In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on putting first things first.
A great quote by Steven Wright was shared to help put this habit into perspective: "I watched the Indy 500 and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast." A novel idea! It really goes to the notion of time management and how an individual manages their time. After all, there continue to only be 24 hours in a day. Covey talks about time management and this notion of putting first things first through the illustration of four (4) quadrants: urgent & important, not urgent & important, urgent & not important, and not urgent & not important. He shared that many people spend time in the last two (bottom two) quadrants, as opposed to the first two (top two). The idea then is to refocus our efforts and prioritize our time. I have actually seen an example that comes to mind ... a peer charter school leader only reads and responds to eMails twice a day. During the rest of the day, you receive an out of office message that shares this concept, and notes that if this is urgent, to call. Otherwise, he has a focus and plan for his day.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of putting first things first, my commitment is to start to prioritize my day and week. To ensure I am working on meaningful tasks that are not urgent & important, because that means I have properly mapped out my time and am able to ensure my focus is on the important work at hand as opposed to what is urgent because proper planning did not take place.
Understanding what needs to happen first will ensure time can be properly used, properly managed. Understanding this will help lower stress and maximize all the available hours in the day.