First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Though written and published twenty years ago now, this remains one of the go-to books on my shelf. The simple act of putting first things first (also known as keeping the main thing the main thing) is one of the most empowering of the life habits Stephen R. Covey and his co-authors have been teaching us about with their many books. First Things First is a manual for those who want to know more about how they can make their priorities come alive, to actually spend the hours of their days doing those things that are most important to them. Both individuals and organizations grow when they take the time to identify their purpose, their mission. From the mission flows the core strategies and goals, and then it is a matter of determining which activities support or advance those strategies and goals. Of course this is deceptively simple. The crush of daily work and home life can overwhelm the best laid plans... but Covey teaches how to develop the burning "yes!" that makes it easier to say "no" to the 1000 unimportant things that come up every day. As Covey says "Only basic goodness gives life to technique." Only the establishment of clear life priorities can give rise to effective time management tactics. I recommend this to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed, is burdened with the guilt of managing work or family life badly, or is approaching burnout.
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