7 Habits: Habit3 First Things First

First Things First – Managing your resources for the Highest & Best Use

While the 1st habit is convincing me that I am the one in charge of my life, Habit 2 tells me that the creation of change starts in the mind. Habit 3 is about creating a change in my reality.

Leadership and Management need to go hand in hand to create the change. Effective management will ensure I carry out my tasks based on the First Things First Rule, while leadership decides what are the first things.

Adding on, at a personal level, these factors come into play when carrying out the tasks:

  • Emotional Control: Humans are mostly emotionally driven – We are bound to have Ups and Downs; How I deal with them will shape my outcome in life.
  • Discipline: The essence of timely and accurate execution of tasks.
  • Will: The undaunting, never-give-up spirit; Often, the miracle worker behind a success story, triumph, or victory.

Time Management – There’s no such thing!

There’s no such thing call time management because time can never be controlled. It cannot be saved and to be used later. It can’t be stopped. Everyone will only have 24hrs a day – 86400seconds daily. No more no less. Every moment is a second spent.

But for easy reference people coined it as Time Management. Self Management would have been the more appropriate term in fact. In the book, Stephen refers to the essence of time management as to organize and execute around priorities.

I am guessing the term Time Management is more popular because it is the solution to the number 1 excuse(reason) that people give for their inability to carry out a task: “I don’t have the time…”

First Things First is about executing tasks based on how I organize and prioritize them according to their importance and urgency to me.

Time Management Activities Matrix
Time Management Activities Matrix based on Importance and Urgency

Quadrant 2 is where I shall spend most of my time. It will require more initiatives and pro-activity due to the nature of non-urgency in which people may tend to overlook when compared to urgent tasks. However, it is here where we can improve our lives.

I must learn to avoid, mitigate, outsource, or outright reject activities from Quadrant 3 & 4 as they are not important regardless of urgency. The art of saying “No” would be highly beneficial when engaging in these activities. However, do note that taking a break for a longer journey ahead is consider a Quadrant 2 activity.

Quadrant 1 would be the “No choice…” activities – Important matters that require immediate attention. This is usually a stressful area that may result in burnout or fatigue that people just want to escape and detach themselves to do some “relaxing” Quadrant 4 activities.

4 Keys to Weekly Effective Quadrant2 Living

  1. Identifying My Roles: I must first understand the key roles that I play in my life as the roles will define what my goals are – As an Individual? Spouse? Parent? Child? Worker? Colleague? etc…
  2. Selecting My Goals: After listing all my goals, it’s time to prioritize! Choosing 1 or 2 important goals from each key role to accomplish within the week.
  3. Scheduling My Goals: There is a time for everything, but not everything at the same time. Humans tend to perform well when we are bound by a deadline. So plan when should I carry out my task and when I should have finished.
  4. Daily Flexible Adapting: There are bound to be unforeseen circumstances. But each day, I must keep an open mind to review, reflect, and adjust accordingly.

If somehow I am unable to organize and prioritize around my priorities, I must ask myself is it:

  1. My inability to prioritize?
  2. My inability or lack of desire to organize those priorities?
  3. Or the lack of discipline to execute according to the priorities set?

My Other Pointers for Habit3

My ABCD to Performance (Carrying out Actions)

Attitude: I am responsible for the results I get in my life. My attitude determines my approach and thus shapes how I respond.
Belief: I must believe that I can do it. For belief is my support pillar especially when the situation seems impossible.
Courage: The fighting spirit to get past my fear and just do it anyway. It may not be good enough, but I’ll be better as long as I don’t give up.
Desire: If I want something bad enough, I will have the will and motivation to get it.

Recommended Reading

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