Randy and the Seven Habits

Randy Pausch came up at work, and he wound up giving me good advice years ago, so I added that to the discussion; while it's on my mind, here goes.

His advice boiled down to:

  • look at how you spend your time, and list it out.
  • prioritize that list, based on how much you and your society gets out of it.
  • start at the bottom, and start cutting.
  • actively choose replacements that make future-you a better human being.
  • include a balance of physical, emotional, and intellectual improvements.

It's project management of yourself, your skills, your happiness and your life.  You should be doing things that make you better, instead of things that simply pass the time, with the explicit bit that passing the time is occasionally the best thing you can do for yourself.

Randy religiously recommended Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", and had hundreds of copies in his office to give away to anyone willing to read it.  That said, it's a medium-length read, and the two minute summary might give you a good bit of insight.  Paraphrasing:

  1. Be proactive about what you do with your time, and who you spend your time with.
  2. Know your goals before you start working on them.
  3. Take care of yourself before others; put first things first.
  4. Always try to create situations where everyone wins.
  5. Listen and understand before moving to action.
  6. Good teams are more than the sum of their parts.
  7. "Sharpen the saw".  This was the advice he gave me; actively manage your life.

I'm not a rabid fan of self help books, but as far as doing more with your life?  It was good advice; it let Randy accomplish quite a bit more, and I'd like to think it helped a ton of folks he shared it with.  On my end, it got me to actively recognize time-wasting activities that could be swapped with more productive things that made me at least equally happy; thanks, man.

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