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First Things First by Steven Covey

           

Ideas useful in testing the adequacy of First Things First

What are the most important things in your life? Do they get as much care, emphasis, and time as you'd like to give them? Far from the traditional "be-more-efficient" time-management book with shortcut techniques, "First Things First" shows you how to look at your use of time totally differently. Using this book will help you create balance between your personal and professional responsibilities by putting first things first and acting on them. Covey teaches an organizing process that helps you categorize tasks so you focus on what is important, not merely what is urgent. First you divide tasks into these quadrants: Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects) Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships) Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters) Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters)

Most people spend most of their time in quadrants 1 and 3, while quadrant 2 is where quality happens. "Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things," says Covey. He points you toward the real human needs--"to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy"--and how to balance your time to achieve a meaningful life, not just get things done. "--Joan Price"

  • First-things first
    • By Stephen Covey

      A principle-centered approach to time-life management

      To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy

    • Introduction
      • What are the first things in your life?
        • The three of four things that matter most
      • Control of our lives
        • Principles are in control
          • Principle centered approach
      • Overview of the sections
    • The clock and the compass
      • How many people on their deathbed wish they’d spent more time at the office?
        • The clock and the compass
          • Clock (What we do with and how manage our time)
          • Compass
          • A gap between our clock and compass
        • Wake up calls
        • The three generations of time management
          • See appendix B
        • The strengths and weaknesses of each generation
          • Paradigms
          • See chart on page 30
        • What you see is what you get
          • Understanding the underlying paradigms
          • Need to change our paradigm
          • See -> Do -> Get -> See … cycle
        • The need for the fourth generation
          • Create quality of life results
      • The urgency addiction
        • Introduction
          • What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results on you personal life?
          • What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results on you professional or work life?
        • Urgency
          • See urgency index on page 34
          • See scoring
          • My score was 29 (middle category)
        • The urgency addiction
          • The urgency addiction a self-destructive behavior that temporarily fills void created by unmet needs
          • Time management tools and approaches often feed the addiction
        • Importance
          • Many important things that … don’t tend to act upon us or press us
          • We must act on them
          • Time management matrix
          • Review last week activities relative to the quadrants
          • How to distinguish between important and not important
          • Questions from beginning of chapter
        • The importance paradigm
          • Identify the feelings associated with the different paradigms
        • Questions people ask about the matrix
          • Realities
          • Qs
        • On the far side of complexity
          • Come back to this later
      • To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy
        • What are “first things” and how do we put them first in our lives?
          • The fulfillment of the four human needs and capacities
          • The reality of “true north” principles
            • As “important” as the needs are to fulfill, is the way we seek to fulfill them
          • The potentiality of the four human endowments
        • The humility of principles
          • Out of the paradigm that principles exist comes a sense of humility
          • We’re not in control of our lives, principles are.
          • We cease trying to be a law unto ourselves
          • We cultivate attitudes of teachability, habits of continual learning
          • We become involved in an ongoing quest to understand and live in harmony with the Laws of Life
          • We don’t get caught up in the arrogance of values that blinds us to self-awareness and conscience
          • Our security is not based on the illusion of comparative thinking
          • Our security comes from our own integrity to true north
          • When we fail or make a mistake or hit a principle head-on, we say, “What can I learn from this?”
          • Humility is the mother of all virtues
        • Moving into the fourth generation
          • What we already know
          • Frustration of the gap between the compass and the clock
          • People want
          • Traditional time management
          • The power to create quality of life
    • The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
      • Introduction
        • Introduce the Quadrant II organizing process
          • 30 minute weekly process and tool
          • Empower you to create quality of life based on
        • Address questions such as:
        • First time through the process
        • Each step in depth
          • Topics that will be discussed
          • Specific suggestions
        • Key to the quality of life is in the compass
          • It’s in the choices we make every day
      • Quadrant II organizing: the process of putting first things first
        • Introduction
          • The gardener metaphor
          • This chapter describes the gardening process
          • The Quadrant II process will produce significant results
          • System is not a “magic tool”
        • The Weekly Worksheet
          • The week creates context
        • Step one: Connect with your vision and mission
          • Consider the big picture
          • The key to this connection lies in the clarity of your vision around such questions as
          • A written mission or creed statement
          • Clarity on these issues
          • See chapter 5
          • For now
          • Consider the impact a personal mission statement could have for you by asking yourself the following questions
          • If you have a mission statement
          • If you don’t have a mission statement
        • Step two: Identify your roles
          • Roles represent responsibilities, relationships, and areas of contribution
