Seven Habits Study Guide/Quick overview of the seven habits
The Seven Habits Quick Sheet 
- Be proactive (take action and be responsible)
- Begin with an end in mind (consciously plan out and visualize your actions)
- First things first (set priorities and carry them out)
- Think win-win (in negotiation, seek solutions that help both yourself and the other person)
- Seek first to understand, then be understood (in communication, listen actively before you talk)
- Synergize (in work, open yourself to others to work effectively in teams)
- Sharpen the Saw (relax, rejuvenate, and revitalize yourself)
Private victory, the path to independence 
Habit 1: Be proactive 
Take action and take responsibility. This is the basis of all further habits and a cornerstone of success. You will influence your life more than anyone else. You have the opportunity to use your free will and hard work to change yourself and your circumstances. You are only a victim if you allow yourself to be; if you are reactive rather than proactive. The emphasis of this habit is to do whatever is in your power to improve your situation. You are the creator, the actor and the doer in your life; get started and "just do it". Since, in a situation, the thing that you can influence and change the most is your response to it - choose your response to any situation and you will find yourself in control. No one can "make" you angry if you decide you don't want to get angry. Don't let life set you up in a bad situation. Have confidence in yourself and believe that you can succeed in anything in life.
In your internal dialogue, replace language such as "I must do X" with "I choose to do X", "I have to" with "I want to", "If only..." with "Let's see about..." etc.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind 
Visualize where you want to go. Before you start something sit down and plan it out. A little planning will usually save you a lot of actual work later. Use your creative forces to create images and plans in your head first, then carry out your plan. The plan is called the first creation; the second creation is formed when you carry out the plan, and its success depends on a well thought out first creation.
|“||It's extremely easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the business of life, the thick of thin things.||”|
Habit 3: Put first things first 
Set priorities. Decide which of your roles and goals are most important, then determine what steps will best achieve those goals. Basically it means doing life with your values in hand. It means defining your idea of success in life from the image you would like to leave in the roles that you assume like (spouse, grandparent, voter, activist, student, employee, manager). The idea is to have these clearly defined and on a piece of paper.
We need to schedule our priorities. We can use the time management matrix to determine where to spend our time.
There are four quadrants where we spend our time:
- Important and Urgent
- Important but not Urgent
- Urgent but not Important
- Not Urgent or Important
To be effective we need to take care of everything in quadrant 1 and then spend as much of our remaining time as possible in quadrant 2. We need to live in quadrants 1 and 2.
Quadrant 1 activities are the things that are important and urgent: emergencies, deadline-driven projects, crises, some meetings, some phone calls. These are the things we cannot and should not ignore. They demand our immediate attention.
Quadrant 2 activities include: all work in each of the 7 habits, maintenance, recreation, self-care, learning, reading, and relationship building. These are the things we don't do because they're never urgent. They're important, but once we finish dealing with the Urgent and Important crises, we often don't want to work in quadrant 2. We get distracted by Urgent things that are not important—quadrant 3 activities. We might want to retreat to the gratifying but wasteful activities of quadrant 4 because we feel like we deserve a break, we don't realize that we are setting ourselves up for more crises in quadrant 1 by ignoring the important activities of quadrant 2.
Public victory, the path to interdependence 
Habit 4: Think win-win 
Many people grow up with a competitive mindset ("I win, you lose"), a beaten-down mindset ("I give up, do what you want to me"), or a mix of these and other mindsets. Each of these has its place. However, for your most valuable family and business interactions, the most mature and effective goal is usually to seek situations which benefit everyone involved.
When you negotiate you should seek to make deals that help everyone. In cases where this is not possible, it is best to have the mindset from the outset that you will walk away from the deal ("win-win or no-deal").
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood 
To influence and help others, you must first actively listen to them and understand their situation and concerns. For example, imagine a doctor who gives a prescription over the telephone without knowing all the necessary information about the patient and their condition. This could be a serious or even fatal error if the patient takes the wrong medicine. In the same way, when giving someone advice we should be quite careful to understand their circumstances well. Even excellent advice can be useless and wasted if it does not apply to the situation of the person receiving it.
It is most effective to listen actively with empathy, consciously trying to understand and to see the world from the other person's perspective. It is also beneficial to listen without judging. Avoid "hearing" through a filter formed by your own worldview, and do not impose your preconceived ideas on what you hear, because doing so will inhibit your efforts to put yourself in the other person's shoes.
Once you have clearly understood the point of view of another person, it is equally important to be understood by them. You need to build the courage to respond to what you've heard and present your own view that takes what the other person has said into account.
Habit 6: Synergize 
This habit deals with teamwork and opening yourself emotionally to work with other people. Optimistic, emotionally-charged individuals who are living out the previous habits can work together in amazing ways and see new paths none of them would have found alone. One plus one is three, or more, when these "third alternatives" appear. This synergy is a bit chaotic but is also fun and stimulating. When you use synergy you are also improving your spiritual, emotional and social side of your life.
The Seventh Habit - Renewal 
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw 
Take time to rejuvenate yourself and help prepare yourself to work better in the future. This often means relaxing, enjoying nature, meditating and praying (Steven Covey is a devout Mormon, as he explains in the book's introduction), reading Scripture or great literature, listening to classical music, and spending time with high-quality relationships.
The purpose of this habit is to regularly exercise the four components which many believe make up the human being: body, mind, heart and spirit.
- Body: Exercise for a sense of well-being.
- Mind: Exercise to sharpen the intellectual abilities.
- Spirit: Exercise with meditations and inner reflections.
- Heart: Exercise care for important relationships.
The fourth category is not an exercise like the others, but rather a commitment to use habits 4, 5 and 6 in everyday life.
Keep positive enthusiasm.