Let me share a story which teaches a powerful time management principle. It applies to everyone, no matter what your occupation or position in life. The story is one that a leading time management expert uses in lectures to his audiences, to drive home a point.
He used a practical demonstration that those students will never forget. Commit this story to your memory… and think about it as you plan your own day, week – and life.
So, here’s this expert, standing in front of an audience of high-powered over achievers. He looked at the crowd of eager, ambitious faces listening attentively to him, curious to learn about the powerful time management principle he had promised them.
He said, “Ok, it’s time for a quiz.”
Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set in on a table in front of him. He then produced about a dozen fist sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” You see, they hadn’t yet learned this unusual time management principle – once they had, their answers would be different!
So, the Professor smiled and asked, “Really?”
He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is this jar full?”
By this time the class was onto him.
“Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good!” answered the expert. And again he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.
He started pouring the sand in, and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted.
Once more he said, “Good!” He grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked,
“What is the point of this demonstration?”
Aware that it had to do with this powerful time management principle, one eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”
Surprised, the speaker said, “No, that’s not the point at all! The time management principle I’m trying to share through this demonstration is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the big rocks in your life? The important tasks that lead you closer to your biggest goals, the WHAT of your life. This may vary in specifics. It may be a project that you want to accomplish. Or more time with your loved ones. Time spent pursuing your faith, or your education. Maybe supporting a worthy cause. Teaching or mentoring others.
No matter what it is, remember to put the BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all. That’s a very important time management principle to keep in mind, one that’s a cornerstone of the Time Management Tao philosophy which is rooted in learning how to
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
You’ll learn more about this when you sign up for the free “Time Taozine” email newsletter.