Habit Three; Put First things first / the 7HHEP

“Eighty percent of results flow out of
twenty percent of activities”
The Pareto Principle

Still a Private Victory:
Habit three is the second creation, the physical creation. It’s the fulfillment, the actualization, the natural emergence of habit one and two. It’s the exercise of independent will toward becoming principle centered.
The power of independent will is the common denominator of success; it’s this will to put first things first.
While leadership decides what first things are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment; management is discipline, carrying it out. But it’s not only will power that keeps us in track, it’s the solidity of the goal or the mission statement that strengthens this will to continue to act. It requires independent will, the power to do something when you don’t want to do it, to be a function of your principles rather than a function of the impulse or desire of any given moment. It’s the power to act with integrity to your proactive first creation.

If habit one says that we are the creators, habit two is our first creation, then habit three is our second creation.
The problem with time management is the tools we use to convince ourselves that we are functioning efficiently while in reality all what we are doing is setting a routine that keeps us busy in some areas of our lives while neglecting other areas which are more important in the long run. As a result many of us get turned off by time management programs; it makes us feel too scheduled, too restricted, it sometimes exhausts us to the point that we might neglect everything all together.
How is that?
Let’s see how we manage our time.

The author has defined four generations of time management:
1st generation: Notes and check lists.
2nd generation: Calendars and appointment books.
3rd generation: Prioritization and daily planning.
4th generation: Enhancing relationships and accomplishing results.

The three first generations of time management are practiced by most people who think that they are managing their time efficiently, while the fourth generation of management is practiced wisely by the most effective people.
To understand the above statement let’s examine our time matrix.

Time matrix (the posted picture) :

Quadrant I
Urgent and Important issues
; crisis management style, problem minded people, deadline driven producers.

Quadrant II
Important issues that are Not Urgent; building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long range planning, exercising, maintaining a healthy life style, preventive maintenance, preparations.

Quadrant III
Urgent but Not Important issues; some telephone interruptions, meetings and all other unimportant activities that require immediate action although they are not important in a sense that have to do with results, or to contribute to your mission statement, your values and your high priority goals.

Quadrant IV
Activities which are Neither Urgent Nor Important although they consume a lot of our time.

People who manage their lives with crisis live mostly in Quadrant I.
People who lead irresponsible lives live exclusively in Quadrant III and IV.

Effective people stay out of Quadrant III and IV because urgent or not, they aren’t important. They also shrink Quadrant I down to size by spending more time in Quadrant II.

In my last post I submitted two questions. Now consider how you answered the questions. What Quadrant do they fit in? Are they important? Are they urgent?

As I can see, most of your (serious 😉 ) answers fit into Quadrant II, they are obviously and deeply important, but not urgent, but because they are not urgent you don’t do them.

4th generation management is a misnomer; a challenge is not to manage time but to manage ourselves, not focusing on things and time, rather on relationships of the activities and results. It gives us the tool to move into quadrant II, it enables us to examine our plans according to our principles and mission statements, therefore it affects our daily “to do” lists by simply saying “NO” to certain activities and delegating others. It minimizes the activities that need to be planned in a daily basis, and surly clarifies values and set goals and priorities.

What does it take to say no?
You have to be proactive to work on Quadrant II because Quadrant I and III tend to work on you. To say “YES” to important Quadrant II priorities, you have to learn to say “NO” to other activities. And although it is very hard for some of us to say “NO” at certain times, but slowly adapting this habit would immensely improve our time management skills provided that it is said in a very nice apologetic manner making sure that our relationships are not affected by this action.
To be able to move and stay in Quadrant II, you have to be determined and be fully established in habit one (Be Proactive) as well as in habit two (Begin With the End in Mind). These are the prerequisites of habit three.

Quadrant II tools:
This quadrant is based on focusing on principles within a framework of maintaining a balance between increasing our production (P) and increasing our production capacity (PC);{ (P/PC) balance}, and the criteria used is as follows:

1- Coherence: there is harmony, unity and integrity between your vision and mission, your roles and goals, your priorities and your desires and plans.
2- Balance: keep balance in your life, identify your roles and keep them right in front of you so that you don’t neglect important areas. Success in one area does not compensate for failure in another.
3- Quadrant II focus: organize your life in a weekly basis and then adapt and prioritize in a daily basis. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
4- A”PEOPLE” dimension: a principle-centered person thinks in terms of effectiveness in dealing with people; and as I mentioned to Mosan in the previous post; yes there are some morons that we have to deal with.
5- Flexibility: your planning tool should be your servant, never your master; it should be tailored to your style and your needs.
6- Portability: your organizer should be portable, important data should be within your reach wherever you are.

Many third generation tools can be adapted to encounter all the criteria mentioned above, if you are happy with anyone in particular you can go ahead and develop your own based on the habits mentioned so far, and the author has developed one that can be readily used and I think by now this post is getting too long as it is, therefore, I will get to the details of that in my next post for whoever is interested.

Posted by Hello
PS; This post is a continuation of the last post of 7HHEP.
Your questions, enquiries as well as participation are highly appreciated 🙂 )