Click on the play button to find more about choosing the main thing

In This Episode…

In this episode I continue my journey to discover how to define my Main Thing.  I build on last week’s episodes on this theme and in particular cover the following topics:

  • Possible answers to the primary question “What do I do right now?”
  • The two possible categories your main thing might fall into.
  • How the Main Thing relates to Stephen Covey’s four box Time Management Matrix.
  • The dichotomy between reactive and proactive activities.
  • My next stop to help me answer the question “How do I define my Main Thing?”

Episode Show Notes

00:09 – This episode continues last week’s theme of identifying the Main Thing. It was Stephen Covey who popularised the concept of the Main Thing.

00:56 – Our challenge as human beings is we are hardwired to detect and be distracted by novelty – it is a survival mechanism.

01:59 – In today’s society where distracting things (media, advertising, our smartphones etc) is the norm, our hardwired natural reactions don’t serve us well for this environment.

02:30 – The more we can focus (on our Main Thing), the more rewarding and fulfilling life we are going to have.

02:56 – How do you choose your main thing. Well it is likely to be the answer to the primary question “What do I do right now?”

03:33 – There are things you COULD do from your range of options. The problem here is picking something random from your to do list isn’t always a good choice.

03:58 – There are things that you MUST do. These are often the reactive and urgent things that cross our path.

04:18 – Then you have the things you SHOULD do. These are the things that are in line with what you are trying to achieve. You could call this the BEST thing to do right now.

04:50 – Depending on the environment you are working in, the Main Thing may have different qualities for different roles in different environments. For example:

  • Keeping something running or getting something going.
  • Process versus project.
  • Transacting versus translating ideas into reality

06:07 – You might find yourself with feet in both camps of these extremes.

06:52 – We are a creature of the here and now and focusing on the long term goes against our natural tendencies.

08:14 – Stephen Covey talked about his Time Management Matrix as part of his third habit – Put First Things First.

  • Quadrant I – Urgent & Important
  • Quadrant II – Not Urgent & Important
  • Quadrant III – Urgent & Not Important
  • Quadrant IV – Not Urgent & Not Important
Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix
Source – The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

09:56 – Assuming we only ever do important stuff then we will usually find ourselves flip flopping between Quadrants I and II.

10:11 – There is a dichotomy here. Often we find ourselves drawn towards the urgent at the expense of the non-urgent. However if we were to spend a little more time thinking about things longer term, we might be able to head off some of the reactive stuff that presents itself as urgent.

11:56 – Choosing what to do often means leaning on the best information you have at that time and making a decision to move forward with that.

12:43 – I am still trying to work out a structured way of deciding what the main thing is so I can advise others on how to do the same.

13:51 – I am going to lean on a great resource by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – their book called “The One Thing”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.