A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing…

I am a firm believer in the concept or maxim that major success is the result of many minor successes (and, as this is real life, many minor failures or “lessons” along the way).

So, having started out on this initial 5 week journey a mere 3 days ago, you would be forgiven for thinking to yourself, “how has he the gall to talk about success so soon?” Rather than thinking of success, which is so often fleeting, I would prefer to say I think I have made some progress. Having participated in or sponsored training in The 7 Habits, The Pro-Active Leader, Great Leaders and the 4 Disciplines of Execution within the past 12 months, I will admit substantial elements of the 5 Choices were already familiar to me. The session was extremely useful, however, both as a “sharpen the saw” exercise and as a stimulus to improve my digital work life.

I have been able to clarify for myself and my team the vital few Quadrant 2 initiatives we need to be spending our efforts and energy on this year and refocus other activities to reduce and hopefully eliminate Quadrant 4 waste.

I set up rules for my Outlook mailbox, have learned and started to apply lessons using Tasks and (on my iPad) Reminders, have integrated the simple techniques for pasting emails into tasks and my calendar to schedule preparation time and ensure on time completion and have availed of Notes on the iPad, linking with Reminders and Tasks, to improve my productivity and responsiveness.

I shared my few recently gained tips with my team and a couple of colleagues and they too were excited and motivated to learn some simple techniques that could improve their productivity and simplify their working life.

I have a lot more to learn, but simply applying the little I have learnt in the past few days has already delivered benefits.

Submitted by John Murphy, FranklinCovey Client

Give It A Name

I am excited to have attended the FranklinCovey Time Management workshop offered by my employer. 

Because our industry (Automotive) is such a fast paced business where previous customer retention, broadening your existing customer base through branding, farming and developing potential new customers is so critical to what we do, I recognize I was already prioritizing many activities in a similar fashion as was outlined in the 5 Choices Workshop.  Simply, I am compelled to focus on one goal and temporarily discard another because of the daily constraints on my time to do everything I need to do to achieve those goals on a daily or weekly basis. I just didn’t have a name for it other than “prioritizing” or have an actual set of well defined categories for those priorities, as is effectively accomplished in the 5 Choices by defining and utilizing the 4 Quadrants.

Anything that can minimize or eliminate the potential of a cluttered approach toward achieving any goal can only in the end prove beneficial and aid in that effort.  So I am excited to have the opportunity to incorporate the 4Q/5 Choices approach to time management to my day to day activities and what I do. 

Submitted by Stan Adkins, FranklinCovey Client




Stan Adkins


Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet


Independence, Missouri

Technology Addiction?

After defining my Quadrant 2 Roles and really thinking about what was important in my life I started looking at how I spent my evenings.  I noticed (and so did my wife) that I spent considerable amount of time on the computer or my smartphone.  This often meant less time with my family.  Realizing that this was not in line with my Q2 role relating to being a great husband and father I decided to cancel the data plan on my phone and reduce the time on the computer at home.  (I can hear the gasps from many of you because I’ve heard them from my co-workers already… how can he not survive without a smartphone?!)

I still remember that for the first couple of days when there was down time I’d reach for my smartphone to check email or read my favorite blogs only to realize that I was no longer “connected.”  Habits that had been formed over the past few years would not easy break.  It also has been slightly challenging getting used to not having the “convenience” of having data at my fingertips.  I’ve had to print out maps, call people rather than email/texting, and often go without information at times.

Well it’s been a few weeks and I am still alive!  Actually I’ve found I have much more time to spend with my children and our relationships have greatly improved.  I notice that I pay more attention to people around me at work or around town.  I also notice how many people have their heads buried in technology as they go from one place to another not noticing people around them.  I don’t think I’ll forever be without a data plan… but this has definitely been a good exercise about disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with reality.  It has greatly helped to refuel my fire and refocus my life around what I feel is important.

Submitted by Kurt Kirkham, FranklinCovey Client

Your Brain Needs a Rest – This is a “Q2” Not a “Q4” Activity!

