The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey
What does that mean?
This witty quote uses a chiasmus to point out the importance of how something is done. In this case, the subject is schedules and priorities, and which should be driving the other.
The phrase ‘prioritize your schedule’ implies that you already have a packed day, and that you will shuffle them around in their relative order of importance. In this manner, one hopes to accomplish as much as possible in the time available.
The phrase ‘schedule your priorities’ implies an empty schedule and a list of priorities to be scheduled. The implication is that some of the items on the list can be put off, and other things not presently on the list can be scheduled in their place.
This leads to the question of what is important to you? What are the things that will you will have to do to be productive and successful? Is that what you do, or do you slog through the laundry list, checking each box in turn, even if it’s not all that useful, productive, or contributing to success?
Why is perspective important?
When this was proposed, it was a bit radical. People went through their inbox and finished each task in turn. They scheduled their day based on what tasks were queued up. Occasionally, a red-hot task was dropped on their desk, and went to the front of the line, but most people just turned the crank.
The idea of taking a look at how much time you had, and only putting in the things which were important, and contributed to your personal and corporate success, that was radical back in the day. Today it’s a little less so, but is fairly common in business practice.
This change in perspective, from “How do I fit it all in?” to “What do I need to fit in?” is a big one. It changes how we look at the problem, and helps to clarify what needs to be done. Just switching two words can make a big difference in what you accomplish in a day,
Changing those two words changes how you view things. That also changes how you feel, as well as what you contribute. Where else in your life could you apply this specific change, and where else in your life could you apply the broader principle of examining your perspective?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to consider on your own what other areas of your life could benefit from determining first what is important, and then making room in your schedule for them. This quote may have started in the business world, but I think it applies to other parts of our lives.
But what other parts of your life could use an adjustment in perspective? Where are you set in your ways, and not getting much done? Life is full of change, and some of your methods may not be serving you as well as they used to, and some of your foundational thoughts may no longer apply.
What do I mean? Have you considered how you approach technology? When I was growing up, typewriters were the thing. I’ve had to continue to change my perspective as first word processors, then computers became productivity tools. And technology didn’t stop there.
Things continue to move forward. I now can, and often do, accomplish more in a few hours with my phone than I did in a day with my first computer. Add tablets and wireless connectivity, laptops, and WiFi hot-spots, I hope you can see how much things have changed. And will continue to change.
Do you still think you have to sit at a desk somewhere to be a useful and productive tech worker? I used to think that way, and I’ve been slowly breaking myself out of that mind set, and changing my perspective on when and how I write my blog. A friend of mind Craig Jarrow recently had a post on this issue.
A simple example was given in the post which showed how he did things. It opened my eyes and showed me a different way of looking at things. A new perspective on blogging, and the how and when of it will never be the same. What parts of your life can you try a new perspective?
I have talked about how tech has changed basic assumptions and work patterns. Modern machinery has changed many other jobs. What has happened in your life and your livelihood? What will change in the next few years? Because things always change, right?
Are you willing to look at your life differently? To examine it, to figure out what is important, and make sure it happens? Are you willing to look at how you go about doing that, and find better ways? The internet is a great source for finding productivity experiments. What works for you?
What is your priority?
From: Twitter, @thequote
confirmed at : www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephencov133504.html
Photo by Twylo