Many of people have read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This is one of my all-time favorites. I use the material in my life and as I help others in theirs. It is a great book which offers solid guidance on living life at a different level: level of purpose. Dr. Covey masterfully leads his readers along of pathway that plays to the person inside of us that says, ‘Show me how to live from the inside out.’ What are those habits in brief?
- Be Proactive
- Begin With the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win/Win
- Seek to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
We should re/read the book! AGAIN!!!
The third habit speaks to how we use the time that we have at our disposal. Dr. Covey offers the Four Quadrants of Time Management to help his readers methodically sift through activities and time allotted/used for each category. Quadrants I, III and IV focus on a lot of activities which may or may not result in meaningful results that can add to our life’s ‘bottom line’. Some things that are in these quadrants are the infamous unexpected ‘urgent’ meetings, answering phone calls, surfing the internet and the handling of issues due to our own negligence. These things can scream loudly for our attention and immediate response. Quadrant II, on the other hand, is where stability of life is embraced which can be carried out over our lifetime. Some things that happen in Q2 are planning, relationship building and health maintenance. These are usually waiting quietly for us to give mindful and dubious attention to them for they are life sustaining.
When we slow ourselves down enough to step into Quadrant II, a major thing will happen. CLARITY! I have gained that in more and more areas over the years. Not perected, though. And I have learned from Dr. Covey the power of being as deliberate as possible about my life. WHAT! That may seem confining in some ways because of the ‘boundaries’ that we may have to impose on ourselves. But in doing so, there really is freedom. An oxymoron? Think about it. Allow water to flow with reckless abandon and you may have what’s called a flood. But place around it some boundaries and that same flowing water can produce electricity that can serve an entire community.
This principle helped me when I was in corporate America. I was in IT (and theSTRUGGLE IS REAL…) I sought to carve out time to plan on a daily basis. This was not easy to do because EVERYONE wanted a piece of my time. I protected the time. I told the team I was leading that unless the building was burning down or someone was in CRITICAL distress, my planning time of 1 hour was really off limits. This was hard to do but very beneficial. This gave me space to see my work and that of my team with a CLEAR perspective.
Does your daily living flow as you would like or do the demands of the world around you crowd the gentle quiet appeal of life’s necessities? Will there be flooding or a well identifiable paths to the next LATEST and GREATEST that you can hang your hat on?For each one reading this… I am betting on the latter result!
Here’s to Quadrant II Living