According to Steven Covey...
First generation: reminders
- Followers of this approach limit their time management efforts to keeping lists and notes.
- They see these papers as reminders.
- Items that are not done by the end of the day are transferred to the next day's list in the evening.
Second generation: planning and preparation
- People in the second generation use calendars and appointment books.
- They will note where meetings are held and identify deadlines; this is sometimes even done on a computer.
- As opposed to the first generation, the second generation plans and prepares, schedules future appointments, and sets goals. This in turn saves their time.
Third generation: prioritizing, controlling
- Third generation time managers prioritize their activities on a daily basis.
- They tend to use detailed forms of daily planning on a computer or on a paper-based organizer.
- This approach implies spending some time in clarifying values and priorities.
Fourth generation: being efficient and proactive
- Stephen R. Covey, in First Things First, refers to his approach as the 4th generation time management, and emphasizes the difference between urgency and importance in planning.
- For example: some people may go their entire lives completely missing out on important things (like spending time with their children before they have grown up) because it was never "urgent."
- The point is not to ignore urgent things, but to embrace important things without waiting for them to become urgent.
- Urgency can be deceptive. It can make some unimportant things appear to be important. Also, making time for important things may require spending less time on unimportant things, regardless of their urgency.