This episode continues the journey with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit three is to put first things first.
What does putting first things first mean within the context of a principle-centered life? Why do most people miss the most important quadrant of the standard time/planning matrix?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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collective cast number five seven habits quadrant two your tune to the collective cast agents of the collective strive to fight adapt and grow whether facing the evils of the world or those within ourselves we support one another and leave nobody behind [Music] and now here's your host of the collective cast the cryptic chameleon hello everybody this is chris also known as the crypt chameleon welcome fellow members of the collective to the collective cast this is our shared journey to fight adapt and grow throughout all of life i hope that you all are doing great it's good to be back i just actually finished re-watching the neverending story the 30th anniversary edition and it was very very uh awesome to watch that again really brought up some things in my heart and uh i enjoyed it what does that have to do with our topic today well absolutely nothing today we're going to continue to talk about the seven habits of highly effective people and specifically we're going to be discussing the third habit which is first things first things first well and it's important to point out that you do need the previous two habits we've discussed in the previous two episodes in order to incorporate this third habit and i know i'm still struggling with the previous two i have you know been a little bit more proactive but i can't say that i'm quote unquote there yet and i have written down a bunch of traits that i want to work on for myself in terms of character traits in terms of principles that i want to develop in my life and i have an initial like draft of my mission statement uh actually a second draft so it's not perfect but so far i have uh at least started to be proactive uh i've started to look at what i want the future to be what specifically was that habit called uh oh no i can't remember what is the the habit uh oh begin with the end in mind there we go so now that i have the end in mind i have to put first things first what does that mean well first off before we get started a couple questions for you to think about and these came from the book to reflect on and the first is what is one thing you could do on a regular basis to make a positive difference in your personal life so what's something you could do on a regular basis to make a positive difference in your personal life and what one thing in your professional life would also have a positive difference so what is something you could do in your professional life to have a positive difference if you did it every day now take a moment and write those down go ahead and pause the podcast if you need to please actually do it so now that you've done that i hope and if you haven't it's okay you could always go back and do it after the fact one thing to consider is so how often is it that we know something's good for us and we never seem to have the time to do it uh going back to our first habit of being proactive life just seems to happen to us you know it's not like we have control over our situations right well actually according to the first habit we do and going back to the second habit we talked about there being two levels of creation for everything you have a mental creation and you have a physical creation habit three is the physical creation or the second creation of habits one and two so habits one and two are supposed to help me and help all of us to develop what our path is or not necessarily what the path is but where we want to get where do we want to get in the end what type of people do we want to be what type of principles do we want to live our lives as uh or under i'm not sure if either those were correct but that's fine you get what i'm saying so habit three first things first is about putting those principles into action in our everyday lives now the question is how do we go about doing this and the answer is what the book calls effective self-management now i don't personally i have to say i personally always have like kind of a cringy feeling around this uh the the concept of quote-unquote self-management because to me being managed sometimes feels like it can be a negative thing i've had managers in my life who say that they manage by exception meaning it's only when you're not doing your job right that they really are going to bring something to your attention and it's not to say that that's always true you know obviously i've had managers uh give me positive feedback as well but a lot of the world works around management where it's like oh well yeah you're you're doing something wrong here's a course correction and that that's really the extent of what you hear from those types of managers but self-management is a little bit different it's what allows us to achieve the things that we're laying out in the previous two steps so what it says here is to use principles and proactivity from the previous steps to manage oneself to quote or maybe not an exact quote but a kind of a rephrasing of something the book said is doing things we don't want to do is necessary but it only works when we are driven by the purpose of our principles so there are plenty of things that i know i don't like doing in my life there are plenty of aspects of my real work world job that honestly can be misery inducing at times but i can reframe that and i can change the way that i look at it and also i could do something about it if i put my internal principles that i want to develop at work if i use them to get past those obstacles now i know for me me saying this right now i'm thinking myself chris you are such a hypocrite you are now you do not do this and that would be right i don't do this all the time it is very difficult to do but the only way i can do it is if i'm focused on who i want to become from a principal perspective if i just say oh yeah well it would be nice to be this eventually