I find so many people in my sessions defiantly  telling me they “like” Quadrant 4″, because they like watching tv, surfing the internet…it’s just the way it is, they say….I love when I hear that because my next question is….”so is taking some time for tv or the internet important for you to do to relax? ”  And I get a resounding, “YES!!!”  If it is important I gently point out, then it is a very, very good quadrant 2 activity…where important lives.  And they go, OOOOHHHH…I SEE!!!!  And they learn it is OKAY to take a break.  We are only in Quadrant 4 when it becomes EXCESSIVE, choosing to watch tv for hours and then paying the price knowing you SHOULD have been spending that excessive time on something much more important to you and the people around you.

Be kind to yourself…I know some of us overachievers feel like we have to keep moving, get things done.  But we cannot get things done well if our brains are exhausted.  When we think or plan or do create work we are using about 20% of our entire body’s energy load.  You MUST pause and let your pre-frontal cortex regenerate.  Research shows that by just pausing for even 10 minutes, you will do much better work or even have a much healthier conversation with family members.  Watch TV if you like.  Play a round of Angry Birds.  Take a walk around the office building and just quiet your mind.    Me?  I love a good People magazine once a week on the airplane.  Just to not have to think very hard, laugh a little (very good brain food) and take my mind off of everything else.  Just for a little while.  Very, very q2!

Contribvted by Kory Kogon – Global Practice Leader – Productivity

The Empty Inbox is Not Just a Dream

Having taught “time management” for over 24 years now I can honestly say that the 5 Choices is the best content and product out in the market place at this time!

What Franklin Covey has done is remarkable. This content is hitting the needs of the client exactly where the pain is. One of the most liberating processes taught in this course is how to manage your inbox. Most clients I meet with have over 1000+ emails in their inbox and are wasting many hours each day just sorting through them. To show them how to empty their inbox everyday is one of the most rewarding things I do. I like to use the Time Matrix to help sort my email.

It all starts with your mindset about WHAT AN INBOX IS. It is NOT a storage space, it’s NOT a to do list and yet that is exactly the belief of many people. This mindset drives a behavior of keeping most email in the inbox while sorting through them everyday and wasting valuable time.

The truth is, the inbox is a message delivery service. If we have that mindset, we will then look at email in an entirely different way. We will “turn our email into what it really is”. If the email is actionable (a task or an appointment) and can be done later (Q2), we will drag and drop it into our task list or our calendar. If the email is not actionable (note, contact info, or reference material) we will drag and drop it to it’s appropriate folder or icon. Now that leaves us with Q1 email that we will deal with right now and Q3 email that we can forward on to someone else or delete. That’s it! We now have an empty inbox.

If we will live in our calendar view with our tasks showing and go to our inbox every hour or so, we can use this system to keep even the largest inbox under control.

Contributed by Tony Morris, FranklinCovey Consultant

Am I causing someone else’s Quadrant 1’s & 3’s????

Being productive means being “intentional” and very self aware…And so, I need to examine my own motives and behaviors to stop putting other people into Quadrant 1 & 3.  Am I creating and holding an unproductive meeting?  Am I asking for people to do things “right now”, when I may not need a report or project for a couple of weeks out?  Am I waiting until the last moment to delegate or to even ask a peer for help?  Am I the one stepping into someones office or texting and saying, “Do you have 30 seconds”?  which of course can turn into 30 minutes? 

The more I become aware of (or admit) my tendency to “quad 1 or 3” others, and then THINK before acting, the more I can change my behavior and think about how NOT to throw others into an unhealthy and sometimes useless state of urgency.  If each of us takes “accountability” of thinking through the Time Matrix framework and how it effects each other, the more a team or family gel and then can move towards real, high quality accomplishment of what is really important.

Contributed by Kory Kogon, FranklinCovey Global Productivity Practice Leader

I Am Accountable

Removing  barriers to high productivity starts first and foremost with ourselves.  I am constantly looking inside myself to figure out “what’s my fault” around productivity….

Here is one of my personal “watchouts” to being highly productive.  Anybody out there ever PROCRASTINATE?  I have done that.  And…I’ve learned NOT TO.  Why?  Because some things that are urgent AND important (Quadrant I) are never going away.  AND…when I choose to leave something to the last minute I am making Quadrant I larger than it needs to be, creating my own unhealthy stress.  Through our research around the 5Choices,  I am very clear about the effects of stress on the human mind and body.  For that reason, I now avoid procrastination at all costs.  It is in my control to do that…..and I sleep better at night!

Contributed by Kory Kogon, FranklinCovey Global Productivity Practice Leader