Immediate Results

“Immediately following the 1st session, the team’s language had changed as had the approach. They started questioning where a proposed activity would sit in the time matrix and whether or not they should act on it or discard it.”

Contributed by a 5 Choices webinar participant, January 2012, United Kingdom

Cutting Off Many Q4 Items

“Regarding The 5 Choices strategies, I’ve been doing more the “30” than the “10” in the “30/10” scheme. I’ve been putting the Big Rocks in my agenda. And I had the opportunity to talk with many people about the Time Matrix.  My husband and I have been able to cut off many Q4 items from our lives. Now I need to execute the 5-Week action plan.”

5 Choices Participant, March 2012, Brazil


More Time for Q2

I have to say that this is probably one of the most applicable courses to apply to day-to-day life both at work and at home.  I now receive much fewer emails (due to rules), have fewer Q1 and Q3 events and somehow have more time for Q2 now! I have been able to not only work on, but complete big projects I had been trying to “find time” for in the past.

At home I have been able to schedule one on one time with all 5 kids and my husband each week since the class! Things are good!

We have started using the time matrix in our staff meetings and each person talks about what Q1 and Q2 events they have going on each week and what items they need assistance from others on.  It have improved our discussions and efficiency at these meetings. I am also teaching this course to a group of 15 leaders today- wish me luck! Thank you for providing such a good course that has improved many of my days since!

–Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

Very Useful, Helpful, and Valuable Information

I enjoyed The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity class. Very useful, helpful, and valuable information was shared.  I applied many of the lessons learned over the past three weeks both at work and at home.

I am already better organized with my Microsoft Outlook emails.  I automatically send certain categories of emails to “Delete”.  I made some folders to move other routine categories of emails into that I monitor on a monthly basis.  A feature I started using and am really enjoying is Tasks.  I am better able to track all that I do and need to do.  It helps during staff meetings when updating the group.  Also in Tasks, I save all emails and documents/hyperlinks associated with completing that Task.  It’s nice keeping items in one common area so my “Core Four” are better organized now.

Three key members of our team attended the class earlier in May and we started using the Time Matrix at our staff meetings later that same week.  Of course the first meeting was to present the concept and show an example of how to use the Time Matrix.  It has helped focus our meetings and I believe helps each individual focus their priorities throughout the day and week.

I am more aware of things that pull me toward Q3 and Q4 and can better ward those off.

Thank you for presenting the class.  Again, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.

-Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

Fantastic Foundation

The FranklinCovey consultant did an incredible job of explaining the material in detail.  The material was Off-The-Hood GREAT.  I have implemented a lot of what he taught us and it has already made an impact on my business.  I have been searching to find a way to keep all my stuff in one spot and not use the paper product.  I feel I now have a fantastic foundation to build upon and I am utilizing Outlook 1000% more effectively than I had in the past.  The Core 4, the Quadrants, the 30 Minute Weekly Planning and the 10 Minute Daily Planning, the review of the Notes section with the Goals I’m setting, etc., have all had a huge impact.

So, thanks for providing a great program and for pushing this material onto the students in a steady and well thought out format.

–Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

The 5 Choices Has Changed My Life

Taking and applying the 5 Choices has changed my life, increased my productivity dramatically on the job and has had an amazing effect on my personal life!

I was soooo good at meeting deadlines, keeping up on the actions with the due dates, making sure all the Q1’s and Q3s’ got done. People described me as organized, and productive. But there were all these things I should do that I just never got to because they had no deadline, no due date – until they became a Q1 and THEN they got done. Taking the course, and reading the 5 Choices monograph made me realize I was very efficient by not effective.

I attended a 5 Choices World Tour event (a 3 hour overview of the class) on Nov 1, 2011 and that night I created a Big Rock zone from 7-8am each work day, where I could focus on a big rock – something important but not urgent. Luckily I kept a list. Because in two months I had accomplished amazing things and got one of my best reviews ever. I got through so much! So over the Christmas break I went back and read the monograph and then I started implementing all the Choice 4 ideas. Wow was that exiting! I got approval to take the full class, where I learned more, and thought wouldn’t it be amazing if I could teach the class!?! I have now completed training 3 groups and am preparing for two more. This is in addition to my regular learning program management job, at which I have done exceptionally well in spite of the increased workload.

What I didn’t expect is how the concepts would seep into my personal life. I work hard during the week and on the weekends by the time I have done the laundry, and figured out shopping list, and done some cooking, and paid bills – I was done. Tired. Out of steam. Now I have a Big Rock  – something important but not urgent – scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday morning. I do it FIRST, and then do all the other stuff, and I am feeling so much more in control of my life! I find I apply the principles constantly, cleaning out my closet, organizing my files, planning trips, etc.

