Put First Things First

Steven Covey’s Habit 3 in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is Put First Things First. This  is known as the habit of personal management. When he talks about first things, he’s talking about doing the things that help us achieve the principle-centered purpose expressed in our mission statement. In other words, spend time on the truly important things in life and do the things that make a difference in accomplishing your goals.

How do you spend your time? Do you waste time and energy doing things that are not important or won’t make a difference? A question to ask yourself is, Where will I spend the least amount of time, energy and resources to get the greatest amount of return?

Covey developed a 4 quadrant model which is referred to as the Time Management Matrix and he says first things are always important and sometimes urgent.  An important activity is something you find valuable-if it contributes to your mission, values, and high-priority goals. Urgent is an activity that you or others feel needs immediate attention.

The best use of our time focuses on the two top quadrants, Quadrants I and II, which emphasize importance. The bottom two quadrants, Quadrants III and IV, are not important activities. Effective people stay out of these two quadrants. They spend as little time as possible in Quadrant I, since they are urgent activities, and more time in Quadrant II. Quadrant II is important but not urgent and is the heart of effective time management. Quadrant II includes time spent in growth, planning, preparation, exercise, and relationships. The result of spending time in Quadrant II is happiness.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t spend enough time in Quadrant II. Were moving in and out of the other three quadrants distracting ourselves and never accomplishing what we need to.  Take a look at where you spend most of your time. Learn to say “no” to yourself if it compromises fulfilling your vision. Put First Things First.

Have an awesome day!

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