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Saturday, January 14, 2006

We were a group of high-powered overachievers attending a seminar/workshop today when our speaker, an expert in time management suddenly gave us a quiz.

He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of all of us. He then carefully started putting about a dozen fist-sized rocks one by one into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone of us said "Yes."

He then said, "are you sure?" Reaching under the table, he pulled out a bucket of gravel which he dumped in the jar and shook it, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is this jar full?" By this time, we were no longer sure so we answered "Probably not."

He again reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping it in the jar and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked us. "Is this jar full?" This time we all shouted "No!"

On the table was a pitcher of water which he began pouring in the jar until it was filled to the brim. He then looked at us and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One of my colleagues said, "No matter how full your schedule is, if you try hard you can always fit some more things in it."

The speaker then said "No, that's not the point. The illustration teaches us: 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? Your children. Your spouse. Your loved ones. Your friendships. Your education. Your dreams. A worthy cause. Teaching or mentoring others. Doing things that you love. Time for yourself. Your health. Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first, or you'll never get them in at all.

If you sweat the little stuff then you'll fill your life with little things, you'll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff.
2:00 PM | Permalink |


  • At 1/13/2006 10:48 PM, Blogger Trinity13

    Oh, I read about this illustration before...and loved it! It's so true, the big important things, like family, must always come first!!! I try to reming myself of this when my son interupts me while I'm watching a great tv show. In a few years, no one will care about the show, but my son will be important to me for the rest of my life.

  • At 1/13/2006 11:32 PM, Blogger Crazy MomCat

    This is such a valuable thing to remember. I have heard that story before and it always grabs me because I tend to get caught up in the little things at times as well. It's good to keep your priorities in check and remember that all the other stuff is just fluff...just icing on the cake.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • At 1/13/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD

    Sorry there was an error on my comment so had to delete.
    The illustration you mention is indeed a very good one. It makes one think of how you consider yourself. A big rock or those little things (gravel, sand and water). In my life, my big rock is my family. They have always been first in my life but sad to say that these gravel, sand and water which are the little things squeezed in the jar i see to be me. Why? Coz I have almost been squeezing trying to fit in myself to buy time and space to breathe.

  • At 1/14/2006 3:29 AM, Blogger Connie and Rob

    I think this illustration is great. It couldn't have been done better. Reading it just doesn't stick but I will always remember now "Take care of the Big Rocks".

    Thank you for sharing.

  • At 1/14/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger Chrixean

    I'd think my big rocks are def my Allan & Nicky, and my work. Everything else should try to fit in around them. If it doesn't fit, then it shouldn't be in that week's schedule and should be bumped off to another time :-)

  • At 1/15/2006 10:12 PM, Blogger Pink Pen

    I've seen this before, and yet I never remember it's message. And it's such a good one. Thanks for the refresher! :)

    Michele sent me.