1. Be proactive
Reactive people focus on what they have little control over - the circle of concern - and blame external sources for their behavior. But they can instead be proactive by choosing their responses and behaviors. Proactive people focus on what they can control - what Covey calls the circle of influence.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Create a vision, a mental image of your end goals. Understand what you want and then figure out how to get there based on your unique moral compass so that you have a direction. A mission statement helps define your end goal and keeps you focused.
3. Put first things first
If habit 1 is about taking initiative and responsibility, and habit 2 is about having a vision, habit 3 combines habits 1 and 2 for the vision creation on a day-to-day basis. Determine what your biggest priorities are to get to that vision and focus on them instead of the distractions that creep into your life. Learn to say no to some or even most of those distractions. It's not just about time management. It's about life management. Organize priorities and put first things first.
4. Think win-win
Win-win focuses on collaboration rather than competition. When you think win-win, you seek mutual benefit. You stick to your feelings and express them with courage and empathy but believe there's plenty of benefit to go around. You play both nice guy and tough guy. Empathetic yet confident. Considerate yet brave.
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Listen to understand, not to reply. When you prepare a response through your own life filter, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he finishes speaking. You tend to judge, ask questions, advise, and interpret. These responses are only appropriate when the other person asks for help.
Synergy is creative cooperation that leads to new insights. It's teamwork, open-mindedness, and problem-solving through personal experience for greatest results that can't be achieved alone. It's the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
7. Sharpen the saw
Maintain your life in four main areas: physical (eating, exercise, and sleep), social/emotional (relationships), mental (learning, teaching, reading, and writing), and spiritual (art, prayer, nature, and music, for example). When you self-care in these four areas, you improve your ability to manage your responses in habits 1-6 to create a vibrant, energized outlook.