Habit 3: Putting First things First
I’m enjoying 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The chapter for habit 3 is titled “Put First Things First”. It is the natural result of the application of the first two habits (being proactive and having an end goal). In this chapter, Mr. Covey discusses how to best manage yourself. Generally the author’s recommendation is to develop a set of priorities and then to prioritize your tasks based on them. He also discusses stewardship based management, which is the principle of making someone responsible for producing certain results.
Many time management systems are task oriented. This is the natural outgrowth of how tangible objects are produced, and the world throws stuff at us. We are used to receiving items as a list of things to do. As soon as a task has been received, we then give it a mental priority. In my experience, priorities are often time based and then modified based on other rules. Mr. Covey argues that tasks should be prioritized based on values and we should be proactive in prioritizing them, rather then reactive in how they are prioritized.
Management is an art which is hard to master. In high school, most of my mangers were very hands on, and told you step-by-step what they wanted done. Where I work now, I would say we are closer to the stewardship based management discussed in this chapter. Stewardship management is about laying down a set of expectations, some ground rules, and getting the other party started in the right direction. After that is done, you let them go. I believe this is more fulfilling to the person being managed, and more time effective for the manager. In my experience, there is an adjustment required to go from step-by-step managers to stewardship based mangers. Someone who is used to step-by-step mangers doesn’t feel comfortable making the kinds of decisions a person under stewardship based manager needs to make.
Till Next Time-