A book called the seven habits of highly effective people says nothing worthwhile will ever be accomplished if the performer lacks focus. Even then, focus will only count for something if what we focus our attention on is relevant to our major goal.

And to maximize the impact of your actions, they should also come in the order of their importance. For example, if you are a builder, how soon would you complete a house if you start from the roof?

Unknown to many, this principle applies in virtually every area of life. Stephen R. Covey in his book “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” sums it up by saying “Put First Things First”. It is the third of the seven habits discussed by the author.

No, this article is not a book review, but it is amazing how much we can all accomplish within a given timeframe if we form the habit of performing tasks in their proper sequence.

Develop the Habit of Putting First Things First How can this be done, and what will help you to succeed in doing so?

Have A Goal: Naturally, the first thing you need to do is to have a goal, something toward which you’ll be directing all or most of your efforts. It is only with a goal in mind that you can tell if your activities are taking you closer or further away from your destination. Indeed without a definite goal, all actions you engage in will appear equally important.

Prioritize: Putting first things first basically involves prioritizing our tasks. It means knowing what things must first be accomplished before others can make any sense. Pick out that first step and perform it first.

You must also know that the finer details of certain tasks can only crystallize after you have accomplished the earlier stages of the task. Moreover, if you really stop and take a closer look, you’ll discover that certain bits of activities can often be attended to much later without disrupting the process. So identify the key roles for each action you have to take and how these relates to your overall goal.

Get Organized: Organization is very crucial if you are to put first things first. Indeed, it’s often been said that unless you organize you cannot prioritize.

Organizing involves putting down in writing all the tasks that need to be done. You should also indicate when each piece of work must be done. And allocate time for each task. This is one of the most effective strategies toward ensuring that tasks will get done—and on time.

What happens is that when you write things down, you keep them staring you in the face until they are accomplished. It also helps if the things you’ve written down are kept at a place where you would frequently bump unto them. They should only be removed from that conspicuous location after the tasks have been performed.

Going about your tasks in this manner will help you to keep track of all you do in the course of a day, a week, or a month. It will become easier for you make adjustments in terms of what activities are taking up the chunk of your business time take a look at how those activities are contributing to the bottom line of your business. This is the sure way to increase efficiency and productivity.

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