Where to start

Updated: Mar 15

First things first

Steph Curry is a great example of turning imagination into reality. He is a great basketball player who continues to get better. “Curry has actually ramped things up in the offseason, and his shooting drills have gotten pretty ridiculous. His trainer says that they now only count swishes as makes during workouts. Anything that touches rim, even if it goes in, doesn’t count” (Lyons, 2021). He is as good as he is because he is so intentional in constantly improving his game.


“Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Management is discipline, carrying it out” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 157). Curry decided that 3-point shooting was going to be an important part of his basketball repertoire. This was a leadership decision. He made it a priority and in his self-management, made himself a basketball phenomenon.

Power of independent will

“Discipline derives from disciple – disciple to a philosophy, disciple to a set of principles, disciple to a set of values, disciple to an overriding purpose, to a superordinate goal or a person who represents that goal” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 157). What are the principles that are guiding your life? How much intensity do you invest in your self-management? “If you are an effective manager of yourself, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 157).

Independent will is one of the basic human endowments. It has a lot to do with getting things done. It goes along with the other three endowments. Self-awareness is important so that we know what is going on.

Four generations of time management

There are different views of time management. The first generation can be considered as looking at notes and checklists. A second generation is calendars and appointment books. The third generation looks at goals in line with personal values.

Fourth generation time management recognizes that “the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. Satisfaction is a function of expectation as well as realization. And expectation (and satisfaction) lie in our Circle of Influence” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 159).

It cannot be focused solely on efficiency. “You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 178). Quality time cannot be scheduled on a calendar the same way that preparing a presentation or report can. When we are focusing on people, people have to be at the center. When dealing with tasks, we are allowed a certain economy of time, deciding how much of it to invest in a certain task.

Delegation: Increasing P and PC

Delegation is “transferring responsibility to other skilled and trained people” (Covey, 1989/2004, p. 180). It allows more to get done. To a certain extent, it can be considered a public victory since other people are involved. However, it belongs to the individual manager’s toolbox.

Delegation can be demeaning or empowering. The person delegating has a lot of the power to decide how it is going to be. The goal is always that the person receiving the task makes it his own. He should want it just as much or more than the manager. This is the key to good delegation. To make sure this happens, there has to be a common understanding about desired results. There should be clear guidelines. The resources should be made available to the person who receives the task. Accountability should be clear, seeing what parameters will be used in evaluation. Consequences of a good or bad evaluation should also be clear.

After working on the habit of beginning with the end of mind and building up personal leadership, it is important to work on this habit of doing the first things first, building up personal management. One of the keys is understanding that it is not about managing time, but rather managing oneself. The seven habits are not a clue to achieve efficiency, but reflect universal laws about how to achieve effectiveness.


Covey, S. R. (1989/2004). The seven habits of highly effective people. Powerful lessons in personal change. Simon and Schuster.

Lyons, D. (2021, October 22). Stephen Curry’s Trainer Shared How Ridiculous His Workouts Have Gotten. Sports Illustrated. https://thespun.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/stephen-curry-workout-trainer-brandon-payne-shooting-drill-no-rim

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