Focus on Your Priorities: Get the Big Rocks in Place First
Here’s a thoughtful story that you can share with your team to emphasize and demonstrate the importance of staying focused on what’s most important:
A business school professor set a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar on his desk in front of the class. From a box he removed 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.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the desk and pulled out a bucket full of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in the jar and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks.
Then he asked the group again, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. He reached under the desk and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good.” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What’s the point of this demonstration?” 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!”
“No,” the teacher replied, “that’s not the point. Here’s the truth we learned: if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
So, what are the ‘big rocks’ in your life? Your children, your loved ones, your education, your dreams, some worthy cause, teaching, mentoring others, doing things you love, taking time for yourself, your health, your significant other? Remember to put those “big rocks” in first or you’ll never get them in at all.
Moral: If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you’ll fill your life with little things you worry about that don’t really matter, and you’ll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks).
So today, while you’re thinking about this little story, ask yourself this question: what are the ‘big rocks’ in my life? In my business? For my team?
Now make sure to put them in your jar first.