          • Succeeding in one and failing in another
          • Roles grow out of a mission statement
          • Balance among roles
          • See chapter 6 for an in-depth discussion
          • For now
          • Gives a sense of wholeness of quality of live
          • Sharpen the saw (a foundational role)
          • All of these roles are not distinct “departments” of life
          • Write roles on worksheet
          • Now consider these questions
        • Step three: Select quadrant II goals in each role
          • With your framework identified, ask yourself
          • Consult the wisdom of your heart as well as your mind
          • What do you feel would make a significant difference in each role?
          • What about your role as a spouse? As a friend? As a parent? An employee?
          • As you consider the most important activities in each role, begin to use your compass instead of your clock
          • Listen to your conscience
          • Focus on importance rather than urgency
          • Examples
          • For the time being, limit yourself to the one or two goals that are most important
          • Don’t necessarily need to set goals in each role each week
          • In chapter 7 we’ll look at how you can use your endowments to make those choices and to set and achieve principle-based goals that create quality-of-life results
          • Write your goals in the “goals” area or on the weekly worksheet
          • If you’ve considered carefully, your goals will represent will represent those activities that you feel are truly important to fulfillment in your roles
          • No ask yourself these questions
        • Step four: Create a decision-making framework for the week
          • The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities
          • Quadrant II goals are like the “big rocks”
          • Weekly worksheet
          • As you invest time in Quadrant II
          • Don’t overschedule
          • Expect the unexpected
          • The objective is to create the framework in which quality decisions based on importance can be made on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis
          • If you’re working on your week now, plan your other key activities around your Quadrant II goals and schedule them as appointments or daily priorities
          • Consider the value of such weekly framework by asking yourself the following questions
          • See chapter 8 for three “operating perspectives” we gain as we move from the daily to the weekly focus
        • Step five: Exercise integrity in the moment
          • With important Quadrant II goals in place for the week
          • The daily task is to keep first things first while navigating through the unexpected opportunities and challenges of the day
          • Exercising integrity or integratedness means translating the mission to the moment with peace and confidence
          • Three additional things to do at the beginning of the day that will enhance your ability to put first things first
          • See chapter 9
        • Step six: Evaluate
          • At the end of the week — before you review your mission statement to begin organizing the next week — pause to ask questions such as:
          • See chapter 10
        • If you were able to invest that much more time in Quadrant II, what difference would it make in the quality of your personal and professional life>
        • The paradigm and the process
          • The paradigm of importance
          • The process of implementing it
      • In depth
        • The passion of vision
          • Introduction
          • Vision that transforms and transcends
          • Creating and living an empowering mission statement
          • An exercise of creative imagination (tribute)
          • Getting into our deep inner life
          • Characteristics of empowering mission statements
          • From the mission to the moment
          • A legacy of vision
          • • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the passion of vision
        • The balance of roles
          • Introduction
          • What is balance?
          • Creating synergy among goals
          • Three paradigms that nurture balance
          • Quadrant II organizing nurtures balance
          • Balance leads to abundance
          • • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the balance of roles
        • The power of goals
          • Two areas of pain
          • Using our four human endowments
          • How to set and achieve principle-based goals
          • Characteristics of effective weekly goals
          • Confidence and courage
          • • Quadrant II ideas to nurture the power of goals
        • The perspective of the week
          • Introduction
          • Three operating perspectives
          • The quality of life difference
          • • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the perspective of the week
        • Integrity in the moment of choice
          • Introduction
          • The moment of choice
          • The principle-centered choice
          • How can I implement that choice
          • Educating the heart
          • The results of living by conscience
          • • Quadrant II goals to cultivate integrity in the moment of choice
        • Learning from living
          • Introduction
          • Evaluation: closing the loop
          • How to evaluate your week
          • The week as part of a greater whole
          • The power of the process
          • There is an even richer experience ahead
    • The synergy of interdependence
      • Introduction
        • How powerfully does your relationships with other people affect your time and the quality of your life
          • How much time spent …
          • How much of the potential … remains untapped
        • Selling the 4th generation
          • Transformational not transactional
        • Section preview
          • Interdependent nature of life
          • Character & competence affect our ability to work with people in every dimension
          • Creating synergy with others
          • Creating a common compass
          • Empowerment
      • The interdependent reality
        • Introduction
          • Think about what you’ve decided are “first things” in your life
          • How may of these involve relationships with other people?
          • Quality of life is by nature interdependent
        • The independent paradigm
          • Some negative thinking
        • The cost of the independent paradigm
          • We rush to live, love, learn, leave a token legacy
        • The interdependent paradigm
          • Introduction
          • All public behavior is ultimately private behavior
          • Life on one indivisible whole
          • Trust grows out of trustworthiness
