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-
Chapter 15 of the Scewtape Letters is about churches, churchgoers, and ways Christians can be subverted from being effective in them. If you are not familiar with the Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis, the book is a series of fictitious letters written from the perspective of a demon to his nephew with advice on tempting a certain “patient”. The letters a kind of odd to read since they are written from the opposite perspective on the author and, in my case, the reader.
Lewis has several insights on the importance of Church in the Christian’s daily life, and ways churches are often corrupted. He also addresses the problem of Church hopping. In the letter, Screwtape suggests turning the “patient” into a connoisseur of churches so that he hops between churches with out ever committing to one. Lewis also uses Screwtape to point out that a church should be viewed as more then a club. If we view a church as something we can easily come and go from, then we are easily separated from meaningful relationships and more easily tempted.
I really haven’t done much fun reading for a long time. My grandma stopped by our house on Sunday, and brought along her new Kindle. This got me in the mood to pull mine out and try reading something. The last book I had been reading was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. There were two habits I read about today, being proactive and working toward an end goal. If you aren’t familiar with the book, each chapter covers a particular habit.
The chapter on being proactive was mostly concerned about attitude. Many people attribute their current situation in life to outside forces and live at the whim of their emotions. Stephen argues that we have more control over where we are in life then we realize. If we take a step back and analyze our position we will likely find that we can take actions to change where we are. Also he cited and example of some businessmen who, after being depressed by where their business was and where it was headed, were very encouraged by the actions they could take to improve things. Keep in mind that making plans, but taking no action has about the same value as not making any plans.
I didn’t follow the chapter on working toward an end goal as closely, but the general principle was that we should plan out what we are going to do, based on the end result of what we want. With many things in life we will let them go how they please, without setting any end goals. Stephen says that we should approach situations with goals of how the results should look, rather then just doing things with no end goal in mind.
Till next time-