Finding Your Big Rock
Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day so that you could accomplish more with your time, and fit all that did not quite “fit” into the day? I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point in our lives and for me it has happened more times than I’d like to admit. There have been many days where I wished I could split myself into two so that I could meet all the responsibilities and obligations. It seems that the older one gets, the more demands there seem to be on our time.
If you are like me, you’d think that if we manage our time better, we can squeeze in more each day. We can get more done because we are more efficient. We strive for efficiency yet we forget that we have only 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. If we take a step back and reflect, we’d realize that being effective does not necessarily mean squeezing in more accomplished tasks or finished works into the same amount of time. The essence of effective time management is prioritizing. It’s about ensuring that we accomplish what we need to and should accomplish in a certain amount of time. A while back while researching on time management, I came across this story about finding your “big rock” and it is one that I believe illustrates the concept of time management perfectly.
The story of big rocks starts with a professor and a large glass jar filled with several big rocks. The students are asked whether they believe the glass jar to be full. Most nod and agree that the jar is indeed full. It’s filled with big rocks. The professor then takes out a bag of sand and pours it into the glass. Once again the students are asked if the glass jar is now full and once again most students agree. The empty space between the big rocks has been filled with sand. The professor, however, is not finished and brings out a jar of water. He pours water into the glass jar with the big rocks and the sand. Now the glass jar is full (I suppose you could add a few more flowers on top, but it is essentially full).
This story illustrates a key point with regards to time management: time is the jar, the big rocks are your priorities, and sand and water represent the unimportant tasks and unexpected things that come into our lives. The story teaches us that if we do not first prioritize and put the big rocks into the glass jar, we would not be able to fit all the elements. Try pouring in sand and water first and then put in the big rocks. You’ll find that there would not be enough space.
If we compare this to our priorities in life, let’s take a moment to reflect about what we consider to be the big rocks in our life. For some it’s family and being with those we love. For others, it may be our careers or business and having time to achieve our goals. The list is endless and the big rocks for everyone will be different and will change over time. For example, if you are now prioritizing your health, make time for it. If family is important, make time to be with them, and if your career or work is your priority, that is your big rock.
Whatever your “big rock” is in life, remember to first put it into the glass jar. Prioritize and make time for it. If not, your time will be filled with sand and water. With advancements in technology I find that it is even more challenging to manage time as scrolling through the social media, Instagram feeds and Youtube seem to magically make me lose sense of time. Remember this (and to remind myself), if there’s something you want to accomplish in life, it is your “big rock.” Once you know what it is, put it in the glass and make time for it. Schedule it into your calendar and work at it. Remember that there will be sand and water, but as long as you focus on your big rocks, you’ll accomplish what you set out to achieve.