In Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the third habit is: “Put first things first.”  This habit relates back to the first two.  The idea is by being proactive (first habit), by beginning with the end in mind (second habit), you will flesh all this out by spending time doing only those things that support your personal mission statement.  You will be putting first things first.

Covey explains we have to identify the key roles we each have in life.  Once we have identified our key roles, we must take time for each of them.  For example, a man might identify his key roles as Christian, husband, father, accountant, student, son, brother, and vice president of a motorcycle club.  That man will be maximally successful only if he recognizes these roles and takes the time needed for each one.

Notice I did not said, “creates the time.”  We must take the time.  Time can never be created, only appropriated.  The time we have, we take and use productively, or we squander it.

Not only must we recognize each key role we hold, we must prioritize them.  Any overemphasis on one role that does not have personal mission-statement justification will lead to imbalance and ultimate failure.

Now is a good time to observe a commonality about these initial habits.  Habits 1, 2, and 3, focus on self-mastery.  Only once we master ourselves are we positioned to be successful with others.  The subsequent habits will help us to do that well.

Let’s always keep the main thing the main thing.  If we do that, then our success is assured.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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