or it would be nice to xyz well there that that's not taking a step toward becoming that i need to plan my time and my days and my weeks as if those things are a real goal for me not just some intangible things so if i want to be generous or i want to be creative or i want to be kind if i want to be honorable if i want to have integrity if i want to be compassionate towards others and empathic or have empathy then i need to do things to encourage those things through myself through my actions in the different roles i have in my life and what does that mean that means planning effectively and effectively using the next generation or as the book calls it the fourth generation of time management time management is a thing that i've tried to wrap my head around a ton of times i've had all sorts of apps i've tried the pomodoro method i have a schedule that i that are a planner that i've used i have um you know a calendar at work i have a calendar for my personal life i have goals that i want to reach but i never seem to reach them and at times i get completely demotivated to reach them so what is it about time management that just doesn't seem to work the answer is that time management if it's based off of just an not an effectiveness but an efficiency standpoint or if it's just based on a simple checklist it doesn't always work and in fact the book talks about as i was mentioning there are four generations of time management and the fourth generation is the one that the book introduces so uh the first generation of time management are notes and checklists what needs to be done that's all that it really covers i need to get these things done on this list now the second generation is about calendaring and using appointment books so scheduling those events or activities in the future so looking ahead a little bit so it isn't just a massive message wow massive list of stuff that i have to get done it's also now i could put that on a calendar i could choose places for things to get done and if i know i have other things to get done well then i can you know shift other stuff around that existing priority the third generation of time management is goal setting or prioritization so planning or scheduling how to most efficiently meet goals and that can be short-term medium-term or long-term goals but here's the thing with that efficiency is not necessarily effectiveness and here's why i say that the fact that you could maybe do a job efficiently as quickly as possible does not necessarily mean that that job is being done correctly i could efficiently train somebody in my job i could do it efficiently i could do it quickly you know i could say here's the material read it have fun and that would be efficient it would be fast but it wouldn't actually be effective because a lot of people don't learn by reading and the stuff that i train to happens to be extremely complex and so if you just give somebody a book or a training manual chances are that's not going to be enough to understand something that is complex so what's the fourth generation of time management what makes the the way that the seven habits of highly effective people uh goes about this what what makes that so special well the thing that makes it special is that it focuses on preserving relationships and accomplishing results aligned with principles so instead of it being about what what's the most efficient way i can get things done well efficiency could mean hurting people i could be efficient at my job at the cost of inconveniencing others i could be efficient in my family life at the cost of hurting my relationship with my son i could be efficient at a lot of things but i need to keep my principles at the center of prioritizing my tasks and goals not necessarily just the underlying you know desire to get stuff done but the reason behind it and then choosing the tasks that most align with those principles choosing the tasks that help to develop a future that i'm not just mindlessly doing tasks or mindlessly doing things that aren't accomplishing tasks like staring at youtube for several hours so how does that prioritization around principles work well this is where the book comes into showing us the standard time matrix and the book talks about being quadrant two focused quadrant two focused or quadrant ii now what do we mean by quadrants here well if you've ever seen a time matrix there are four boxes and there's a sliding scale between these boxes there are things that are urgent and there are things that are important so the top left quadrant quadrant one are things that are both urgent and important quadrant two which is on the right side are things that are important but not urgent quadrant three on the lower left side are items that are urgent but not important a quadrant four in in the lower right hand corner is things that are important neither important nor urgent so absolute bottom of the barrel there's nothing really pressing about these tasks in our world today the largest focus tends to be on the left-hand side of these four quadrants anything that is urgent so i know for me at work a lot of my time is done on or is spent rather on things that are urgent and important oh this emergency came up you need to we need to get this taken care of oh this wasn't planned for this needs to be taken care of um remember this thing is tomorrow you have to have this presentation ready you need to do this you need to do that and this has to be done now the world of business is now and if it's not urgent and important it might be urgent and not important so for example somebody needs to plan that meeting somebody needs to schedule this this has to be done it has to be done yesterday do it now do it now do it now and so when people focus in quadrants one and three they inevitably will end up in quadrant four because when you stay in quadrants 1 and 3 like most of us do like i know i do a lot of times then you get this wonderful factor called burnout burnout is when there's so much time spent on getting things done and getting things done and getting things done and getting things done that there's no energy to plan for the future there's no energy to think about the big picture and so what do