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First Things First: Understand Why So Often Our First Things Aren't First [Livre audio] [Anglais] [MP3 CD]

Stephen R. Covey , A. Roger Merrill , Rebecca R. Merrill


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Description de l'ouvrage

1 avril 2012
In the spirit of THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, the international bestseller, FIRST THINGS FIRST is a revolutionary guide to managing your time by learning how to balance your life. Traditional time management suggests that working harder, smarter and faster will help you gain control of your life, and that increased control will bring peace and fulfilment. The authors of FIRST THINGS FIRST disagree. In the first real breakthrough in time management in years, Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill apply the insights of the 7 HABITS to the daily problems of people who must struggle with the ever increasing demands of work and home life. Rather than focusing on time and things, FIRST THINGS FIRST emphasises relationships and results. And instead of efficiency, this new approach emphasises effectiveness. Covey offers a principle-centred approach that will empower readers to define what is truly important; to accomplish worthwhile goals; and to lead rich, rewarding and balanced lives.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Extrait

Chapter 1: How Many People on Their Deathbed Wish They'd Spent More Time at the Office?

The enemy of the "best" is the "good,"

We're constantly making choices about the way we spend our rime, from the major seasons to the individual moments in out lives. We're also living with the consequences of those choices. And many of us don't like those consequences -- especially when we feel there's a gap between how we're spending our rime and what we feel is deeply important in out lives.

My life is hectic! I'm running all day -- meetings, phone calls, paperwork, appointments. I push myself to the limit, fall into bed exhausted, and get up early the next morning to do it all again. My output is tremendous; I'm getting a lot done. But I get this feeling inside sometimes, "So what? What are you doing that really counts?" I have to admit, I don't know.

I feel like I'm being torn apart. My family is important to me; so is my work. I live with constant conflict, trying to juggle the demands of both. Is it possible to be really successful -- and happy -- at the office and at home?

There is simply too little of me to go around. The board and shareholders are on me like a swarm of bees for our declining share prices. I'm constantly playing referee in turf wars between members of my executive team. I feel tremendous pressure to be leading our organization's quality improvement initiative. The morale among out employees is low and I feel guilty for no/ge/ring out with them and listening more. On top of all this, despite our family vacations, my family has all but written me off because they never see me.

I don't feel in control of my life. I try to figure out what's important and set goals to do it, but other people -- my boss, my work associates, my spouse -- continually throw wrenches into the works. What I set out to do is blocked by what other people want me to do for them. What's important to me is getting swept away in the current of what's important to everybody else.

Everyone tells me I'm highly successful, I've worked and scraped and sacrificed, and I've made it to the top. But I'm not happy. Way down inside I have this empty feeling. It's like the song says, "Is that all there is?"

Most of the time, I just don't enjoy life. For every one thing I do, I can think of ten things I don't do, and it makes me feel guilty. The constant stress of trying to decide what I should do in the middle of all I could do creates a constant tension. How can I know what's most important? How can I do it? How can I enjoy it?

I feel like I have some sense of what I should do with my life. I've written down what I feel is really important and I set goals to make it happen. But somewhere between my vision and my daily action, I lose it. How can I translate what really counts into my daily life?


Putting first things first is an issue at the very heart of life. Almost all of us feel torn by the things we want to do, by the demands placed on us, by the many responsibilities we have. We all feel challenged by the day-to-day and moment-by-moment decisions we must make regarding the best use of our time.

Decisions are easier when it's a question of "good" or "bad." We can easily see how some ways we could spend our time are wasteful, mind-numbing, even destructive. But for most of us, the issue is not between the "good" and the "bad," but between the "good" and the "best." So often, the enemy of the best is the good.

Stephen: I knew a man who was asked to be the new dean of the College of Business of a large university. When he first arrived, he studied the situation the college faced and felt that what it needed most was money. He recognized that he had a unique capacity to raise money, and he developed a real sense of vision about fund-raising as his primary function.

This created a problem in the college because past deans had focused mainly on meeting day-to-day faculty needs. This new dean was never there. He was running around the country trying to raise money for research, scholarships, and other endowments. But he was not attending to the day-to-day things as the previous dean had. The faculty had to work through his administrative assistant, which was demeaning to many of them who were used to working with the person at the top.

