I have been traveling a lot the past couple of weeks and was catching up on my reading today, when I learned that Stephen R. Covey died on July 17, 2012. Apparently, he had a bicycle accident back in April and died of complications from the accident. I am sad to see him go.
Back in the late 80's, I started to get into time management in an effort to be more productive. Like many people at the time, I began with a Franklin Planner and even took a course on how to use it. The Franklin method made a big impact on me and helped me begin my decades-long relationship with productivity methods. In the 90's, I discovered Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," which helped me re-frame why I did things and helped me more consciously work on more impactful activities. This matrix is one I still think about as I plan what I want to work on:
From this book, I began to embrace the "Sharpen the Saw" concept and tried to spend more time in Quadrant 2, Important but Not Urgent. I also learned the value of outcome-oriented thinking with his principle to "Begin With the End In Mind," and tried to create mutually beneficial results with his admonition to "Seek First To Understand." Very powerful and motivating stuff.
I have since turned to other methods for the "how" part of productivity (such as David Allen's Getting Things Done, and my current favorite system, Michael Linenberger's Master Your Workday Now), but Stephen Covey's work is still my anchor for the "why" part of productivity.
Rest in peace, Dr. Covey - and congratulations on a fine legacy.