people do when people get burned out they want to rest and relax so they go to quadrant four and they watch youtube videos and they distract themselves i know i am a big person with distracting myself from stuff i really don't feel like doing at times and so the the world tends to focus in quadrants one and three and then when burnout gets hit they head to quadrant four if they live in quadrant four they don't get anything done which means they usually lose their jobs so what quadrant are we missing here we're missing quadrant two quadrant two are the items that are important but not urgent so self-development is never urgent to a business and it doesn't always necessarily feel like it's urgent uh to either ourselves or people around us sometimes if i want to develop myself we'll do that on your own time you know that's that is that is something that you know i need to take responsibility for and it it it's not that important well but it is important it's just not urgent what about planning for the year what about planning for um how could we be more effective not efficient but effective in what i'm doing at work how could i maybe schedule training better how could i help to make our customer management system better how can i get the insights i need from other people to assist in doing those things well that's important but it's not urgent what about creating an awesome culture within a business or better yet creating an awesome culture at home what about taking the things i do like this podcast or like my game streaming things that i do for fun yes that aren't urgent at all but what if i want to get better at them what if i want to grow well then i have to take time to force myself to do those things and to plan them and what about my character growth what about fixing those character defects well that's important but it's a long arduous journey it's not urgent i mean certain aspects might be urgent there are certain behaviors that i had to stop in myself nearly immediately and i was able to do that but now it's not urgent i can't fix myself overnight and the problem is if i treat it like it's urgent i'm gonna bash my head against the wall because i'm not making the progress as quickly as i'd like to make it that's so it's important very important but it's not urgent so most of the time when i have household tasks to do when i have work tasks to do it's in the urgent columns and i don't make time for the important but not urgent and that is what the book is getting at that the majority of time should be spent instead in quadrant two where things are important but not urgent because that is where life really happens that is where i can become the person i want to become that is where i can choose based upon my principles what i focus on and how do i do this how do i plan this well i have to plan it based upon the roles that i have in my life and do it on a weekly basis according to the book so for an example my roles at least the ones that i wrote down currently i'm a husband uh i am always going to be a father so i'm never going to get that away from me i have my training roles at work i have my analyst type roles at work i am a podcaster i am a game streamer and i have my own personal development to take care of as well okay so those are the areas of my life that at the beginning of every week i need to sit down and say okay if i am trying to live according to principles what do i need to get done in these areas that will prevent stuff from becoming urgent what can i do proactively to live out the principles i have for my life even if i just pick three things for each of those different roles to accomplish in a week what do i need to do and then at that point i put those three items onto the schedule and the nice thing is okay so let's say i have five rolls five rolls times three different items per roll is 15 things to get accomplished in seven days 15 things that some of them may take some time but 15 things across a seven day period i think most of us including myself can get those onto a calendar and make them happen but the key is making them happen and then there's still plenty of room to deal with things that pop up the biggest and most important thing behind quadrant two or fourth generation planning is that it takes a very important fact into consideration people are more important than things people are more important than things and why does this come across this way well because if i'm creating my priorities in my schedule based upon the principles i want to be living in my life then i'm going to treat people better instead of just treating people as a tool to get a job done the fourth generation of scheduling is different because one it's principle centered if i did what i needed to do in habit two and i did some of the work in habit two i can't say that it's perfect then i know what principles i want to live my life by so i'm taking the time to take those into consideration every week when i'm planning out the schedule two it's conscience directed meaning i have to decide how it is aligned with those principles and does it feel right for me does it feel right that i am considering taking a shortcut in a certain area to get something done is that shortcut okay or is it something that's going to cause harm to others three it defines my unique mission values and goals in my planning if i want to build character in myself then i have to build character by choosing what i'm doing in alignment with the character traits that i want i need to set my goals according to my priorities so if i want to do stuff for self-development like reading the seven habits of highly effective people i need to make time for that if i'm listening to an audiobook that is helping me with self-development i have to make time for that and those are critical critical things four it balances life by identifying roles we all have different jobs in the different roles that we have we all have different tasks that we have to do and the problem is is that yes all of these things are us all of the roles that i have is part of myself well actually is it is it not i'm not sure like but they're roles that i take on they're things that i do so if these are things