(forgive me if you’ve already heard this.)
For a lesson in time management, a professor places a 3-foot Plexiglas cylinder on the desk and explains that the space inside the cylinder represents the time available to us on any given day.
He proceeds to fill it with large rocks. When it’s filled, he asks the students: Is the glass filled?
Some say yes, some say no.
He then proceeds to add coarse gravel, which fills the space between the rocks.
“Now is it filled?”
Most of the students say, “Yes.”
He then takes fine sand and pours that in, and the sand filters in between the gravel and the rocks.
“NOW is it filled?”
The students, suspecting a trick, do not answer.
The professor then takes a pitcher of water and pours it into the cylinder.
“Now is it filled?”
The universal agreement is that, yes, now the cylinder is filled.
So then the professor then asks, “What’s the lesson to be learned here?”
One student says, “That even when you believe you have no time left in your day, you can always fit in one more thing.”
“Wrong,” says the professor. “The lesson is: put your big rocks in first.”
What are your big rocks? What are those things you must do every day in order to achieve your biggest, most important, most critical-to-your-happiness, dreams?
What do you have to do every day in order to run a marathon, or write a novel, or lose 25 pounds, or play a Beethoven sonata? Those are your “big rock” activities. They have to be priority one.
For me, my big rocks are my mediation practice, my 6 pages of scribble in my paper journal, my exercise/yoga practice and this blog.
The gravel comes next. For me, it’s reading books (feeding the muse), taking care of my business, my animals, and my home.
The sand and the water are the fun and the “fluff” of movies, TV, the Internet, parties and all essential wackadoo stuff that gives my life sparkle.
I can’t do without any of it, but the big rocks have to go in first.