What Are Your Rocks?

I came across this old story and I think most of us can use the reminder.  It goes something like this:

A professor stood in front of a class told his students to prepare for a pop quiz about time management. He then proceeded to pull out a big jar and place it on his desk.

He then gently placed about a dozen large rocks into the jar one by one.

When he ran out of space in the jar to place any more rocks inside he asked the class: ‘is the jar full?’

Every student in the class said, "Yes."

The professor said ‘are you certain?’

The then lifted a small bucket of gravel and poured some of the gravel into the jar. He shook the jar a bit so the gravel could settle.

Again he asked the class ‘is the jar full?’

At this point the students knew better than to say yes.

Without waiting for a response, the professor lifted a small bucket of sand from the floor and poured the sand into the jar.

The sand filled in the space between the rocks and gravel.

The professor asked the students once more: "Is the jar full?"

Almost in unison, the students all said "No!"

The professor replied ‘you’re catching on’ and then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the top.

After setting the pitcher down the professor asked the class: ‘students, what does this exercise teach you about time management?’

A student raised his hand and said ‘we have more time than we think we do and there is always room to get more done?’

"No," said the professor. Actually the point of the exercise is this:

"If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all."

So what are your ‘big rocks?’

Are you starting your planning each week with them?

Are you making sure they get prioritized each day?

Each of us has the same size jar. Twenty-four hours a day. 168 hours per week.

What are you filling yours with?

Your big rocks (the largest number of hours) should be the things you find most important.

You need to place them in your jar (on your schedule) first. If you don’t, you’ll never have enough time to really give them the attention they deserve.

These are your priorities. The things which are important to you. Treat them that way.

Because if you don’t, someone else will decide what to place in your jar and you’ll never have enough time to spend with your family, build the life you want or reach any of your goals.

So decide what’s important to you and give it the time it deserves.