Ten tips to recapture time. Covey’s “First things first”


Stephen Covey in his book “First things first” he observed that great leaders appear less stressed and seemed to have more time on their hands.  He drew a four quadrant time management diagram pointing out that far too often we are firefighting in “urgent and not important” quadrant, see diagram. We should instead allow such fires to burn themselves out redirecting our time in the “non urgent and important” quadrant.

A philosophy professor is lecturing to his students. He brings out an empty jar and small rocks. Filling the jar with the rocks he asks if it is full. “Yes” they reply. Then he lifts a container of small pebbles and pours them in. “Is it full?” “Yes” they reply. Then he lifts a container of sand and pours it in round the rocks and pebbles. “Is it full?” “Yes definitely” they reply. Then he pours in a cup of coffee in to the container and it fills up all the spare air space.

He explained, “Rocks are the important things in your life – you must give them priority each day otherwise you can’t fit them in. Small pebbles – are the next important things. The sand (your emails, routine meetings, daily chores) – are the least important activities and should be made to fit around the more important tasks”.

“So why the coffee?” a student asks. “To remind you that you should always make time, every day, for a coffee with either a work colleague, a client or a friend.” The professor replied.