How Covey’s Circle of Influence Can Make You More Productive

Focus on what you can control and don't waste energy on the things you cannot. – Alice Dartnell


How Covey’s Circle of Influence Can Make You More Productive

I have always been a huge fan of the author and businessman, Dr. Stephen Covey’s famous self-development management book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. My first encounter with this book was almost two decades ago when my dad bought me this book at Bangkok Airport when I was just 16 years old! What I learnt from it had a major impact on my life and started me on my journey that has led me to become very organised and productive. Each of the habits mentioned in the book are incredibly powerful. However, often overlooked as a time management tool, Covey’s Circles of Concern and Influence can be applied in a way that makes better use of your time so you can become more focused and productive.

In this blog, I will explain what the Circles of Concern and Influence are and how you can identify what things are in your Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence. I will also explain why people who only concentrate on the things in their Circle of Influence are more productive and effective with their time.

The Circle of Concern vs The Circle of Influence

In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey distinguishes between our Circle of Concern (things we care about but can’t control) and our Circle of Influence (things we care about and can impact).

Your “Circle of Concern” will normally be very large as it includes all those concerns you have in the world, your work and in your life. It includes your health, your family, your finances, the country’s economy, political events and everything else that you are concerned about. Everything you include inside the “Circle of Concern” is something that concerns and matters to you. However, when you look at those things within our Circle of Concern, you quickly realise that you have no control or influence over many of the things in it.

Your Circle of Influence is a smaller circle that sits inside your Circle of Concern. It contains all the things from your Circle of Concern that concern you and that you can do something about. After all, we have no control of the weather, but we can improve our health by exercising more, eating more green stuff and drinking less alcohol. This is why it is important to take time to identify the things in your Circle of Influence within your Circle of Concern.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London Stephen Covey Circle of Concern Influence chalk board now later max lenz

Take time to identify what is in your Circle of Concern and your Circle of Influence

Identifying Things in Your Circle of Influence

So how do you identify what is in your Circle of Concern and what items should be located in your Circle of Influence?  

  1. Make a list of all the things that you are concerned about.
  2. On a large sheet of paper, draw a big circle, this is your Circle of Concern.
  3. Then, on the same sheet of paper draw a smaller circle inside the large Circle of Concern. This new circle is your Circle of Influence.
  4. Take a look at the long list of things you are concerned about and write them down inside the circles on the big sheet of paper.

Put all those things you can do something about inside the small Circle of Influence and all those you can not do anything about inside the Circle of Concern.

Once you have completed this exercise, sit back and make a conscious effort only to concentrate on the items written in your Circle of Influence. This can be a powerful exercise, especially when you feel like things are getting on top of you, you’re worrying or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Often, you will realise that you can influence much more than you thought, or see that you’re worrying about things you can’t control or do anything about, and this will change your attitude and response to them.

Proactive people have much better time management habits and are much more productive than reactive people.

Proactive People are More Productive

Be proactive. Proactivity is, according to Stephen Covey, one of the most important characteristics of successful and personally effective people. Reactive people waste time and energy focusing their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on things like the reactions or other people, what others might think of them, the weather, if flares will ever come back into fashion, and things over which they have little or no control.

However, proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence and take responsibility for their life rather than just watching how things happen. Productive proactive people do not waste their time or energy concerning themselves with things that are not in their Circle of Influence. Instead, they take conscious control of their life and invest their time wisely, concentrating all their effort on things on setting goals towards influencing and improving the things in that Circle of Influence that they can do something about like their health, children, business, and work. Their better time management habits = more productivity.

Identifying what is in your Circle of Influence will enable you to see where your actions can have an impact. Why waste 30-minutes of your day worrying about something you have no control over when you could have invested that time more productively, working on an important project, exercising to improve your health or learning something new.

The key is to focus your energy on those things that you can influence – this will enable you to make effective changes an – you’ll be more effective, others will see you in a positive light and this will increase your feeling of empowerment. 


Alice reading Stephen Covey Seven 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Time to reflect and review

Now you know about the Circle of Concern vs. The Circle of Influence and have identified what is in your Circle of Influence, you need to decide how you are going to apply this knowledge. You might like to invest sometime reflecting on the following questions:

  1. Where are you spending the majority of your time? Is in your Circle of Concern or in your Circle of Influence?
  2. How much time and energy are you wasting every day worrying about the things inside the Circle of Concern that you have no control or influence over? What action can you take to invest this time more productively?
  3. What action can you take to be more proactive and productive dealing with the things you have identified in your Circle of Influence?
  4. What action can you take to become more effective and increase the size of your Circle of Influence?


Further Reading

Poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can hold you up and seriously impacts upon your time management & productivity. Make sure that you include your health in your Circle of Influence. Read my blog Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity to find out why and what steps you can take to increase your focus, concentration and productivity.

Identifying the things in your Circle of Influence and then setting goals to be more proactive dealing with these things is challenging. However, thought is the most powerful force in the universe and our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. The idea precedes the thing. In my article Harnessing the Power of Visualisation to Create Success you can find out more about how you can use visualisation to create success by harnessing the power of your subconscious mind.

Are you stuck in your comfort zone? Read my article, How to Expand Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Your Goals to understand what a comfort zone is and why it is important to step out of your comfort zone in order develop new skills, experience new things and fulfil your true potential.

Do you procrastinate?  Procrastination negatively impacts on your precious time and also creates enormous mental anguish and stress. In  my article, Procrastination: A Brief Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating,  I explore practical solutions to stop you procrastinating so you can improve your time management and productivity. discover why you procrastinate and following my tips and techniques that provide practical solutions to stop procrastinating so you can improve your time management and productivity.


