First Things Firsts develops its themes and purpose from the diagram of “Time Management Matrix” found on page 37. Steve Covey’s main focus is upon ‘Quadrant II’ of the four quadrants of the diagram. He refers to this as the quadrant of quality.
“Increasing time spent in this quadrant increases our ability to do.” (p.38) Covey promotes the notion that time spent in this area dealing with the issues of preparation, prevention, values clarification, planning, relationship building, true re-creation, and empowerment are those areas that need to be addressed first and foremost.
The goal is to move into a “fourth generation” (out of first, second, and third generation p.27) of time management and to clarify your “mission”, “review your roles”, “identify your goals”, “organize your week”, “exercise integrity”, and “evaluation”.
Covey lays out three paradigms which “nurture balance” :
- roots of principle
- the trunk of mission
- the branches of roles.
Covey also speaks a great deal about becoming through being principle-centered. The understanding he possesses of human nature cannot be denied. His ability to convey a thought is supported well by his ability to include personal stories. Covey understands the evolving changes that are facing all of us. The methods of time management which he proposes are beneficial.
I did not find Covey’s approach to time management to be personally applicable. The authors ability to structure time management has given me information which I feel can be incorporated into my present system in parts but not as a whole. The illustration he used on page 89-90 pertaining the Quadrant II goals being the “big rocks” is one which I found to be helpful in the mapping out of priorities.
Quote: Concerning the subject of “becoming” Covey says, “It’s not arriving; it’s a life time quest.” p. 291