I struggled with being a ‘yes’ person for many years. If a project was worthy and had clear benefit, I had a knee jerk reaction to agree to it despite having an already full schedule.  

Ever heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person?” Well, I took that as justification for cramming as many yeses into my schedule as possible. If I was being asked to do things, it meant I was good at getting things done and who doesn’t want to be good at that? 

Getting things done is great, but doesn’t always mean they are the right things to do if you want your life and business to become the creation you envisioned and what you committed team wise.  

No doubt you have experienced arriving at work with a list of things to do and your organizer full of meetings and other important tasks. And likely, at least one or two urgent and important situations will arise that trumped your planned out day, pushing back the important but non-urgent items you had intended to address.  

If you liked this blog post you might also like the blog "Begin with the end in mind".


Putting first things first asks us to align our activities with the vision we have in life as in business.  

Let’s say you decide that a successful life means you have started your own company, helped to protect natural areas for future generations, and developed meaningful relationships in business and in life.  

Depending on how much time you spend imagining and detailing your life vision, you will have a very clear sense of how deeply it connects with what you truly value. You might paint in broad strokes and say you want to be successful and well-respected, but going into these ideas more deeply you may recognize that you want your life to be the product of integrity and diligence. 

We put first things first when we measure and organize what we do against how well they contribute to our mission in life and as part of a team and organization.  

From the dream into physical reality

Putting first things firsts requires a clear sense of where you are going so you can effectively structure your time and tasks on a daily basis to support that. 

This is not easy work - you have to ask yourself what you really want to do and who you want to be in this life…and then keep a consistent read on how well your daily actions align your mission in life and as part of a team. 

So take some time to read over your personal mission statement or strategy and check in with it several times a week to see if you are creating the results you say you want or getting distracted by things that seem important, but really aren’t. 

Taking the step of putting first things first moves your dream of into physical reality. By harmonizing your actions with your goals or objectives, you will create a highly effective, meaningful life, both professionally and personally. 

As for me, I can now listen with genuine interest to people and their projects, measure how well they fit in with my personal mission and then accept, decline, or seek a solution that meets both our needs, knowing that I am moving in the direction of the results I want and are committed to.  

If you liked this blog you might also like "Being proactive in business and in life"


Jamie Mathis - 7 habits facilitator and mindfulness coach at TimeXtender