‘First Things First’ – Stephen Covey’s book on Time Management!

first things first

The book asserts that there are three generations of time management: first-generation ‘task lists’, second-generation ‘personal organizers with deadlines’ and third-generation ‘values clarification as incorporated in the Franklin Planner’. Using the analogy of ‘the clock and the compass,’ the authors assert that identifying primary roles and principles provides a reference when deciding what activities are most important, so that decisions are guided not merely by the ‘clock’ of scheduling but by the ‘compass’ of purpose and values.

In the book, Dr Covey describes a framework for prioritizing work that is aimed at arriving a solution(by focusing on quadrant 2), at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent, but are in fact less important.


Important items are identified by focusing on a few key priorities and roles which will vary from one business situation to another, then identifying small goals for each role each week. One tool for this is a worksheet that lists up to seven key roles, with three weekly goals per role, to be evaluated and scheduled into each week before other appointments occupy all available time with things that seem urgent but are not important. Delegation is presented as an important part of time management. Successful delegation, according to Dr Covey, focuses on results and benchmarks that are to be agreed in advance by two sides, rather than just prescribing detailed work plans.

I think this principle-centered approach on time management will work successfully in any challenging situation at hand: whether it be planning for an approaching family wedding event or preparing for nearing ‘state of recovery’ from current economic recession times.


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