Do you feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get things done? Are you scrambling from one task to the next, but never feeling like you’ve accomplished much?
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the philosophy professor that demonstrated the importance of filling our “time jars” with “big rocks.” He stood in front of his class with a Mason jar and a bunch of rocks. He poured the rocks into the jar, and then asked his students if the jar was full. They said, yes, it was full.
Then he poured some pebbles into the jar, and then asked his students if the jar was full. They said, yes, it was full.
Then he poured some sand into the jar, and then asked his students if the jar was full. They said, yes, it was full.
Finally, he poured some water into the jar, and then asked his students if the jar was full. They said, yes, it was definitely full!
He then asked his students if he would have been able to fit in the big rocks, pebbles, and sand if he would have poured the water in the jar first. They said no, that there wouldn’t have been room.
He told his students that the important things in our lives are those big rocks. He reminded them to make sure that they put the “big rocks” in their time jars first, or else there might not be room for them.
Many of us struggle with time management. I’m easily distracted by the little things that seem to need to need immediate attention. A few months ago, I read Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide, and it helped me truly define my priorities. The exercises in the book took a while for me to do, but it was so worth it! The book is available in many libraries.
Based on what I defined as my priorities, I created a personalized daily to-do list. The daily to do list has a list of tasks on it that align with my priorities. If I follow my daily to do list, I should be making progress on my priorities each day. Even small bits of progress feel like an accomplishment when they are acknowledged and checked off on my handy to do list.
To remind myself of those big rocks, I borrowed an idea from Ruth Soukup, and created a “time jar” as a reminder to focus on those “big rocks” throughout the day. Even though the little pebbles can seem urgent, the big rocks are the things I truly value. Ruth just published an awesome book called Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, and it’s a great resource for helping you to figure out how to figure out what your good life consists of.
How do you fill your time jar?
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