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 🙂 )

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Expert
    Mar 15, 2005 @ 00:06:00

    Thank you Rabab for this great effort and this subject you raise will add value to my personal/bussines life. But I want to add the following contribution:

    As per “Stephen Covey” most people are driven by the concept of urgency. So, we have no real choice over quadrant 1 activity because quadrant 1 operates on us. The real choice is when it comes to quadrant 2 . We can choose to spend time here or not , but quadrant 2 is the key to getting things under control such as (planning,preparation,production cabability, expanding the mind/reading, etc….). Furthermore, The results of properly dedicating ourselves to quardant 2 activity are that we will gain control over what is happening in our lives: we will thereby reduce the time we spend in quardant 1. Time for quardant 2 activity, of course, must come from quardant 3 and 4; minimise or eliminate the time you spend here. Enclosed you will find the :

    Time Matrix – Results

    Q1.Important & Urgent:
    – Stress
    Q2.Important & Not urgent:
    – Vision
    – Perspective
    – Control
    – Balance
    Q3.Not Important & rgent:
    – Out of Control
    – Short term focus
    Q4.Not Important & Not urgent:
    – Responsibility
    – Dependence On Other


  2. AyyA
    Mar 15, 2005 @ 10:00:00

    The Expert
    Thanks dear for your contribution it sure added dimension to the subject; the breakdown of the results in the Time Matrix was done really nice.


  3. mario
    Jul 03, 2006 @ 15:01:00

    Many people try to achieve goals. Most fail. Some strive, work hard and plan for all the details yet they achieve little or nothing at all. Others strive, work hard, plan and achieve huge success. Yet there are a few individuals who do little else than take small steps and seem to achieve a great deal with what seems like effortlessness. What is the difference between these people and which one would you like to be?
    Most members of the human race fall into two categories – those who live in the past and those who live in the future. Most live in the past. Many of these are the people who achieve very little in their lives and are so fearful of the future that they dare not strike out to get anything. They are the under-achievers who hang onto bad episodes in their lives and either relive them time and again or look at new situations as similar potentialities. They say things like “all men are deceivers” or “all women are interested in is money” or “I can’t do it. I tried before and it didn’t work so why bother!”. Due to bad experiences in the past they believe that all future events will turn out the same way if they dare to go after what they want.
    The other type of person lives in the future. This type tends to create more of the things they want in life. They have a vision of where they want to go and exactly how they are going to get there. They work diligently at making concrete plans and they pursue those plans with a persistent ferocious appetite for success. These people are the high achievers – The Richard Branson and Bill Gates of the world. These people have much to teach us about setting and achieving goals.
    However, there is a third type of person who almost goes unnoticed. They are the person who takes life in its stride and yet achieve most of what they want. I am sure you know of such a person in your life that just seems to saunter through life and yet they always come out on top. Or a person who you hear of that has decided to open a shop. You meet them a few months later and they have three shops all doing well! So what makes these people so successful and if they aren’t living in the past and aren’t living in the future where are they living?
    I suppose you guessed it! Whether they are consciously aware of it or not they are living in the present. It is in the ‘living’ present that we have our greatest power. Everything happens in the present. You live your entire life there – even if your mind does not!
    By becoming more aware of the present and by ‘accepting’ it as it is we are much more in control of our emotions and focus. When we live in the past we are fearful of making bad choices and/or getting hurt. We do not wish to recreate the past again! When we live in the future we can also be fearful of what might happen. But even if your future vision is full of power and worthy of working towards many people can, and often do, get stuck there. By constantly reaching for bigger and better goals they fail to enjoy what they have in the moment.
    If you wish to start living a life that is almost effortless begin first by living in the present. Accept your situation the way it is and then you can enjoy what you have. Your focus changes from a memory of what was or a vision of what might be to a realization of what is. You become much more empowered to then see the beauty of life and also look at where you wish to make changes. But to make changes you must first accept the situation as it is. Trying to escape from your present only increases your focus on your problems by creating resistance to what is. Accept your life as it is now. Make no judgement, just accept it and then you will be free of doubt, worry, pain and fear. For you only experience these things when you live outside the ‘moment’. subliminal messages


  4. YourSimplerLife
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 20:15:00

    Without Time management skills things could be a lot more difficult. Setting goals can really simplify things.


  5. fish
    Aug 23, 2006 @ 20:01:00

    Many people know the importance of self confidence and try to boost their own by using many different personal development models. Self confidence to most people is the ability to feel at ease in most situations but low self confidence in many areas may be due to a lack of self esteem. Low self esteem takes a more subtle form that low self confidence. So if you are tired of feeling not good enough, afraid of moving towards your desires and goals, feel that no matter what you do it is just never good enough, then your self esteem could do with a boost.

    Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal – it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn’t like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?

    Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

    As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.

    Ask yourself some serious question:
    Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.

    Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.

    As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don’t. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!

    Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn’t existed!

    Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.

    Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don’t make excuses like “I’m just not good enough” or “I just knew that would happen to me”, analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!

    Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you – people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!

    Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another’s self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.

    If you find yourself feeling self-conscious in any situation focus on the fact that others can tell and many of them will be feeling the same. Be honest. People respond to someone better if they openly say “To tell you the truth I’m a bit nervous” rather than displaying bravo or fake confidence that they can see right through. Their reactions to you, will show your mind at a deep level, that there was actually nothing to be frightened of and everything is great. If someone reacts to this negatively they are just displaying low self esteem and very quickly you will find others noticing this! Really listen to people when they talk to you instead of running through all the negative things that could happen in your head or focusing on your lack of confidence. People respond to someone who is truly with them in the moment..

    Breath deeply and slow down. Don’t rush to do things.

    Stop the negative talk! ‘I’m no good at that’ or “I couldn’t possibly do that” are affirmations that support your lack of self esteem. Instead say “I have never done that before but I am willing to try” or “how best can I do that?”. Which leads us to the last point – the quality of the questions you ask yourself s very important.
    When you ask a question it almost always has a preposition in it. For example, “How did I mess that up?” presumes that something was messed up, a better way of phrasing the question would be “what way can I fix this quickly?”, as this presumes you can and will fix it. Or “How am I ever going to reach my goal?” could be rephrased as “what way will lead me to my goal quicker” presumes that you are going to reach your goal! Get the picture? Change the quality of your questions and your results will change!

    Practise these techniques and watch your self esteem rise day by day. personal development


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