Did you have a chance to check out any of the amazing books on Self Development Secrets’ list of The Best Self-Help Books for 2017? As you probably know, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is one of my all time favorite books. If you weren’t yet able to read last week’s blog Celebrating Books & Wisdom For Self-Improvement, check it out! In that little pearl of wisdom, we explored the first of my favorite Covey habits. Today, we’re gonna discuss the other: Put First Things First
Put First Things First
Okay, that sounds logical, but what does it actually mean? “Put First Things First,” Habit #3 of seven, is about life management: your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. To understand “Put First Things First” you have to also embrace the two habits that precede it.
First off, you must believe that YOU are in charge. As the creator of your life, you make the choices. That’s Habit #1. To be happy or sad. To be successful or unsuccessful. Habit #1 is about being proactive about your choices. (In other words, no whiny victims allowed!) Habit #2 is about envisioning and creating the future you want—in your mind. It’s the mental portion of your life management system. Once you see the life you want, Habit #3 is the physical creation of what you’ve envisioned. It’s where Habits #1 and #2 come together. The problem is, this particular habit also involves a pesky little thing called time management!
What Are Your Priorities?
When Covey talks about “first things,” he’s talking about priorities. First things are the things you, personally, place the most value on. If you “Put First Things First,” you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit #2.
This is where a lot of people get tripped up because, well, the more things you have going on in your life... like husbands and three kids and friends and birthdays and after-school activities and adult-time and appointments and household chores and Oh-My-Gawd! the list is freakin’ ENDLESS (!), the harder it is to physically create the life you envision, which I’m guessing does not include running around like a chicken with its head cut off!
Learn To Say No (Without Guilt)
It would be great to have the time and energy to do absolutely everything and still build a successful life, but it’s simply not possible! There are times you’re gonna have to say ‘no’ to people you care about. No to that concert your friends invited you to, no to a second sport your child has decided he wants to play this year.
But you shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no because if you don’t spend the time on the things you value most, you won’t be able to physically create the life you desire. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do fun things or be there for your family! You have to unwind (remember what we talked about last week?!) to stay healthy. And, family should definitely be a high priority (otherwise you could have just joined a monastery!), but always put first things first. And I love his part about how you either decide to say “no,” but whether you actually say it or not, you’re automatically saying “no” to other things that you won’t be able to fit in because you didn’t say “no” to the first deal. Make sense?
To read my excerpt from Self Development Secrets and explore the amazing self-help books recommended by today’s top thinkers, check out The Best Self Help Books. For more “let’s make life better” tips and career advice, check out these other awesome articles or contact me if you’re thinking about starting your own business and want support from someone who’s been there, and done that!
Let’s hear about your favorite self-improvement books! Share them with us in the comments below!