Covey's 3rd Habit - Reframing First Things First
This is part of my Guru Talk series, deciphering Stephen Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Successful People. Reframing Covey's 3rd Habit, reminds us to keep coming back to our priorities. What does this look like?
First Things: Rename, Recall, Revisit
First things first really means establishing priorities and then reestablishing these same priorities once the crisis fades away. The challenge for the global creative is coming back to their priorities. Coupled with the necessity of creating their own structure to define, implement and finish the priority it’s no wonder innovative professionals with ADHD struggle to complete to what is first for them.
First things first is good, but it doesn’t go far enough to guarantee consistent execution. Priorities are rarely urgent, so they need some help to get our attention in the middle of a busy work day. In my reframe of Covey’s third habit there are three distinct parts to maintain a priority as a priority: Rename (Reframe), Recall, and Revisit.
Priorities are often ill-defined and bland such as ‘develop marketing plan’. Renaming your priority to get your attention and underline the value of giving time, energy and resources to this endeavor. Notice how ‘connect with key players’ has a little more positive energy.
This is part of Remembering to Remind the Brain. Reminding ourselves what is important is a key first step to making time for it.
This is the big distinction from Covey’s 3rd Habit. The dynamic nature of our divergent processing style draws us to an experience rich in variation. Even though we like to mix things up, we can still spend time on the things that count. It’s really about revisiting priorities and getting quality time with them. We often lack creativity in how we get back to the game changing actions. Guilt and fear can ride shotgun on these return trips.
“I should have been working on this months ago!”
“Andy, Meet Douglas!”
Mixing a little flair with your determination when you revisit these priorities can go a long way.
Imagine Andy Warhol at the side of General MacArthur when he fled the Philippines.
The forced disciplined response of “I shall return” becomes something more generous and creative, “How shall we return, Douglas?”
Your big rocks deserve your most creative and enthusiastic work. Most important, your big rocks deserve your time. Make an effort to get creative, and revisit them often.