Alice Dartnell London Life Coach Miracle Morning Challenge 2021 Hal Elrod, author

Miracle Morning Challenge

Why have a miracle morning? When looking into the success habits of any successful person in their field, from athletes to entrepreneurs, you will discover that they have a strong morning routine.

A Miracle Morning is going to empower you to:

✔️ Start the day strong, feeling energised and stress-free

✔️ Own your morning, so you don’t just plough straight into your day

✔️ Set intention and clarity about what you want your day to bring you

✔️ Boost productivity and focus

✔️ Have a sense of control

So join the Miracle Morning Challenge to give your morning a makeover!

Book your place now!

Join the Miracle Morning Challenge to give your morning a makeover!


Get Your Complimentary "Productivity Check Up"

Remember, it is always good positive habits that are going to get you success and move you towards your goal not willpower or education or anything like that. It simply is just good daily habits. So, there you have it! Four easy ways to start creating good habits!

They're back! This is the perfect mini coaching call for busy people!  In your complimentary "Productivity Check Up" I will help you find a solution or a tweak to improve how you use your time! 

If you ever feel like you’re lost in your to-do list, you sometimes procrastinate, or there are never enough hours in a day, then this is a MUST for you! 

In this short blast of coaching, you'll get some easy-to-implement solutions to improve your time management and productivity instantly!

Book your complimentary check up spot now, as spaces are limited and filling up quickly!

Get your productivity check up here!

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London Your Complimentary 20-minute Productivity "Check Up"

Have You Ever Thought About 1-2-1 Coaching?
What is 2021 going to bring you? Excited but wanting that extra push and support? Or perhaps you’ve no idea what you want, let alone how you are going to get there!

Coaching helps you get from where you are now, to where you want to be – it’ll give you the skills, tools and knowledge to unlock your potential, reframe your thinking and overcome obstacles to help you reach your goals. In particular, I specialise in goal setting, time management and mindset, empowering you to create a life by design. So if you’re ready to start living a life you love, then let’s chat.

I have just THREE spots available for new clients opening up in February 2021!!!

So, whether you are interested to learn more about how I can help you or you are curious about what coaching is, let’s have a virtual coffee and a friendly chat to see if 1-2-1 coaching is for you!

Let's have a friendly chat about 1-2-1 coaching!

lice Dartnell Life Success Coach London UK miracle consultation friendly chat pink

What My 1-2-1 Clients Are Saying

I initially signed up with Alice to help me with my time management and productivity in my business and everyday life. Alice is a fantastic coach. She is very supportive and kind. I love her honest and straightforward approach. Since working with Alice, I have discovered so many new ways of doing things. She has helped me uncover the root of some of my habitual tendencies and transform them. The amount of care and support she offers is priceless. I highly recommend working with her.   

Oonagh English  - Life Coach and Nutritional Therapist


Let's Work Together

If you are serious about wanting to make life-long changes and positively transform your life, then I would love to hear from you to see how I can support you.

I have helped a range of people on a huge variety of goals – from suffering with confidence loss, to publishing a book, to enabling a change of direction in life, to small business owners struggling with staff – but my main focus is to support the busy professional who is trying to juggle it all.

I can help YOU through my 1-2-1 coaching, group coaching and my bespoke but life changing courses. Let's Work Together. Sounds good? Take a look at my website to find out more!

Let's work together!

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach London UK Time Management button pink

Alice Dartnell Life London Success Coach book Power of Habits Charles Duhigg Success Box Book Club How create positive habit

Success Box is your revolutionary monthly membership personal development book club

Success Box Personal Development Book Club

Success Box is your revolutionary monthly membership book club combining the learning and community you expect from a book club with the empowerment and growth you gain in a group coaching environment. All through the effortlessness of a monthly subscription box. You can find out more about Success Box by clicking HERE.

📚 Take inspired action from reading personal development books (not just reading them for the sake of it)  

📚 Accountability with others to prevent procrastination  

📚 Be introduced to new personal development books that you may not have chosen  

📚  Be confident in their worth as all books are vetted 

📚  Empowering and support with a like-minded, driven, inspiring community  

Are you ready for a life-changing monthly meeting, support and community that will inspire you, challenge you and grow you, all through reading and sharing ideas?

Find out more about Success Box here!

lice Dartnell Life Success Coach London UK miracle consultation friendly chat pink

 Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London Success Box Personal development Book club




What does it take to successfully work from home?

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London How To Work From Home green blue  book kindle cover

Have you ever wondered what does it take to successfully work from home? My latest book is a hands-on guide for everyone working at home. It will show you in easy to read tips how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

In informative, easy to read chapters, you will learn how to set up your own dedicated workspace, select the right office equipment and tips for video calling and conferencing. You will also learn the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries inside the home, managing distractions, avoiding procrastination and learn how to establish a routine that suits your lifestyle.

With many people working from home for the first time, this book is a practical guide to show you how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

On sale for just £2.42 / $2.99!  To purchase your copy click the Amazon button below!

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London Amazon Button UK Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London Amazon Button



Like to Know More?

Please share this blog with others if it has resonated with you! I would also love to hear from you! 

Get in touch via email, Instagram or LinkedIn

      Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London instagram LinkedIn Email Symbol

Let's Stay in Touch!

Like this article? Then why not share it on social media? Also, sign up to stay in touch and to receive useful information and offers to help transform your life. No spamming. No Selling of your data. No bombarding your inbox either. Sign up below! 👇👇👇


This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see

Copyright 2021 Alice Dartnell Limited



This blog is published solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you're in any way concerned about your health.