The faculty became so upset with his absence that they sent a delegation to the president of the university to demand a new dean or a fundamental change in his leadership style. The president, who knew what the dean was doing, said, "Relax. He has a good administrative assistant. Give him some more time."

Within a short rime, the money started pouring in and the faculty began to recognize the vision. It wasn't long until every time they saw the dean, they would say, "Get out of here! We don't want to see you. Go out and bring in more funds. Your administrative assistant runs this office better than anyone else."

This man admitted to me later that the mistake he made was in not doing enough team building, enough explaining, enough educating about what he was trying to accomplish. I'm sure he could have done better, but I learned a powerful lesson from him. We need to constantly be asking ourselves, "What is needed out there, and what is my unique strength, my gift?"


It would have been easy for this man to meet the urgent expectations of others. He could have had a career at the university filled with many good things. But had he not discerned both the real needs and his own unique capacities, and carried out the vision he developed, he would never have achieved the best for him, the faculty, or the college.

What is "best" for you? What keeps you from giving those "best" things the rime and energy you want to give them? Are too many "good" things getting in the way? For many people, they are. And the result is the unsettling feeling that they're not putting first things first in their lives.

THE CLOCK AND THE COMPASS

Our struggle to put first things first can be characterized by the contrast between two powerful tools that direct us: the clock and the compass. The clock represents out commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities -- what we do with, and how we manage our time. The compass represents out vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, direction -- what we feel is important and how we lead our lives.

The struggle comes when we sense a gap between the clock and the compass -- when what we do doesn't contribute to what is most important in out lives.

For some of us, the pain of the gap is intense. We can't seem to walk out talk. We feel trapped, controlled by other people or situations. We're always responding to crises. We're constantly caught up in "the thick of thin things" -- putting out fires and never making time to do what we know would make a difference. We feel as though out lives are being lived for us.

For others of us, the pain is a vague discomfort. We just can't get what we feel we should do, what we want to do, and what we actually do all together. We're caught in dilemmas. We feel so guilty over what we're not doing, we can't enjoy what we do.

Some of us feel empty. We've defined happiness solely in terms of professional or financial achievement, and we find that our "success" did not bring us the satisfaction we thought it would. We've painstakingly climbed the "ladder of success" rung by rung -- the diploma, the late nights, the promotions -- only to discover as we reached the top rung that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. Absorbed in the ascent, we've left a trail of shattered relationships or missed moments of deep, rich living in the wake of the intense, overfocused effort. In out race up the rungs, we simply did not take the time to do what really mattered most.

Others of us feel disoriented or confused. We have no real sense of what "first things" are. We move from one activity to another on automatic. Life is mechanical. Once in a while, we wonder if there's any meaning in our doing.

Some of us know we're out of balance, but we don't have confidence in other alternatives. Or we feel the cost of change is too high. Or we're afraid to try. It's easier to just live with the imbalance.

WAKE UP CALLS

We may be brought to an awareness of this gap in a dramatic way. A loved one dies. Suddenly she's gone and we see the stark reality of what could have been, but wasn't, because we were too busy climbing the "ladder of success" to cherish and nurture a deeply satisfying relationship.

We may find out our teenage son is on drugs. Pictures flood out minds -- times we could have spent through the years doing things together, sharing, building the relationship...but didn't because we were too busy earning a living, making the right connections, or simply reading the newspaper.

The company's downsizing and our job's on the line. Or our doctor tells us we have just a few months to live. Or our marriage is threatened by divorce. Some crisis brings us to an awareness that what we're doing with our time and what we feel is deeply important don't match.

Rebecca: Years ago, I was visiting with a young woman in the hospital who was only twenty-three years old and had two small children at home. She had just been told she had incurable cancer. As I held her hand and tried to think of something to say that might comfort her, she cried, "I would give anything just to go home and change a messy diaper!"

As I thought about her words and my experience with my own small children, I wondered how many times both of us had changed diapers out of a sense of duty, hurriedly, even frustrated by the seeming inconvenience in our busy lives, rather than cherishing precious moments of life and love we had no way of knowing would ever come again.


