What does it mean to “put first things first?” I recently came across this quote from H.L. Hunt that brilliantly defined this concept. “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” I’ve broken it down into 4 separate sections. If you are looking for some good put first things first activities, here is a great place to start:
How to put first things first in 4 steps
1. Decide what you want
- When you put first things first, you have to decide what “things” you actually want. Start by making a list of the 10 most important aspects of your life. Answers could include your family, job, hobbies, money, travel, etc. You will also want to prioritize your answers from most important to least important.
- Now, make a list of the 10 things that you actually spend the most time doing. What aspects of your
life are taking up the most of your time and effort? Again, try your best to prioritize your answers.
- Finally, you need to compare your lists. Are they very similar or different? Where is most of your time actually going? Are there any adjustments that you can make to see more alignments on your lists? This is a very important first step if you truly want to put first things first.
2. Decide what you are willing to exchange for it
- Now that you know what you want, what can you sacrifice or change in an effort to always put first things first? This step often requires stepping out of your comfort zone. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get the things that you actually want? For some it may mean changing your job or going back to school. For others it means going back to the gym or starting a new, healthy way of eating.
- Zig Ziglar explains this concept perfectly; “The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.”
3. Establish your priorities
- Ok, let’s put first things first by making a new list with your top 10 priorities. This step shouldn’t be too difficult since we’ve already done most of the legwork in the previous two steps. Have you decided what needs to change? Are you willing to make the sacrifice necessary to make these changes long lasting?
4. Go to work
- It’s time to go to work. You’ve decided what you want and how to get there. Remember that you must take action to truly embrace this concept to put first things first. If you’re not taking action each day to work towards your new goals then you haven’t truly decided.
Put First Things First Quotes
Here’s a look at some of our favorite put first things first quotes. Simply reading through these quotes can serve as simple yet extremely effective put first things first activity. Enjoy!
“The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.” – Leo Babauta
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey
“What counts can’t always be counted; what can be counted doesn’t always count.” – Albert Einstein
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non apologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” – Stephen R. Covey
Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”- Jim Rohn
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