The Hard Truth About Consistency


The seventh habit in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is Sharpen Your Saw. It means complete care of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Stephen Covey encourages regular upkeep to perform at your best. Yet, we let successful people push us to work more. However, a single mother with multiple jobs shows you that this method does not work for everyone.

At the beginning of the day, you try to get your first rush of dopamine. You check your email, look at your notifications, or get your buzz from coffee. But the truth is that you are making it difficult to do hard things. Imagine having ice cream and following it with carrots. You will tell yourself you are full to avoid the bland vegetable taste. It's the same with your approach to work. In most cases, emails and perfectionism are a gateway to being unproductive. Get your critical tasks done first.

If you overextend yourself to be perfect and give fast replies, you have less time for other things. You also feel discouraged if no one notices your effort. Most people don't recognize when you complete tasks well. People notice when you go wrong: a spelling error, the crooked painting, when details are not neat - that's when people notice. So, what's the hard truth about consistency? We make doing the wrong things a habit.

How to Apply Covey’s Advice

Perfection makes you slow. If you begin with light tasks, you'll likely end up dreading your next to-do list item. Slowness and low productivity are a disadvantage because most markets have many competitors. Be consistent in doing challenging jobs first. And update your skills with practice.

Experience allows you to be quick and helps you adapt quickly to changes. This approach to consistency is your strategic advantage.

This article is part of our
Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.