In the absence of such "wake-up calls," many of us never really confront the critical issues of life. Instead of looking for deep chronic causes, we look for quick-fix ... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

'Covey has reached the apex with this publication. This is an important work. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be helped by reading it' Larry King --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  130 commentaires
82 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Worthwhile Read even for time management junkies 10 octobre 2006
Par Lisa Shea - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The Stephen R. Covey engine has kicked out numerous books on self-help, and they consult 200 out of the top 500 Fortune companies. After all of those books and years, they have heard enough stories and waded through enough crisis situations to get a good handle on what works and does not work in all of those environments.

Now, if you've read every book they're written, then undoubtedly you're going to begin this book and say "I've read this all before". Naturally, when they begin a book, they have to assume that some readers haven't read the other books yet. They have to catch them up on the background and basics. If you don't need that primer, then skim for a while. It's not a bad thing, it's a normal thing. It's how book writing works :) If you pick up book 5 of Harry Potter, you still have to go through a little bit of scene setting for the .00002% of the population who skipped the other books and lept into Book 5.

So now, onto the key points of this specific book. Time management is good. Organizing your goals is good. But all of these things are only good if your goals are actually valid ones. If you spend all your time creating to-do lists, and carefully plotting out weekly goals ... but your goal is to get a "bigger fur coat" while your children are starving and you're miserable at work, something is out of sync. This book is all about making sure that what you do is what you REALLY want to do. It's about a higher level of time management.

So they're not saying the other time management systems are bad. They explicitly say that each has its place in life! However, if you work very hard every day to climb a ladder, and find after many years that the ladder you've climbed was against the wrong wall, then you'll be very disappointed. You should always make sure you are working for a goal that you really feel is important at a basic moral level.

This isn't a book to just plow through in an hour and see what you remember. It's asking you to really think about why you do things in life. Is it because your parents harassed you when you were young, and you want to get a flashy car to prove you're something? Do you try to out-do your co-workers even if it hurts your home life? Sometimes these answers don't come easily. If they did, I imagine we wouldn't need a book to help us sort them out.

This is a good book to read a chapter, then put down for a while. Go back and read another one, then think about it for a while. The basic concept is easy enough to understand. Divide your tasks up based on what category they fall into -

Quadrant I - urgent, important

Quadrant II - not urgent, important

Quadrant III - urgent, not important

Quadrant IV - not urgent, not important

Sounds easy, yes? But how many of us get sucked into a ton of "urgent" but really not important tasks for all sorts of reasons? It's the planning - the Quadrant II time - that can help fix those issues. But we have to make time to plan. If your life is full of incessant urgent demands, it may seem impossible to do this. But it can be done.

