During the month of November we will be focusing on Habit 3: Put First Things First. This habit is at the heart of effective self-management. It's the ability to organize our time around the most important things. Our time can be spent in one of four quadrants. When we are highly effective, we spend more of our time in Quadrant 2. This is dealing with things that are important, but not urgent. The common practice is for people to spend most of their time managing crises and other people's agendas. These are things in Quadrant 3 and 4 dealing with distractions and waste. Throughout the day, we may spend time in every quadrant, but the key is to spend the majority in Quadrant 2.
There are ways to evaluate the time you spend in each quadrant.
· How much time are you spending in Quadrants 3 and 4? What price are you paying to stay there?
· What are the chronic Q3 and Q4 activities in your home or workplace?
· How long have you been there in those quadrants?
· What are the consequences of staying there?
· Pick a recent Q1 crisis. Plan how to avoid it in the future.
· Identify a key Q2 activity you are not currently doing. Schedule time this week to do it.
· Identify activities in Q3 that you can delegate or eliminate.
· Identify activities in Q4 and eliminate them from your schedule.
Many people spend a great deal of time in Quadrant 3, urgent but not important, thinking they are in Quadrant 1. They spend most of their time reacting to things that are urgent, assuming they are also important. This is the common practice of "trying to do it all."
Scheduling and planning your week is the key to Habit 3: Put First Things First. Take 30 minutes each week to reflect on what is most important to you within the roles of your life. Maybe your roles are mother, father, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, business owner, financial provider, home
owner, teacher, lawyer, personal trainer, etc. Ask yourself, "What are the one or two most important things I can do in this role this week?" We call these your "Big Rocks." Then simply schedule these Big Rocks to ensure they get done. The important thing to remember is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
Scott P. Knoebel
Scott P. Knoebel