First Things First
Will Edwards on First Things First
by Stephen R Covey

Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, had a real impact on my life. In fact, I always recommend it to people who attend my Personal Development workshops. When my boss read it, however, his first comment to me was that there was something missing - his problem was that he didn't see how you get from the theory to the practice.

There is no doubt that the principles outlined in the book are fundamental truths, indeed they were even known to Aristotle. He said that there are three basic steps that you must take to get what you want out of life.

Understand that you Can achieve Success
Define what Success represents, for You
Organise you life around its Achievement

And he was absolutely right. Don't under-estimate the value of these simple steps because here you have the ultimate success formula. It is the secret that everyone who has ever been successful, in any field of endeavour, has used.

In his follow-up book, First Things First - the definitive work on Time Management - Stephen Covey explains that most people are driven by the concept of urgency. But to really effect positive change in our lives, we need to reorganise the way we spend our time; based on the concept of importance - not urgency. For most people, the problem is that we are continually doing the urgent stuff, at the expense of the important.

The results of properly dedicating ourselves to the important (what Covey calls 'Quadrant 2') activity are that we will gain control over what is happening in our lives: we will thereby reduce the time we spend being driven by the concept of urgency. Time for 'Quadrant 2' activity, of course, must come from elsewhere. It must come from saying 'no' to some of the urgent stuff!

But how do you go about defining what is Important; and what is it, in your daily life, that you do differently to produce the product you want? These were the questions my boss wanted answered. It was for this reason that I wrote two complementary resources - my book The Deepest Desire of Your Heart; and a time-management tool for applying Quadrant-2 principles - which I call the 4tm Spreadsheet.

In my workshops at Quanta Training, I have been privileged to be able to teach these important principles and I have been encouraged see people re-define their lives as a consequence, and go for what they really want.

My comprehensive E-Book (10,000 words), The Deepest Desire of Your Heart contains all the information and practical exercises I used to transform my own life, and which can be used to transform your life too. The 4tm Spreadsheet is the practical time-management tool my boss wished was available after reading the 7 Habits book.

The 4tm Spreadsheet provides an instant analysis of where your time is being spent in relation to your mission and goals. An extremely useful aid to instantly see if you are spending enough time on your important priorities and whether or not you are getting better at the process of realigning your effort to achieve your purpose.

Using the 4tm Spreadsheet is very simple. It takes no more that one or two minutes at the end of each day to enter an approximation of where you have spent your time that day. It then produces two important graphical representations. Immediately, you can see where you have been spending your time; you can tell whether or not you are getting better at managing your time based on the 7 Habits principles. Not only that, but it also produces a helpful break-down of your most important priorities.

This spreadsheet enables you to get from theory to the practice. It will help you to ensure you focus your efforts on your most important priorities so that you will absolutely get what you want out of life.

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Author's Bio: 

Will Edwards is an accomplished professional with experience in the delivery of both technical & soft-skills training. Presently with Quanta Training where he teaches Personal Development courses.