A hard idea to wrap your mind around is that we all only have 24 hrs a day. Leonardo Da Vinci, Ghandi, every one of us has 24 hrs. You might say "Well but I have 3 kids at home". True! So in your life, you made children your priority. You wanted those kids! So embrace that, and accept that as your mission. Put aside other less important things. We all make choices in life about what is important to us. When we make those choices, we should accept that, be happy with that, and find ways to emphasize our time in those areas. You have to choose to spend the time on things you love - not to divide your time up amongst various things that are "OK". That's what the main lesson is here. Focus on what is most important - don't try to do 80 quadrillion things that are all "OK". It can't work.
191 internautes sur 218 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An unexpected life-changer 23 janvier 2000
Par Max Jones - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I have to get a couple of things out of the way right now to make you understand why this book has been so important to me (and could be to you as well). First, I am definitely someone who shuns most self-help tomes--I think most of them are crutches for weak people too lazy to get their acts together or too clueless to embrace a little common sense. Second, my prior experiences with the Covey cult were less than satisfying, as I had a boss (now departed) who talked the Covey talk but did not (I now see) truly walk the walk. This book differs from the _7 Habits_ texts in that it really deals with taking the general Covey concepts ("principle-centered living") and giving them a practical sheen--in this case by applying them to time management. Learning to divide my activities between "urgent" and "important," planning my life around certain "roles" that I have to fill, and composing a "mission statement" (a much more realistic and helpful version of year 2000 New Year's resolutions for me)--these were the concepts that have really helped me organize my life as efficiently as possible (and I was already pretty organized). I highly recommend buying the book and then following up by getting a Franklin Covey planner, where you can take the lessons from the book and start building your time and life around them. I have loaned the book to several friends and students (I teach high school) and all of them have benefitted from it in some way or another. Buying _First Things First_ will be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
And I can't believe I just wrote a positive review of a self-help book. Trust me on how helpful this book can be.
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 From Covey cynic to convert 29 juin 2001
Par Marie Jones - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I admit it, I was a Covey cynic. I hadn't read him, but had heard him quoted ad nauseum. Now, I'm a convert. This thoughtful book transforms bland time management techniques into tools for re-examining your life in terms of personalized mission statements. In this rushed world, the idea of deeply knowing what you want out of life and making sure that your activities fit in with that knowledge is radically different. Balance is emphasized, with that balance organized around your roles in life and real human needs, "to learn, to live, to love and to leave a legacy." Covey divides all activities into four quadrants: 1.Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects) 2.Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships) 3.Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters) 4.Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters)
The idea is to keep your activities primarily in the second category and to consciously choose activities because of what's important, not because of what's urgent. Covey et al also provide a list of the "Wisdom Literature" from around the world to help you ground your personal mission and life goals in the philosophies that have explored these ideas through the centuries. Don't try to read this book without allowing plenty of reflection time. After you've read the book, you'll allow plenty of reflection time for everything.
46 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Too Abridged To Be More Than An Inspiring Introduction 21 septembre 2000
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Cassette
The strength of the abridged audiocassette is the conviction in Dr. Covey's voice. It will convince you that this is an important subject.
The weakness of this audiocassette is that you will learn the principles behind Quadrant Two Time Management, but not how to do it. As the audiocassette will tell you, you will need to buy the book, study it, and then start doing it. I thought this was so substantial a weakness that I graded the book down two stars for this limitation.
If you are pretty sure you want to use this method, go directly to the book. If you are not sure, listen to this audiocassette. I found a copy in my local library. Perhaps you can, too.
The time management technique here is intended to be a fourth generation of that method of getting more accomplished. The main different is that the goals here are to achieve more balance in your life by having you focus first on doing what is most important to you that will make the most difference. You will plan weekly, and reiterate your planning to learn from your experiences of the prior week.
Quadrant 2 is the area where activities are important, but not urgent. These activities are often overlooked, or are pushed out of the way by urgent activities, including ones that are unimportant.
The time management process is designed to handle all elements of your life, personal life as well as work. An analogy is used to putting big rocks, gravel, sand, and water into a jar. If you start with the big rocks, you can get everything in the jar. If you start in the opposite order, you'll never fit the big rocks in.
You are encouraged to develop a personal mission statement (because seeing meaning to life gives us more optimism and perserverance), consider all of your life roles, locate the highest payoff areas for those roles, make principle-centered decisions, exercise integrity in your moments of choice, and continually reevaluate how you are doing.
After you listen to this work, consider how well balanced or unbalanced your life is. Then think about what your habits are that cause you to have such imbalances. Next, start changing those habits to better ones.
36 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Inspiritional and practical 15 juin 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
USA Today said that Stephen Covey is the hottest self-improvement consultant to hit U.S. business since Dale Carnegie and I agree. Covey is the best.
In First Things First, Covey discloses powerful time management techniques. What makes this book different from typical time management books and programs is that Covey shows you how to see the whole picture rather than tiny fragments of our lives.
Before reading and applying the techniques in First Things First, I would always lament
"I have too much to do---and not enough time to do it."
"I can't balance my personal life with my business life."
"There is too little of me and too much to do."
"I don't feel in controlof my life."
"Why do I feel so empty all the time."
What you won't find in this book is another daytimer program or another clock. Covey explains why it is more important to know where you are heading instead of how fast you are going. You won't find the old theory of working harder, faster, smarter and more, more, more. It's about effectiveness, not efficiency. And most importantly, it really works.
Thank you Dr. Covey!
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