Tag Archive: Steven Covey



There’s so much to do and what seems to be not enough time to get to it all, so, how do you get to what matters most?  It starts by looking at everything you have on your plate and the things you would like to place on your plate.  There is an exercise that Covey proposed that does work when it comes to getting to what really matters.

If you’re ready to forge your way forward and start getting to what matters most, just click here and get your free eBook, What Matters Most©.  The first step to getting to what matters most.


Time management expert Stephen Covey developed a matrix to help people gain perspective of their tasks and gain better awareness of their priorities.  It’s called Covey’s Quadrant.   Quadrant 1 contains the important, urgent things; Quadrant 2 important, not urgent things; Quadrant 3 urgent, not important items; Quadrant 4 the not important, not urgent items.

Following the 80/20 rule, we know that 80 percent of the desired results come from 20 percent of high leverage activities or efforts.  With that in mind, the greatest payoff comes from working on projects or activities that are in quadrant 2; the important but not urgent things.  Focus on those things allows you to position yourself to spend less time handling crises.

The trick is getting there.  To do so requires that we deliberately and constantly choose.  If you think about it, life is all about choices.  We all have the freedom of choice with everything, including managing our time.  Developing the habit of choosing the really important things is primary in getting that big payoff.

So, how do you get to what matters most?  By looking at everything you have on your plate and the things you would like to place on your plate.  There is an exercise that Covey proposed that does work when it comes to getting to what really matters.  I’ll share the exercise in my next post.


You’ve probably heard of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Those principles if established as habits help the reader become more effective.  Let’s take a look at them.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive-take responsibility for every aspect of your life. Initiative and taking action will then follow
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind-set long-term goals, consider creating a personal mission statement and visualization as a tool to develop it
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First-focus on long-term goals instead of things that are more urgent and less important and prioritize the work related to your long-term goals
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win-with an attitude like this, everybody wins.  See mutually beneficially solutions to satisfy yourself and others
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood-completely listen to another person’s concerns and don’t give advice before you understand a person and their situation
  • Habit 6: Synergize-work effectively in teams by collaborating, valuing differences and building on divergent strengths
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw-engage in carefully selected recreational activities that offer self renewal so that you can regain your “production capability”

You can see that if you made these seven principals habits, that they would help you in creating and maintain habits that support your productivity. To shift into habits that support you, you first have to understand that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit.  That’s the amount of time that it takes to train the brain.  I recommend that you give yourself 30 days for each new habit you want to develop.  You might think that’s a long time, but it really isn’t.  Trying to change more than a few habits at one time can be self destructive, so be patient and honor the process.
Start by writing down the new habits that you want to develop.  Your head is a dangerous place for commitments to hang out.  When you write them down they become real and you get clarity about what you want to create and what that means for you.  It also helps to keep you committed.

Once you have that clarity, enroll a friend in supporting you.  Share with them what habit you’re giving up and what you are creating.  Keep them in the loop on how you’re doing and of any challenges that come up for you.  Allow them to help you through the rough spots and get you back on track so that you can successfully develop the new habits.  Make sure that your new habits are consistent and that you do them every day for 30 days.

Understand that you are going to go through a process with your new habits.  The first 30 days will present some challenges and you might even feel as though you want to quit.  After a few months it becomes easier to keep the commitment and things run smooth at that point.  Once you’ve reached a year or so, it becomes harder to not be in the habit because that habit has become part of your routine and part of who you are.

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