In this post I will share some insights I’ve learnt from reading about Habit 3: Put First Things First in the book The 7 Habits o Highly Effective People, by Dr. Steven Covey.
What does it mean to put first things first?
Putting first things first means prioritizing activities that will lead you closer to your goal over other activities.
Activities, when viewed in terms of urgency and importance can be classified into 4 types
Quadrant 1 – urgent and important activity
Quadrant 2 – not urgent but important
Quadrant 3 – urgent but not important
Quadrant 4 – not urgent and not important
Effective people prioritize quadrant 1 and quadrant 2 activities over quadrant 3 and 4 ones.
A good key to effective time management is plan what activities one will accomplish on a weekly basis, based on one’s personal mission, roles and goals.
Simply having a task list is not good enough as then one could end up doing just the easy activities as opposed to the important ones.
Also, simply having a daily plan is not good enough because certain activities would be most conveniently done on certain days of the week.
Also, simply prioritizing activities isn’t good enough unless it is tied to one’s personal mission, roles and goals. Making tasks tied to one’s personal mission is a key to inner strength which would make a person committed to the task at hand, and the ability to resist temptation to do things that may be pleasing on he surface, but harmful to one’s goals.
A good way to free up time to do important things is to delegate activities to other people. Activities that are not very important should be delegated to others.
When delegating activities to others, it’s best to specify more of results desired than the procedure they will take to accomplish the results. Give them freedom to be creative in meeting goals. Of course, if there are any known pitfalls, let the person know up front.
That’s all for now. Till next time.