Working on my role statement also improved my relationship with my husband – I wrote out my role statement as Robert’s best friend and partner and reviewed it with him. He was blown away but said to be truly extraordinary it would be wonderful for him if I added one more piece, something I didn’t even know he wanted me to do. I added his recommendation and we have a quarterly review meeting to see where we are, and each chose one Big Rock to do each quarter – and are making significant progress! We feel so much more in control.  Robert loves it and appreciates so much the effort I am putting into being an extraordinary wife.

So you can see I am off to another great year thanks to the 5 Choices!

Submitted by Elise, a FranklinCovey Client Facilitator

My Best Work

In a former a job, I had the responsibility of blogging twice per month for a company column. I was supposed to write the blog and submit it on a Friday. Someone else on my team would proof read for spelling and grammar errors on Monday morning and the blog would be posted by 2:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon.  This gave me almost two full weeks to choose a topic, to formulate ideas, and to write. It was a very “Q2 Plan” and it should have worked well. The problem is, I rarely followed it. Instead, I would wake up Monday morning and frantically chose a topic. I would quickly write the blog and send it off to my team. Sometimes I would get it to them by 10:00 a.m., but sometimes it would be noon. Of course, I never really thought about what this did to the person who had to proof it or the one who had to post it. The blog would always magically appear by 2:00 p.m. and I thought all was well. Since I was in a leadership position, no one ever complained or alerted to me to the crisis going on behind the scenes.

Then I learned about the 5 Choices and as I listened, I started to recognize some things. First, I realized that I often believe I work better in “crisis mode”. I like the rush of adrenaline. At the time, I didn’t see it as a biochemical and primitive reaction. I believed it was a rush of prime creativity. Second, I started to see how often I was creating a “Q1 Crisis” for the members of my team.

It was apparent to me that I needed to make a change. So after the class, I decided to follow the plan. I picked my blog topic as I drove home that day and I gave myself until Thursday to think about the subject.  I then scheduled an hour to write on Thursday. On Friday morning, I scheduled an hour to preview my work, made changes and I sent the blog off before noon. My team wondered out loud if I was leaving for vacation. “No”, I told them. “I’m just trying to follow the plan.” They looked skeptical.

Overtime, as I broke my bad habits, team members told me how much they appreciated the extra time to get their work done. They missed fewer mistakes and even started adding new elements like photos and graphics to make the column more fun and appealing.  And I noticed something else. Despite my belief that I worked in better in “crisis mode”, the blogs I wrote after I started to follow the plan were 1000% better than the ones I wrote before. After all this time I’ve learned something new. It is this: When I give myself time to think, to widen my perspective, and to review my thoughts… when I work in PLANNING mode… This is when I do my BEST work!

Contributed by Suzette Blakemore – Regional Practice Leader – Productivity

Acting and Reacting

It was a great start for the extraordinary productivity ….

I stopped by acting and reacting and thought for a while and asked myself, “Was I more into acting to reacting?” Honestly I was more into reacting and getting my self imposed to react with the urgency of other’s demands (in work & personal life even).

I was trying during the week to start practicing the acting and being proactive; more or less results was fine at the moment and expected to be much better by practicing and focusing.

Following the Time Matrix principle has given me the chance to quit a bad habit which upsets my family. I really managed to keep my laptop at the office over the weekend.

I was trying to keep my self away from Quadrant 4. I knew when to say NO and am a bit not anymore interested to be in Quadrant 3. I need to admit this week I spent most of my time in Quadrant 1 and this is exceptional as we had a new product launch for the whole week to our customers.

I’ll keep an eye and get more space in Quadrant 2 …. Awaiting for the second choice.

Submitted by Mo’ayyad AL-Quwaqzeh, FranklinCovey Client

The Sandwich Effect

As a “middle weight” manager, I am sandwiched in from above & below from those who report to me & for those to whom I report.  Additionally, with vendors, other departments and the organization’s initiatives, I am being squeezed out of my Quadrant 2 home and placed into the prison of Quadrant 1.  Eveyone wants whatever I have to offer yesterday.  I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. 

It was such a blessing to simply hear the metaphor, “schedule the big rocks.”  Those are my non negotiables.  They help me learn to say, “No!” without feeling guilty (or afraid of retaliation!).  Those big rocks are vital to my work & home life.  Every day now, I write down 3-5 big rocks, and if I can get 2 of those done, I have accomplished more than I would have had I never scheduled them to begin with.  Big Rocks are awesome!

Submitted by Katherine Wiley, FranklinCovey Client