Trouble Prioritizing Your Time? Put In The Big Rocks First

rocks in jarMaybe you’ve seen the following object lesson: A jar. A pile of big rocks. Some gravel. Some sand. Some water. The object is to get all items to fit into the jar. If you start with the sand, you’ll never fit it all in. However, if you start with the “Big Rocks First”, then the rest will flow in and around and you’ll be able to fit it all in. So in our decisions, we must start with the Big Rocks First, keep our eyes on the major milestones and priorities and with that as our grid, the smaller decisions figure themselves out.

I find that if I prioritize my relationships: with God, Julianne, my kids, and my coworkers, it leads to a balanced life of getting lots done and enjoying life in the process.

Another big rock for me is taking the time to plan, both on a big picture strategic level and also in daily prioritization. One simple way I’ve found to make sure I prioritize the big rocks is to take 5 minutes at the end of the day to write down my top 3 tasks for the next day on a sticky note and stick it on my desk in front of my keyboard. It is amazing how much momentum I start with the next day when my tasks are already clearly defined.

What are your big rocks?



Photo credit: alexandria travis / / CC BY-NC-ND

One thought on “Trouble Prioritizing Your Time? Put In The Big Rocks First

  1. I recently read The Power of Habit. It gave me perspective on how critical prioritization is. Somehow we all end up choosing our actions, and actions cultivate habits. We can choose to prioritize our Big Rock actions each day or we can make a habit of choosing our next task at random, only based on what seems best in the moment.

    My biggest rocks within my professional life: Reading/Listening to Audio, Strategically Connecting with People, Creating Helpful Ideas. If I can do 2 or 3 of these things each day I feel successful. When I don’t do any of them I really feel like I wasted a day.

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