Good Vibes Book Club

Put First Things First

Welcome! It’s a pleasure for you to join our discussion today. A 10-minute summary of the 3rd habit as narrated in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. In this channel, we discuss a motivational book a week from some of our favorite authors from around the world.

Today we look at ‘Put First Things First’. Priorities! Priorities!

Goeth says, ‘Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least’. And honestly, we all know this but somehow we lose sight of it and we find ourselves consumed by the things which matter least to us with only tiny scraps of time left for the things which actually matter most to us.

In this chapter, Dr. Stephen Covey shares the ‘how’ to ensure we always allow more time to our priorities first.

So leadership is what first things are and putting first things first is a management concept. It is a daily and consistent concept that needs discipline.

So we start by a self introspection to determine what one thing we can do (which we currently are not doing) which when we did would make a tremendous difference in our lives! Ask yourself this question for every role you uphold in your life (e.g. as an employee, and employer, a parent, a community leader etc.)

For me, this one thing boiled down to consistency! I had entertained a habit of having great starts that would lose effect simply because they were not consistently carried through. can you relate?

Do type out in the comment section what your one thing was/is. The more proactive you become will be the more you overcome especially this one thing. Let’s hear it. Put it out there and detach yourself from it already!

We also learn to manage ourselves first! when we become effective managers of ourselves, our discipline will come from within; from our core values.

Our personal mission statement should be reflected in all our actions. We need a burning desire to achieve our personal goals. We need a burning ‘Yes’ inside us that makes it possible for us to say ‘No’ to other things. We need to consistently follow our ‘yes’ even when we don’t feel like it.

We organise and execute according to our personal goals; according to our priorities. And next time a new task comes our way, we have two questions to ask ourselves. 1) Is it urgent? 2) Is is important? And though ‘urgent’ can be relative, ‘important’ should only be the task which is in line with our end destination, our life goals, our core values; our personal mission statement.

This theory is further illustrated into 4 quadrants. The 1st being the Urgent and Important, the 2nd being the Important but not Urgent, the 3rd being the Urgent but not Important and the 4th being neither Urgent nor Important. You can also find further explanation of the 4 quadrants.

Proactive people spend their time mostly on the 2nd quadrant as this is the quadrant where you prevent issues before they become problems and where you plan in advance. In addition, the Pareto Principle explains that 80% of the results are formed by 20% of the action; use your 20% wisely. Learn to say ‘No’ to even the ‘Urgent’ tasks if they are ‘Not Important’. Remember the enemy of the best is the good! Don’t settle for good when you can have best!.

So how do we effectively plan to lead lives in the 2nd quadrant? as follows:

Plan out your schedule for the week

  • Identify your roles
  • Think of one or two or three important results you want to accomplish in each role each week (these are your priorities).
  • Plan out 7 days and complete your schedule around your priorities.

This will also allow you to schedule time on the most effective day of the week as you won’t have the pressure of completing everything in one day. Even Rome wasn’t built in one day!

Remember to think efficiency with things and to think effectiveness with people. Yes, there is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness. You can never control how someone else receives what you have to do or say, thus allow your schedule to accomodate things such as schedule changes, follow up meetings and generally allow more time when dealing with people. The goal is to arrive at desired results.

Lastly, sometimes when dealing with people you may find that delegation will be very useful. When such is the case, you need enough patience to share the guidelines and expectations and then you need to trust the other person enough to allow them to use their own innitiative. Be a stewardship delegator. Be a mentor to others so they also learn from you!

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