I have a story for you.
“A philosophy professor stands in front of a class with a big glass jar. He puts rocks in the jar, right to the brim. He asks the class if the jar is full.
Obviously they answer yes.
He then puts pebbles in the jar, jiggles it a bit so they fall in the gaps, and asks again if the jar is full. Obviously yes again.
He sifts sand into the jar. It goes into all the pockets that the pebbles didn’t fit. He asks again if the jar is full. A slightly bewildered and frustrated yes from the class. “When is he going to stop putting stuff in this jar?” they think.
He finally drips a bit of water in so that there are absolutely no air pockets, gaps, or space of any kind. A huffy sigh follows the agreement that the jar is now indeed completely full”
If you’ve heard this story before you would know that I’ve taken a little poetic licence.
This story is actually an analogy for how you use your time and what you give priorities to.
The rocks are the big, important things that should have priority. The pebbles, important things but less meaningful. The sand, little things that are necessary to keep life ticking along. And finally, water, the stuff we could probably get away with not doing.
If you’re like most people, you probably get bogged down in sand. You might spend too much on the little tasks that can be completed pretty quickly without giving enough attention to the big meaningful things. The problem is, if you don’t prioritise the big, meaningful things there won’t be enough room in your jar and it will be full of pebbles, sand and water.
Let’s say working on your creative projects is a rock for you. You start your day thinking “I’ll start writing/painting/designing after I’ve done the groceries, answered emails, and mopped the floors.” Groceries, emails and mopping take longer than expected and have been frustrating so at the end of the day there’s not enough time and not enough creative juice to write/paint/design.
You need to put the rocks in first. So…. first thing you write/paint/design. Then you get on with the other things – the pebbles, sand and water.
Of course this goes for other things too – the important but maybe challenging work things, the time with family, the time for you.
Whatever your rocks are you need to make sure they go in first.
So spend some time thinking about what your rocks are. Then make sure you make space for them.