I once worked as an occupational therapist in New Zealand on a wellness programme for clients with chronic health conditions. The focus was on encouraging and promoting self- management strategies to help achieve optimum health. One of the sessions that always sticks in my mind was based on an analogy by Steve Covey on time management and prioritising. I think that this analogy can be used by everybody so I thought that I would share my adapted version with you:
What Are Your Big Rocks?!?
A teacher pulled out a large glass jar and filled it with fist-sized rocks. When no more rocks would fit, she asked the class whether they thought that the jar was full.
“Yes,” they said.
The teacher then then poured a bag of pebbles into the glass jar so that they filled the spaces between the rocks.
“Is the jar full?” she asked again.
“Probably not,” said the group in unison.
She then poured a bag of sand into the glass jar, shaking the jar so that the sand sifted down into the pockets between the pebbles and the rocks.
“Is the jar full?” she asked once more.
“No!” they said with certainty.
Nodding at their response, she took a watering can from behind the desk and poured it into the jar of sand, pebbles and rocks.
“There,” she said, stepping back and wiping her hands. “What message do you think that I am trying to put across to you with this demonstration?”
A smart boy on the front row put his hand up: “It’s obvious! you’re telling us that no matter how busy we are we can always squeeze a bit more into our schedule.”
“No,” the teacher replied. “The lesson is quite the opposite –
IF YOU DON’T PUT THE BIG ROCKS IN FIRST THEN THEY WON’T FIT IN!
Fill the jar with sand and pebbles – the rocks don’t fit!
In this story the big rocks represent the main priorities in your life-your family, your partner, your health, your children-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles represent other things that matter, your job, your car, your house, your hobbies.
The sand and water are the small things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It is easy to fill your life with these things and not have room for for your rocks!
Pay attention to the things that are key to your happiness, the things that really matter-your rocks. Play with your children, spend quality time with your husband, keep yourself healthy. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house and take the rubbish out. Set your priorities around your rocks. The rest is just sand!!
I hope that you found this useful, it is sometimes good to take a step back and reflect on what is important.