Habit 3: Put First Things First

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Habit 3: Put First Things First

  • Personal Management

One’s philosophy of life is not expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices that we make are our responsibility.”

  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Habit 3

  • Put First Things First®
  • Put First Things First®
  • Habit 3

Steven Covey

  • “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Habit 3: See-Do-Get

  • Get
  • Do
  • See
  • I focus on what’s important.
  • I plan my time according to my priorities.
  • I achieve my goals.

Key Questions

  • Which activities support what matters most to me?
  • How do I stay focused on what matters most?
  • Do I participate/do activities that confirm my answers? Am I credible to myself?


  • Habit 3 (Put First Things First) is the “doing” of Habit 1 (Be Proactive) & Habit 2 (Begin with the End in Mind).
    • Habit 1 – “I have ultimate power over my own destiny.”
    • Habit 2 – “What do I want to achieve?”

Why is setting priorities important?

  • Ability to make and keep commitments.
  • Independent will – the ability to make choices and act accordingly.
  • Effective self-management requires the ability to organize and execute around priorities.
  • Walk the talk – keep commitment to yourself.

Stages of Personal Management

  • Stage 1 – “to do” lists
  • Stage 2 – calendar, appointment book
  • Stage 3 – setting short, intermediate and long term goals
  • Stage 4 – focus on coherence and getting results


  • “We get so caught up in the doing that we don’t stop to ask what really needs to be done.”
  • How do you spend your time?
  • How would you like to spend most of your time?

Criteria for Effective Self-Management

  • Coherence – consistency with mission and goals
  • Balance – success in one area does not compensate for failure in other areas
  • Schedule your priorities
  • “People” dimension
  • Flexibility
  • Portability



  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yagOv3VoXyQ&NR=1
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XWsaqmAoLg&feature=related

Classifying Activities

  • Urgent:
  • Important:
  • An activity that you or others feel requires immediate attention.

Life Management Quadrants

Life Management Quadrants

  • Vision
  • Balance
  • Discipline
  • Long Term
  • Not in complete control
  • Acted Upon..
  • Always Respond to others needs
  • Waste
  • Escape
  • Time Wasting Activity

The Bermuda Triangle of Time

  • Study for tomorrow’s exam.
  • Pay overdue bill.
  • Work on project due today.
  • Visit a family member who has been in an accident.
  • Spend an evening with friends.
  • Work on an essay due in 30 days.
  • Call home.
  • Engage in professional development activities.
  • Respond to all instant messages.
  • Respond to all phone calls.
  • Engage in idle conversations.
  • Spend time on trivia
  • Become absorbed in escape activities.
  • Waste time.
  • Procrastinate.

Saying Yes and No

  • Yes
  • No

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