First Things First – Guest Post by Bruce Clarke

 This post is provided by Bruce over at Write On!  

Brett’s post, ‘ The 2 Most Productive Things You Can Do‘ got me thinking about my own productivity and time management techniques.

Like most managers, I’ve read countless articles and books on the subject. By far the best I’ve ever read is First Things First, by Stephen R Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R Merrill.

(You may recognise Covey as the author of the popular ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’).

Although written in 1995, most of the concepts covered are equally valid today.

The biggest learning points for me were:

  • The need to have a balanced life, with equal importance given to health & fitness, relationships, career & financial, and personal development
  • The importance of identifying high level goals for each of these areas
  • Try to plan your time and tasks on a weekly basis to ensure attention is being given to what is ‘important’ in your life, rather than what is merely ‘urgent’
  • Sometimes life gets in the way of an ideal balance – for example there may be a health crisis in your family. Or there might be a major project at work. Or you may have an important exam looming. Understandably, these circumstances may lead to a situation where the other areas of your life do not receive adequate attention. Try to get things back on an even keel as quickly as possible.
  • Sometimes you can kill two birds with one stone, by scheduling activities which achieve multiple goals – for example you may have goals to spend more time with your kids, and to improve your fitness by walking three times a week. By scheduling a family walk on the weekend you can achieve both goals at once. Similarly, you can lose weight and save money by bringing your lunch to work rather than eating junk food.
  • The big take out point – if you work hard every day to climb a ladder, and find after many years that the ladder you’ve climbed was against the wrong wall, you’ll be very disappointed. You should always make sure you are working for a goal that you really feel is important at a basic moral level.

If you’re currently working hard to climb that ladder, do yourself a favour and take the time to read this book, and contemplate whether you are in fact climbing the right ladder.


5 responses to “First Things First – Guest Post by Bruce Clarke

  1. Where is Brett??

  2. On vacation, should just about be back on deck by now.

  3. I am back – fresh and ready to go.

    Bruce, this is a great post. I’ve never read this book by Covey, although I’ve always wanted to. I can recall reading time management stuff like this when I was in college, and thinking it can’t be that hard to keep everything in line. But, now 8 years later, I see all too easily from my own experiences it can be so simple to fall into a rut of one-sided life.

    Great post – thanks for your help while I was out.

  4. Hi.
    Good design, who make it?

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