Until you learn Level 5 Time Management… building habits of execution through recurring tasks. I ran the inside sales department for Franklin Quest for four years during the time they were the biggest training company in the world.
This was before Franklin Quest merged with Stephen Covey’s company and became Franklin Covey.
My hobby has been watching over the shoulders of the greats, noticing the patterns, putting the patterns together, and trying to apply them in my life.
Once you have made a list of tasks, put them in order in which you want to get things done.
While at Franklin Quest we often surveyed people to find why they didn’t prioritize: their answer was funny… it takes too much time.
Level 3 Time Management is the Prioritized Daily Task List: Control the events of your life. Franklin Quest taught us that controlling the events of our lives brought us peace of mind.
I remember we taught the story of how Ben Franklin outlined twelve values he deeply believed in.
At the end of his life he said he believed he actually achieved each of those values, except humility, but that one wasn’t his anyway.
Then you prioritize them A (must do), B (should do), and C (could do.) Then if you have time you put a rank order on your A’s, B’s, and C’s with a 1, 2, 3, etc. He believed in universal truths, he called them ‘Principles.’ They were a necessary addition to the agnostic and relativistic ‘Values,’ by definition, of the Level Three disciples.
He warned of spending lots of time building a ladder only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall. You have probably seen the example where you have a jar full of big rocks, a jar of pebbles, a jar of sand, and a jar of water.
It is an amazing visual demonstration to watch someone put the big rocks in first, shake the pebbles, and then the sand around the rocks, and then pour the water in on top and have all four jars settle together.
The right things are those Quadrant Two actions, important but not urgent, that bring the most leverage, but are forever delayed by practicing procrastinators. Making the calls, answering messages, balancing the books, walking the floor, testing the results, hitting your numbers, reporting back, meeting with your people, calling your customers, listening to voicemail, building relationships of trust. I first learned this lesson of life during two years as a Mormon missionary in South Carolina.


The Mormon, Muslim, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Protestant, Agnostic, or Atheist would all fall under this same guideline when we are all measured and weighed in the balance; whether the measure of good is God, conscience, society, or humanity.
The politics of the liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, or progressive are ultimately measured by whether we are full of mere political theories, or do our words turn to action for the good of mankind? How do you discipline yourself to do those key important things every day or week or month that you know you should do? It was Ronald Pierce, the guy in charge of me, who taught me one of life’s profound lessens… steadiness. I went to the five and dime store and bought a large piece of poster board, a sharpie marker, and a yardstick. I put ‘Get Up on Time,’ as the first row on my chart with 60 check boxes, enough for two months. Research we accessed while at Franklin Quest showed that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days to build recurring tasks into a habit. After I had built all four daily recurring actions into habits, I dramatically improved in my steadiness.
Stay tuned for Level 6, where you manage your quarter, your change, your character, and more. When I work on time management with my clients, I also emphasize the importance of a supportive environment to hold you steady and accountable. I found this looking for article like this to link to my personal Google+ new cover photo, Ben Franklin planner. We are looking for SMEs (subject matter experts) for SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show on various topics of interest to startups and small business.
I usually do it in that slow time between Christmas and New Year’s when everyone is trying to finish out the year strong. The skills tend to decay without constant refreshers and over-compensation with process and systems. My job, and that of my team was to fill up 200-300 seminars each month in hotels around the United States with 30-40 people who wanted the peace of mind of being in control of the events of their lives. I hear they are doing very well under the leadership of Robert Whitman; he runs a tight ship.
Their Productivity Pyramid built Long-Range Goals, Intermediate Goals, and Daily Tasks on a foundation of Governing Values. A Quaker friend of his looked them over and commented he really should add humility, so he did.


You set long-range goals, break them down into intermediate goals, and then break them down into bite-sized daily tasks which you write in your Day Planner. Many people are going back and using inserts to fit their iPhone, Android, or iPad into their trusty planner.
Covey, probably one of the most copied titles or headlines, and one of the most impactful books ever written. Covey espoused effectiveness more than efficiency; getting the right things done at the expense of getting lots of things done.
Now an important caveat here, I’m not proselyting for my church, but I am advocating the development of daily habits. Key actions, leverage actions, actions that are pursued until you are finished…  follow through… this is what matters.
I hung it on the inside of the door that went out of my apartment so it would just sit there in my path and bother me until I did my daily recurring tasks, and marked it. Every night I had a checkbox for, “Read a Story to the Kids,” and “Activity” where we played a short game like hide and seek. We all have huge goals to get organized, but it is much like our New Year’s resolution of going to Gold’s Gym; the parking lot is full in January, but by May it is mostly empty again.
He warned we needed to find time for the important roles in our life: Husband, Father, Son, Partner, Friend, Citizen, Author, Self.
The important tasks that align with our roles and principles; we put them into our schedule first. The forward to the book is written by Clayton Christensen, one of my favorite thought leaders.
I didn’t get paid to be there, in fact, I was paying my own way just to knock doors for two years in the humid summers of the Deep South. Electronic devices are great for scheduling and managing contacts but still struggle in tasks and notes. Covey on the day he passed away is still one of my most commented articles… he changed people’s lives all over the world in a way few have.



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