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First Things First

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Submitted By pinky22
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The key to true happiness is arguably achieving balance and self actualization. To obtain perfect mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social harmony is to experience nirvana. For an organization this state of nirvana translates to meeting and exceeding its aims while maintaining the highest levels of quality, employee/ customer satisfaction, and often profitability. This can only be achieved through concise planning, high efficiency, and a bit of luck. We must begin with a focus; all organizations operate with a goal in mind. It is human nature in that we must have some sort of shiny gold star or an orchestra of applause and accolades to motivate us in order to thrive in our endeavors. How we come to achieve our goals is based on motivations and effectiveness. Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First looks at time management strategies and how one can best achieve effectiveness and therefore succeed in obtaining their goals
Covey’s approach to effectiveness works with two very important dynamics in mind illustrated by the clock and the compass. There has to be reasonable amount of resources available as we contend with our aspirations or else one will face stress and frustrations hindering one in their pursuits therefore some self analysis and planning is required.
“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 our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities what we do with, and how we manage our time. The compass represents our vision, values, principals, mission, conscious, direction—what we feel is important and how we lead our lives.” (Covey 20)

As Covey illustrates with the clock, time is a very important part of our lives. We live by schedules eat, sleep, work, play; there is much to do and often so little time to take it all on. Time is one of the biggest ideals instilled in us from childhood. School - aged children have tightly structured class time and times designated for play or eating, once home parents often continue this strict regimen with dinner then homework perhaps a few minutes of entertainment and then brush your teeth and off to bed. These habits soon become second nature and while we all admit we have our routines seldom do we stop to examine if it working for us as best it should.
Quadrant I: Things that are both important and urgent. Quadrant II: Things that are important but not urgent.

Quadrant III: Things that are not important but urgent. Quadrant IV: Things that are not important and not urgent There are many generic approaches to time management in the expanding genre or self help literature. Each has its strengths and weaknesses however one must keep in mind their uniqueness. One of the preliminary steps in finding advantageous ways of going about ones pursuits is to prioritize. Covey suggests looking at what is urgent, what demands your immediate attention, and what is important, what may be vital to your quest. A schema of Covey four quadrants of identifying what is urgent and what is important is shown below.
Quadrant I: the first quadrant includes things that are both important and urgent such as crisis and deadlines. These are things that must be done, and must be done now and are the source of much stress and frustration. [Students in HCA 220 working on their personal statement the day it is due]
Quadrant II: the second quadrant is said to be the key taking care of things that are important but not necessarily urgent matters. Here we can attempt to maintain control and address some matters before they reach quadrant one. [HCA 220 students keeping up with their readings and taking concise lecture notes to reduce exam time cramming]
Quadrant III: the third quadrant contains things that may be seen a distractions or annoyances that hinder one in taking care of items from quadrant II. [Studying for your HCA 220 exam when a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time calls wanting to catch up over coffee]
Quadrant IV: the fourth quadrant is composed of things that are seen as wasteful and irresponsible such as time wasters (television, video games etc.,) that are both distracting and unnecessary. [Checking updates on Myspace instead of going over your class notes]
As administrators by breaking things down into these categories both personally and then for your organization one can look at those things which may be both on the top or their important list and most urgent and proceed with highest priorities. This helps one to both create a plan of action and to set smaller reasonable goals breaking down big task into manageable less stressful duties. This also helps one to explore where there is overlap in their internal and external goals and motivations.
To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy Simple yet complex and stress provoking worlds. Many of live our lives racing against the sand in the hourglass. When illness or tragedy strikes our lives or loved ones we grieve if only we had more time. Covey suggest letting go of the clock. And idea that would incite terror in the hearts of many, including myself. There have been a few times where I have left my watch or cellular phone and had to seek out clocks in the buildings and devices around my. At the end of the day I felt more exhausted more confused as if I had just wandered through my day aimlessly. Why are we so ruled by time and to do list? As the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People illustrations it is about willpower and self discipline.
In human development infants go from crying because they want/ need something to crying to get what they want. Apply these principles and then do not simply sit back and hope all goes well observe the response examine the changes in the environment, in your internal state and in your progress and modify as necessary. Covey is very clear about sticking with what works for your but being flexible and willing to accept change and discard things they while they may have worked in the past or they are not of the best efficiency but are comfortable for you. The idea of self limitations was a very big theme in the HCA leading professions course. Each student in the classroom is a unique individual with some various types and temperaments in common but otherwise no two people the same. Sharing a common experience sitting in the classroom hearing the same lecture viewing the same slides but each with a different vantage point. We should identify our strengths and weakness, our commonalities and our difference as we did in the leading professions course but understand that no one is on a higher plane. We each start of at the very same point our motivations and our ability to create and thrive with systematic efficiency helps us to transcend while only our self limitations can stifle our success.
Identify Your First Things First Healthcare is the largest industry in the United States. While there is money to be made in healthcare at the end of the day it is a service industry. We as administrators of various health facilities are to ensure that we provide care at the best of our ability and beyond to ensure patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes. The action of administrators effect the financing and delivery of care to the patient population. As aspiring health professionals a key component to leading others is the ability to identify positive and negative characteristics of oneself and therefore help to identify your own self importance and why you are a vital member of your organization, family, or society. “Self-awareness prompts us to start where we are - no illusions, no excuses - and helps us to set realistic goals” (Covey). Keeping the quadrant in mind are important aspect of my life or the aim of my organization taking a backseat to “urgent” matter such as building capital or gaining status? Are your principles taking a backseat to your greed or agendas? “Most of us feel it would be great if we are in control of our lives. But the fact is, we're not in control; principles are. We can control our choices, but we can't control the consequences of these choices” (Covey). While many of these aspects may seem vital to running your organization or maintaining a home, and often are glamorized as what it means to be successful they lack the sustenance to maintain longevity and certainly do not in themselves provide happiness or ensure success.

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