to understand then to be understood 
Habit 6: Synergise 

Theme 3

FOCUS on deepening your habits to improve continuously.

Habit 7: Sharpening the saw 


Habit 1 – Be Proactive

In any situation, we have the choice of being reactive or proactive. If we are reactive, we let our habits and conditionings decide on how we respond to the people and circumstances around us. On the other hand, if we are proactive, we choose how we will react to create the results we want. Simply put, we need to focus more on the circle of influence that is within our sphere of concern.

During the pandemic 

It is crucial for us to be proactive; to be able to be more reliable by being positive and influential to others. At such trying times, there is a lot of negativity in the air. Why not focus on the positive aspect and perspective of things? Look into the silver lining of things. Together, we will be able to influence even more people! Positivity stops you from seeing the micro problem that we fire fight daily. Instead, it helps you to see your future vision.



Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind.

Always have the end in mind before starting any task. Visioning is most important when being effective. We need to know what is the end outcome so we can then understand where we are now and how to work towards our intended outcome. “We can use our imagination to develop a vision of what we want to become and use our conscience to decide what values will guide us” (Covey, 1989).

How we can practice this:

– Dream big and craft out what we want
– Be honest and evaluate our current state
– Design a path that connects both ends
– Pen it down step by step
– Fully commit

During this pandemic

Although the current state seems like a blurry road that does no show the end, we can imagine how the end will look. There have been speculations that this might last until the end of the year. So if it is, prepare your vision for next year. Once this is over, how will it sound like, feel like, look like, smell like? By answering these questions, the vision becomes more apparent. A clearer pen down vision has a higher chance of achievement.

Habit 3 – Put First things First 

For us to be efficient, we need to have the discipline to prioritise our daily activities/tasks. Habit 2 is to set what we want, and habit 3 is to work towards what we want. We need to have the drive to do things that we neglect by acting according to our values rather than our desires or impulses at all times. To manage your tasks, create a management table. Stay committed to it and you can achieve what you want!

Fun fact: Quadrant 2 is the most important as it deals with things that would be useful in the long run. By working on it, you are forward-thinking and working on the roots of the problem gets you to achieve the Pareto Principle of 80% results with 20% time. So create your management table!


During this pandemic

During a crisis, everyone starts to get busy with current conditions and fire fighting actions. Due to the ever-changing environment, there is always a need to keep moving, adapting or changing. But what if there is a way around this when someone already plans for the change? It will definitely look like a lot – having to deal with the current situation and at the same time, working towards the vision. Hence, by writing down all the actions needed to be taken into the four quadrants, we will be able to have a better understanding of what needs to be done immediately and what could wait.

You would realise that a lot of the tasks at hand are things that could wait. Our human brain is wired to think in a linear process where we tend to put all tasks in a drop-down list in our mind. This list then gets completed one after another. Instead, we need to multi-task and use a quadrant concept to be more productive and efficient.

Habit 4 – Think Win-Win 

Think-Win-Win encourages us to have more interdependent relationships. When it comes to interpersonal leadership, the more genuine our character is, the higher our level of proactivity. The more committed we are to Win-Win, the more powerful our influence will be. By doing this, we are focusing on results and not the method, problems and people. When making a decision, practice by getting to know from the other party’s point of view on what they want and what can make both parties achieve that.

During this pandemic

The entire concept is finding for a common good. Not a common goal but common good. The difference is that common goal gets everyone to buy into one idea, put away their benefits and fight for the cause of it. Common good, on the other hand, is to find everyone’s interest and to fit it into the vision and drive everyone to want to achieve that vision. Not for the organisation or leader but for themselves. It is critical if we can show the common good and get everyone’s buy-in quickly to achieve the vision. We can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory as a benchmark to show common good and to understand at which stage the team is at and how to move forward with them.

Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood

This habit encourages us to be open to understand others, the situation before we offer them advice on any matter. We often make a mistake to respond to the problem without fully understanding the issue. Simply practice emphatic listening and you will listen to understand instead of listening to reply.

During this pandemic:

We tend to make grave mistakes at times. We tend to listen only to find pointers for our argument or pointer. It becomes a debate not worth exploring. Over time, the discussion just hangs there as there will never be a dead end. Opinions are neither right nor wrong. This makes it very difficult to have someone to emerge victorious from such arguments. The only way forward is to be able to put our presumptions and assumptions aside and listen to what the person is saying. We need to allow our minds to understand the angle this person is coming from.

If you put yourself in the other’s party shoes, you will be able to see things from his or her perspective, knowing where they are coming from. This will help in creating a more productive environment to address the problem at hand rather than tackling who emerges win from the debate/argument.

Habit 6 – Synergise 

To synergise, you have to first put in place all the first five habits; understand the similarities and differences between the other parties. With this, you will be more likely to produce better results. Synergy allows us to formulate new alternatives and open up to new opportunities.

During this pandemic

As mentioned earlier, we need to learn how to see things on a macro level. We should not itemise the habits and achieve one habit at a time. Instead, we should mix it all up and drink it like a smoothie! Internalise all the five habits, and that will help to show synergy in handling yourself.

Habit 7 – Sharpening The Saw 

To be effective, we need to keep renewing our four critical dimensions (physical, social, mental & spiritual). This also helps with Habit 1 of being proactive. Renewal is the process that empowers us to move along an upward spiral of growth, change and continuous improvement. By sharpening the saw, you are continuously improving yourself professionally and personally.

Fun Fact: by improving on one habit, you synergistically in prove on all the 7 habits!

How we look at the world is dependent on our perception. If we can change the way we look at the world, the world will be a better place.

This particular book has helped me to work on myself during this pandemic situation by renewing myself to be effective.

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