        • Interdependence redefines “importance”
          • Switching from an independent to an interdependent paradigm creates a whole new way of seeing that powerfully impacts the decision we make concerning the best use of our time— and the results we get
          • Time Management Matrix
          • Is it more important …
          • Fourth generation is a people paradigm
        • True interdependence is transformational
        • The four endowments in interdependence
          • In the interdependent reality, we’re dealing with the space between stimulus and response in others as well as ourselves
          • A discussion
      • First things first together (for the group)
        • The win-win process
          • Think win-win
          • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
          • Synergize
        • The importance of shared vision
        • The passion of shared vision
        • Creating empowering shared mission statements
        • The importance of synergistic roles and goals
        • Creating win-win stewardship agreements
          • Specify desired results
          • Set guidelines
          • Identify available resources
          • Define accountability
          • Determine the consequences
        • But what if we don’t agree
          • Think win-win
          • Seek first to understand
          • Synergize
          • Examples
        • But what if we really disagree?
        • The difference of first things first together
      • Empowerment from the inside out
        • 3
          • Cultivate the conditions of empowerment
          • Feast on the lunch of champions
          • Become a leader/servant
        • All this sounds great, but…
          • What if my boss has never heard of win-win?
          • What if my boss doesn’t want me to be empowered?
          • What if the people I lead don’t want to be empowered?
          • What if the system I work in is win-lose?
          • What if there is a scarcity reality?
          • What if the situation changes?
          • What if I’m afraid to rock the boat?
          • What if the people I work with aren’t trustworthy
          • What happens when someone makes a mistake?
        • The miracle of the chinese bamboo tree
    • The power and peace of principle-centered living
      • Introduction
      • From time management to personal leardership
        • Monday morning at the office
        • Sunday morning with the family
        • Any morning with your team or work group
        • What a difference a day makes
      • The peace of results
        • What is peace
        • First things first nurtures peace
        • The two keystones: contribution and conscience
        • The two stumbling blocks: discouragement and pride
        • Characteristics of principle-centered people
        • Letting go
        • Turning points
        • We must become the change we seek in the world
      • Epilogue
    • Appendices
      • Mission statement workshop
        • Introduction
        • Exercises
          • Visualization
          • Explore needs and capabilities
          • Go on a retreat & answer these questions
          • Timed exercise
          • Journal review
          • Force field analysis
          • Life planning accomplishments
        • Sample mission statements
      • Review of time management literature
        • Approaches
          • Get organized
          • Warrior
          • Goal (achievement)
          • Prioritization and values identification
          • Magical tool (technology)
          • Skills
          • Harmony and natural rhythms
          • Self-awareness
        • Approach summary chart (see page # 330)
        • Time management bibliography
          • Titles (directly involved with time management)
          • Time management related
          • Time/philosophical, sociological, scientific, etc.
      • The wisdom literature
        • Major recurring themes (see page # 343)
        • Wisdom literature bibliography
          • Basic works
          • Collections
          • Commentary and analysis
      • Notes
      • Problem/opportunity index
        • The personal dimension
          • When there’s too much to do and too little time
          • When you’re very busy, but you’re not doing what you feel you ought to
          • When your schedule gets in the way
          • When you feel you’re succeeding in one area of life, but failing in others
          • When you don’t feel “in control” of your life
          • When you feel consumed by crises
          • When you don’t like the results your getting in your life
          • When you don’t feel excited about your life
          • When you don’t feel like you’re growing
          • When you don’t feel peaceful
          • When you feel you don’t have a sense of meaning or purpose in your life
          • Determining what’s most important
          • Doing what’s most important
          • Changing your plans and goals with integrity
          • When you can’t seem to find time to exercise
          • When you feel a sense of imbalance in your life
          • Improving your ability to make effective decisions
          • Becoming more effective
          • How do you know if you’re being effective
          • Setting and achieving meaningful goals
          • When you have trouble with your goals
          • Creating positive change in your life
          • Creating a mission statement
          • Living the values in your mission statement
          • Time management seems too structured and rigid
          • Why traditional time management doesn’t work
          • Choosing an effective planning tool
        • The interpersonal dimension
          • How does the interdependent reality affect your time?
          • Nurturing rich, rewarding relationships with others
          • Nurturing a marriage relationship
          • Nurturing relationships with children
          • Working effectively with others
          • What if “other people” are the problem?
          • When you live or work in a challenging environment
          • Determining what’s important in the family, group, or organization
          • Increasing the effectiveness of the family, group, or organization
    • Suggested Quadrant II goals
      • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the passion of vision
      • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the balance of roles
      • Quadrant II ideas to nurture the power of goals
      • Quadrant II goals to cultivate the perspective of the week
      • Quadrant II goals to cultivate integrity in the moment of choice

 

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker


The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context

 

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