I’m going to share with you a coaching exercise that will help you to assess how you spend your time and where your priorities should lie, whether that’s in life or at work. It starts with the following story…
A teacher is addressing his class. He fills a jug with big rocks and asks the class if it’s full. The class responds with a “Yes”. So, he adds pebbles to the jug. He asks again if the jug is full, and again the class responds, “Yes”. He says, “No” and now adds sand to the jug. The sand and the pebbles represent the small daily tasks we fill our lives with. If we don’t fit our big rocks in first, our lives will fill with only sand and pebbles. BUT, if we start with our big rocks, we create room for what’s important in life – and the sand and pebbles can fill the spaces in between.
As you can see, by focusing on the biggest things first, there is space in the jar for everything, big and small. So, how we can apply this to our own lives?
What are your big rocks?
Start by identifying your “big rocks”. These are the activities and goals that are most important for you to achieve. Then, move on to the “pebbles” – slightly less important tasks or goals to fit around the big rocks. Finally, the even smaller grains of sand that are less important and can be placed at the bottom of your list of priorities.
With these different levels of priorities in mind, think about how you are currently spending your time. Are you dedicating a lot of time to the big rocks or is it all focused on the sand? For example, you might spend a big chunk of your workday checking and responding to emails. Assuming this isn’t a main priority of yours, all that time spent on emails takes away from working towards important goals.
You can use this analogy for prioritising in the long-term or short-term, assessing your rocks at the beginning of each day, week, or even the year. If you need any help putting this into practice, get in touch to see how I can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.