that i do that i need to do it's good to break them down by roll because then you can prioritize or i can prioritize based upon those roles and make sure they all get handled and lastly it creates additional context by weekly doing the organization rather than day to day because if you're living in the day to day you can only live in the urgent what needs to get done today what needs to get done this second but if you set aside the time to plan out an entire week not to the minute not to the second but to plan the things that are going to have the most significant and effective impact in your life according to the principles and guidelines you want to live then that's going to work hopefully you know it's going to be more effective at least the last part of quadrant 2 mentality is the idea of effective delegation a lot of people shy away from the concept of delegation for multiple reasons one because when delegation has happened to them in the past it hasn't been a good thing and two uh there's the reverse of that which is i don't want to delegate it something might go wrong you know i can't trust anybody to do what i do delegation in an empowered way can be a huge huge benefit to everybody but delegation in an empowered way is not go for delegation all right i want you to go get this do this fetch that you know that's not delegation delegation is okay i'm going to train you on how to do this aspect of my job i'm going to tell you what the expectations are and then i'm going to trust you with it you're going to run with it you're going to own it and you're just going to give me an update as to how it went that's it but i expect that update so that we can discuss you know areas of improvement or discuss whether things seem on track that is effective delegation it's saying to a person no don't do this do that do this do that and i'm gonna spell it out to the letter for you but rather here's the task to be accomplished you can use whatever tools you have use your intelligence here are the boundaries that you need to stay within here's the time that you that i think you might need but what do you think what do you think you might need for time oh all right you think it's going to take a week okay so then let's meet in a few days just to see how you're doing on it that's it it's here are the end goals you can use whatever you want i believe in you so you're empowering somebody by delegating rather than just saying just do this do this thing do this one thing do this do that do this do that it it irks me so much when somebody just says yep i need this done go do it okay but you know so you're telling me to do these little gopher tasks go do this go fetch that this needs to get done that's that needs to get done and that's not an empowered handing down of something versus somebody saying i trust you to be able to do this um here are some suggestions and here are some guidelines on how to make sure that it's done right now go do it and that's a big difference that's empowering a person so empowered delegation helps to stay in quadrant two and yes yes of course we're still going to have quadrant one and quadrant three things that come up that need to get handled urgently it's urgent insurgent but the more planning that i can do in quadrant two the more forward thinking i could do the more creative i can be in quadrant two the less i have to worry about that other stuff because chances are i will have thought of had to deal with it ahead of time before it became urgent so being future centered in some ways is a really really good thing and so third habit what i would recommend is again thinking about what to do in your life your personal life and your professional life if you did it every day and put it on the calendar that would make a huge difference what would that thing be and how can you make sure it happens sit down and list out your roles the different roles in your life and just name one to three tasks that if you got those done this week in those roles it would make a huge difference and not only that but then take those tasks and put them somewhere on your calendar schedule time for it again i've i actually started doing some of this i did list out my goals i have not necessarily put anything on the calendar so i don't want you thinking that i'm just a hypocrite here i'm still learning this stuff too but try that out and if there is something you could delegate to another family member by empowering them or another co-worker or a subordinate if you're a manager then do it but think in quadrant two the important but not urgent and that wraps it up for our topic this week if you like what you're hearing please head over to collectivecast.com and subscribe you can subscribe on the apple podcast store google podcast or pretty much every podcast platform you can subscribe and if you like what you're hearing um i do believe in the value from value model if you're getting something out of this please by all means leave a review uh join up with the collective discord channel i would love to see and meet all of you there uh send feedback feedback collectivecastfeedback gmail.com so again collectivecastfeedback gmail.com is the place to do it and last but not least there's always a donation link in every single episode and on the website at collectivecast.com if you feel like i'm providing value to you and you want to provide a little something to do that uh to help me with the hosting costs and to you know pay for time and talent that i'm giving then i definitely would appreciate it if not i'm still glad to have you as a listener in fact i had somebody that is part of my game stream and regularly participates in my game stream tossed me three dollars uh as a donation for my game stream and i really appreciate it it made my day and it made me feel like i was doing something that gave value to someone's life so with that uh i do want to wrap up this episode of the collective cast thank you for being here thank you for being a member of the collective as we journey together to fight adapt and grow and until next time i hope to see you in the near future take care and keep focused on your goals [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] you