In the last few weeks we reviewed our habits, defined our purpose and created our goals.  There is only one thing left…to take action, to start moving in the direction that will lead to success.

Proactive people are able to pack more into their lives because they put first things first.  Stephen Covey states that those people with a strong independent will have the ability day by day, moment by moment to always put first things first.  He goes on to say that if we are to be an effective manager of ourselves the discipline must come from within.  We become a follower of our deep values and have the integrity to subordinate our feelings, desires and impulses because of our purpose, goals, etc.  E.M. Gray writes “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.  They don’t like doing them either necessarily.  But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose”.

In the Stephen Covey time management matrix we want to be in quadrant II…where we focus our time on activities that are important and not urgent.  When we manage our time from quadrant II we become opportunity minded and think preventatively.  This way we avoid having a high number of crises (oh yes, even the best time managers have crises) and spend more time building relationships, long-term planning, doing preventative maintenance and exercising.

In the book “The Power of Focus” Les Hewitt uses the B-Alert system.  “B” is the blueprint for the day…what are the priorities.  “A” is for action…concentrating on the most important activities that move you toward your goals.  “L” is for learning…always expand your knowledge.  “E” is for exercise and taking care of your body.  “R” is for relaxation…activities to eliminate daily stress.  “T” is for thinking…take time to reflect, to review, to develop new ideas.

Take the time the night before to set a plan for the next day.  Make sure the most important activities occur early in the day.  Look ahead so that things can stay in the important and not urgent quadrant…so that when something does turn upside down you can easily alter the master plan and deal with the crisis without a huge amount of stress.

Creating a blueprint for our days, weeks, months and years will allow us to be in control, to have balance in all areas of our lives, to achieve high performance and leave us more time to adapt to the fires that are sure to happen.