In today’s fast-paced world, time is of the essence, and it can feel like we never have enough of the precious resource. We are constantly juggling multiple priorities and struggling to keep up with everything that demands our attention. However, the truth is that we have the power to decide where our time and energy goes. Habit 3, Put First Things First, is all about taking control of our lives and directing our efforts towards the things that matter most to us.
According to Stephen R. Covey, Habit 3 is the exercise of independent will towards becoming principle-centered. It deals with time management and life management, encompassing our purpose, values, roles, and priorities. Habit 1 reminds us that we are in change and we are the creators of our lives, while Habit 2 is the ability to envision what we can become. By putting first things first, we are organizing and managing our time and events according to our personal priorities established in Habit 2.
It is also important to remember that we cannot be effective if our attention is too divided. We need to prioritize the things that matter most to us so that we can devote our time and energy towards our most cherished people, goals, and ideals. This means being disciplined and focused in our efforts, and not allowing ourselves to be distracted by less important activities.
The first step in putting First Things First is identifying what is most important to us. Take the time to make a complete list of everything you want to accomplish during your day. This could include work, social, and family responsibilities. Once you have a complete list, prioritize them according to their level of importance (A, B, C). Remember that there is a difference between vital and urgent. Focus on the vital tasks first, then tackle the important and optional ones. By putting first things first, we can accomplish all our key goals easily because they will be on top of our schedule, and their chances of being missed are minimized. If we keep our actions grounded in our governing values, we can find peace and satisfaction in our daily accomplishments, whatever our situation.
Habit 3 is an essential habit that allows us to take control of our lives and direct our efforts towards the things that matter most to us. By identifying our top priorities and focusing our energy on them, we can achieve our goals and become who and what we truly hope to be. Remember to put first things first and enjoy the peace and satisfaction that comes with a life lived according to your governing values.