Invest in “Foundation-Building” Time
There’s a little saying that goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Create the time to make the right stitches, and you’ll be spared much time, hassle (and usually expense) later. Stephen Covey refers to this concept in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ($16, amazon.com). According to him, we spend our time primarily on four types of activity:
- (1) urgent and important (crisis, deadlines, putting out fires)
- (2) non-urgent and important (building relationships, identifying opportunities, prevention, planning)
- (3) urgent and non-important (interruptions, phone calls, meetings)
- (4) non-urgent and non-important (TV, email, time wasters)
Covey says that we spend most of our time in sections (1) and (4), but the real area of personal growth is in (2). If you’re spending more time putting out fires than building the right foundations, you’ll never get out ahead of your to-do list.