Dear Partner,

In the last issue of the pipeline, we began exploring the first set of habits that help, build on character as Stephen Covey wrote in his book, “The 7 habits of highly effective people”. In this issue, our head of partnership experience, Carol Naneu, will lead us through her meticulous dissection to writing of the last of the first set of three habits, that build on character:The habit of putting things first.

We hope that you will indeed enjoy

Leonard Mcharo – Pipeline Builder

PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST – The Habit of integrity and execution


Habit 3 “Put first things first” says …“Get there! Don’t let roadblocks knock you off course.”

This is the habit of will-power, the strength to say YES to your most important things. It’s also the habit of won’t-power, the strength to say NO to less important things and peer pressure.

This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. It is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.

Habit 3 introduces a revolutionary personal management tool that shifts the idea of time management into priority management (the Time Management Matrix)

  • In Quadrant 1 (top left) we have important, urgent items – items that need to be dealt with immediately.

  • In Quadrant 2 (top right) we have important, but not urgent items – items that are important but do not require your immediate attention, and need to be planned for. This quadrant is the quadrant that we should focus on for long term achievement of goals.

  • In Quadrant 3 (bottom left) we have urgent, but unimportant items – items which should be minimized or eliminated. These are the time sucks, the “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” variety of tasks.

  • In Quadrant 4 (bottom right) we have unimportant and also not urgent items – items that don’t have to be done anytime soon, perhaps add little to no value and also should be minimized or eliminated. These are often trivial time wasters

Realize that whenever you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you will no longer have time for something else. Time is the most valuable and least replaceable of all resources. Things that appear urgent will most likely trigger a ‘yes’ if you are asked to help out. It is useful to understand that saying ‘no’ is also a very legit option.

Each one has tasks s/he does not like. Knowing when these tasks are so important they have become ‘the first thing’ and doing them first is what disciplined people do. But being disciplined is also about not doing tasks when they do not have priority.

You should question yourself regularly whether the matter you are turning your attention to is urgent or important, or maybe both. Urgent matters are usually visible, they press on you. They are calling for action. You should wonder if the matter is urgent to you, or to other people. And if it is urgent to other people, do you want to put time and effort into it?

Important matters are directed to your goals and values. Goals and values are less visible and hence less pressing. That is why you need more proactivity to get closer to your goals. It is about preparation and being prepared. It is about looking for opportunity instead of solving problems.

Try connecting your personal mission to time. The more time you spend doing things that are both important and are not necessarily “urgent,” the better you have become at managing your personal life. This means you are spending time doing things that will help you reach your goals rather than always doing things because of impending deadlines. Most people spend too much time doing things that are either in the urgent and important category or in the urgent and not important category. Hence, people are constantly living deadline by deadline and “putting out fires” rather than working on being proactive and “preventing fires.”

Only with a clear direction in mind will we find the strength to do the things we do not like and create time for those things we actually want to do. It is about living habit one and two every day.

Here’s to your financial independence!

Psst! (Remember to share with your family and friends! Knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied.

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