#220 Put First Things First

Habit #3 of Highly Effective People

We’re officially on a roll with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We’ve covered Habit #1: Be Proactive and Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind.

Today? Habit #3: Put First Things First.

Here’s the short story: Stephen Covey tells us that some things matter and other things don’t. Highly Effective People know the difference and they “Put First Things First.”

As Goethe said: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

Covey shares a handy-dandy four-quadrant model to help us get clarity on what’s really important. He organizes activities by Urgency and Importance. So, something can be Important or not and Urgent or not.

In Quadrant I we have things that are both “Urgent and Important.” These are fire drill-like activities. Unfortunately, way too many activities fall into this category. We need to do a better job of reducing the amount of stuff that shows up here or we’ll be constantly stressed and burned out.

In Quadrant II we have things that are NOT Urgent but ARE Important. This is our magic bucket. It’s where our real impact occurs. Unfortunately, most people are spending all their time reacting to stuff all day every day. They don’t spend enough proactive time doing what really matters.

In Quadrant III we have Urgent but Not Important stuff. These are really just interruptions. We want to identify and reduce.

In Quadrant IV we have Not Urgent and Not Important stuff. This is pure time-wasting stuff. Surfing the Internet, checking your phone for notifications every 5 seconds. Spend enough time here and you’ll get fired.


If we want to “Put First Things First” what do we need to do?

Very simple (but not easy): We need to prioritize the Quadrant II activities.

How? Well, here’s one easy way: Go back to Habit #1 of being proactive and go back to +1 #201 of being Creative BEFORE you’re Reactive.

You simply CAN’T check your email (or news feeds or social media notifications) first thing in the morning and expect to be as Effective as you’d like. P E R I O D.

Do you? 😃

Today’s question: What little thing can you do to put first things first today?

Get on that, +1 style!

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