The promise was books that rocked my coaching practice that are off the beaten path. OK, so maybe this one isn’t that original, and I must have stumbled on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey in Barnes and Noble because I can’t remember who recommended it. But I have to say that from the day I read this book, I changed some habits that utterly altered the trajectory of my life. I don’t think it is a coincidence that when I started doing what Covey said (and let’s be clear, not everything, just a few things made a huge difference) my business took off, my household became more orderly and calm and my quality of life shot up. I developed a reputation for being freakishly productive. I feel that almost every other “self-help” book that came after this one simply fleshed out some of the good ideas that were here in the first place.
In the section called Put First Things First, the 4 box quadrant probably made the biggest impact on me. The idea is that we all can put every single thing we do into one of the four quadrants.
crises, pressing problems, deadline-driven projects
prevention, Principle Centered activities, relationship building, recognizing and leveraging new opportunities, planning the future, recreation
|Not important||QUADRANT III
interruptions, some calls, some mail, some reports, some meetings, popular activities
trivia, busy work, some mail, some phone calls time wasters, pleasant activities
The ones who spend the bulk of their time doing things in the “important” quadrants are simply going to have a much higher life satisfaction quotient. This very concrete model gave me the courage to say no to things that did not fall into the Quadrants I or II. Today, I let people assume I am extremely busy (everybody does) and if pressed I will admit that I am no busier than anyone else, just extremely focused on what is most important to me and ferociously choosy about what I focus on. Don’t tell anyone.