Part 4 of a series about Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
As we have gone through the first two habits, Stephen Covey has used the example of a computer programmer. The first habit, ‘Be Proactive’, reminds us that we are the programmer of our life. We are in complete control of how we respond to the circumstances of our life. ‘Begin With the End In Mind’ is the second habit and tells us to write the program, to make a plan for who we are going to be and where we want to go in life. We have to write the program. The third habit continues this example by showing us that the next step is to run the program, to ‘Put First Things First’. We can’t just come up with a plan – we actually have to do the plan.
*ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEENS*The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
The author explains something that I had never thought of before. Many books tell us that we need to be more efficient with our time management, and I have seen this to be true in my own life. Learning about and using The Pomodoro time management technique has made a huge difference in my daily life. However, this habit of ‘Putting First Things First, is not only about time management and being more efficient. Covey says that people are most important, more important than other things in our life. Time management drives us to be efficient. Do you try to be efficient with your relationships? That is ridiculous – we don’t try to be efficient when dealing with loved ones, we spend time with them and deal with conflict and laugh and talk and live life together. This is not ‘efficient’. We want effectiveness with people and efficiency with the other things. Breaking up with your girlfriend over Facebook is certainly efficient, but rarely effective. Well, it’s effective in letting everyone know that you are a moron… By focusing on the most important ‘first’ things in our life we can weed out the less important things. The steps that Covey recommends are:
Make a list of the 5-6 things that are most important in your life and prioritize the list
My answers are: Spiritual Life Relationship with family and friends Academic Work Rock Climbing – relationships, physical strength and health, discipline Teens Got Cents website
Answer two questions
What activity, if done with excellence and consistency, would produce incredible results in your life? What activity, if done with excellence and consistency, would produce amazing results in your career? My answers are: Witnessing to others. This would help me become more at ease in sharing my faith with those who want to hear. Rock Climbing (using this because I see it as work oriented for this stage in my life) Work to my max/to muscle failure every time I am in the gym.
Time Management Matrix
The time management matrix is a visual way to prioritize your goals, and this in turn leads to managing your time wisely (hopefully). This square helps you see that you should be spending your time doing things in quadrant one and two. If you are spending most of your day in quadrants three and four then you are not using your time on the things that you decided were the ‘first things’ in your life. At this stage in my life I couldn’t think of anything to put in the third quadrant but I do tend to waste time in quadrant four
all the time occasionally. From what I have read, it seems that most adults have trouble because they focus too much attention on quadrant three instead of quadrant two. I think that I probably neglect quadrant two because of wasting time in quadrant four. Here is my chart:
So, if you list out your ‘first things’ and then place those things on the time management matrix you will be well on your way. What are your first things? What distractions are most likely to pull you away from quadrant one and two?
Check out the rest of the series!
#1 Be Proactive
#3 Put First Things First