First Things First is a self-help book by Stephen Covey focused on time management and holistic life balance. This 1995 book has always played an important part of my life as I try to live by the philosophy it teaches of sorting tasks and projects into Quadrants.
This diagram has been a part of my planner for years to review daily (or at least that is my goal!).
Reviewing this page today revealed a perfect analogy between cancer (or other health issues) and time management.
Most of us spend our life in Quadrant III which is considered the Not Urgent and Not Important projects or tasks. Examples of the Quadrant III items are busy work, email, phone calls, irrelevant mail, etc. The second largest part of our day is spent in Quadrant I which is Urgent and Important projects or tasks. This is where we are managing in crisis mode, handling pressing problems, and meeting last minute deadlines.
The key to holistic life balance is spending our time in Quadrant II. This Quadrant encompasses the Not Urgent but Important projects and tasks. Spending time in Quadrant II would prevent or greatly reduce ending up in the chaos of Quadrant I (Urgent/Important). A Quadrant II life is about Planning, Prevention, Preparation, Values clarification, Relationship Building and True recreation (much needed rest and recovery time).
So you may be asking, what does this have to do with cancer/disease? Let’s start with Planning. Ask yourself, what will I do this week with regards to my health to keep me out of Quadrant I or managing in crisis mode? If you are running from activity to activity with nothing to eat at home, most likely you will stop and pick up fast food.
Let’s examine the Quadrant II approach which is Important but not Urgent. We spend one hour on Saturday afternoon planning what to cook, create a shopping list and go to the store. We plan one hour Sunday afternoon to prepare one or two healthy meals to eat for lunch or dinner.
Planning and taking time for the important will help prevent my family from eating junk and dining out and wasted money on low quality food which sets our body up for disease. When we provide our body with nutrient dense whole foods, we perform better mentally, physically and emotionally. If we want to be the best mom, dad, business owner or employee and remain healthy, spending time in Quadrant II is our only option.
Quadrant II also entails Values Clarification. Almost every person I know says that health is a priority. However, if we are not spending the time in Prevention, Planning and Preparation, our Values may be inconsistent which can lead to distress and stress.
Ignoring the Important but Not Urgent Quadrant II concepts create stress, illness and disease which are perfect precursors to cancer. Being diagnosed with cancer lands us directly into the Urgent and Important Quadrant I. My mission is to help people understand that power of nutrients from food and that making time for their health is well worth the effort. Simply put, it is the “pay now or pay later” theory. I hope you decide to take time now.