Start with the most important things

Admir Mujkic
7 min readDec 2, 2022

Imagine! The best office in town is yours. A loving and caring household. A profoundly personal sense of accomplishment and success. Each of us has a dream. But even the strongest among us occasionally feel like their ambitions are out of reach and that knowing their boundaries is essential. It would be fantastic if we discovered those restrictions and released the untapped potential that resides within every one of us.

The best office in town is yours. A loving and caring household. A profoundly personal sense of accomplishment and success. Each of us has a dream.

Success is a result of having healthy habits

Let’s imagine that you are visiting a foreign city for the first time. The signs are written in a language you don’t understand, and you are unfamiliar with the streets. How precisely do you intend to navigate this area? What specific route do you have in mind to take to get there? You have to ask these questions right away before you start, don’t you?

Well, if you ask a random stranger on the street for directions, they might respond with something like, “Take this bus,” or “Turn right, then go left, then right again at the traffic light.” And yeah, this may be helpful in the near term, but it’s challenging.

But sooner or later, you will find yourself in the same position again. Using a map or navigation would be a more productive approach, right? Suppose you have an accurate picture of the world around you. In that case, you will always be able to find your way, even in an unfamiliar area.

The process in life itself is not much different. Determination is important. It is far more helpful to learn a few fixed and guiding principles, create a habit, and then follow it than to perform specific actions that may or may not be helpful.

Even with a blind horse, the charioteer will succeed in his mission if he has good vision.

One of the essential things is to achieve the purpose of determination, which goes with the achievement of the ethics of the man’s character. If we achieve certainty, it will establish the basic principle of success. This principle is not specific to any situation. These are profound, unchanging truths about the world. We will achieve lasting results if we align our inner character with these rules.

Successful athletes are victims of habits.

Let’s try to see how this paradigm works in practice. Let’s say you want a happier marriage. Personality ethics would tell you to adopt a new way of communicating or take a particular vacation. In contrast, your character encourages you to work on yourself. He says you must become a person who has a good marriage by cultivating a character based on principles such as fairness, empathy, and trust.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Suppose you want to develop an inner character based on sound principles. In that case, you need to change how you consistently perceive and approach the world around you. In short, making changes based on the personality character paradigm requires cultivating good habits.

You should have control over yourself

One of the key differences between humans and animals is our ability to evaluate things based on reason, as a gift from God. Animals are mostly attached to external stimuli. When they encounter something in the world, they generally react in a pre-programmed way. In contrast, people can pause, think, and decide how to respond.

When you are proactive, you can choose how to engage with the world around you and the opportunity to shape your potential. For example, you can let unexpected rain spoil your picnic plans. Or you can proactively focus on the positive. Instead of thinking about the weather, you can concentrate on enjoying yourself with friends, despite the rain.

This works even under the most challenging circumstances. Here is an example below. Not so long ago, I read about the famous psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. Dr. Viktor spent the Second World War imprisoned in a concentration camp. While his tormentors dictated his external conditions, he realized he was still in control of his reactions. Instead of losing hope, he spent each day imagining a better future where he could teach students how he survived the horror. This proactive response gave him the strength to pull through and fueled his later career as a successful educator.

Viktor Frankl, (1905–1997), Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist.

When you encounter an obstacle at work or in your private life, think carefully about your actions. Don’t immediately succumb to your initial instincts. Instead, step back, consider the root causes of the problem, and then focus your energy on what you can do to positively impact yourself and the environment. With practice, you, too, can foster the power of actively shaping your response to any difficulty.

Put first things first with a priority matrix

Consider the following scenario: Monday at 8:30 a.m., and you’re at work. You have to write a daily report and create a project plan while the phone rings and the printer malfunctions. During all of this, your supervisor comes to your door and requests a meeting. What should be done first, and in what order?

Even when you know your goals, it’s hard to know what steps to take and when. This is where one of the human abilities to put things first comes to the rescue. Or in other words, prioritizing tasks according to their urgency and importance. Because urgent and essential are not the same thing, the triage process is essential.

There are many approaches to time management. Some prefer making a list, others say you should plan your tasks in advance. But the real secret to working efficiently is organizing your efforts according to priorities, and for this you can use the time management matrix.

A time management matrix is a grid that lists your tasks along two dimensions (X, Y): urgency and importance. Urgency equals items X while importance equals Y. To do this, take a piece of paper and draw a two-by-two matrix — four squares. The upper left box is Quadrant I: urgent and essential tasks, such as a sudden crisis, that cannot be ignored.

The upper right box is Quadrant II: Important but not urgent Tasks — long-term projects. At the bottom left is Quadrant III: this is for urgent but not critical tasks, like answering the phone. Finally, at the bottom right is quadrant IV: this is for anything that is neither urgent nor important, like playing some games or having fun.

Once the duties are divided this way, it will be easier to see where to focus your efforts. Although the items in the quadrant are essential, the jobs in quadrant II deserve special attention. They are often the most neglected because they don’t feel urgent. However, they are still necessary and often come with the most significant efficiency gains. Addressing them early will prevent new items from appearing in Quadrant I.

Of course, no one can do everything alone — delegation is necessary. Sometimes putting things first requires delegating items that don’t need your personal touch. Don’t assign tasks. Instead, ask for specific results. After all, when it comes to efficiency, the result is what matters most.

Example of priority matrices with deadlines and their importance.

Take time to take care of yourself

Consider yourself a diligent woodcutter. You start cutting trees in the forest every day. First, a few are simple. The tree falls after several kicks. But over time, you’ll begin to see a worrying pattern. You need progressively more hits to bring down each tree. Removing one tree requires an entire day by the end of the week.

What is the issue? You ignore caring for your tools because you are too busy at work. Your dependable axe, which was once smooth and sharp, is now dull and useless.

Take time to take care of yourself

Even the most dedicated workers will eventually break down if they don’t take breaks. For this reason, one of the most essential habits of high efficiency is rest and re-energization. Simply put, take time to take care of yourself.

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Admir Mujkic

Admir combined engineering expertise with business acumen to make a positive impact & share knowledge. Dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders.