Having trouble deciding what to work on?
Well, there’s a popular time management analogy called the“rock, pebbles, and sand story. The Story about the Jar of Life – in business jargon it’s an analogy about our time management – in real life, it’s about life priorities. The story actually tells us that in between juggling our busy agenda, and frequently doing the job we hate, and spend so much of our time and energy whereby neglecting perhaps our loved ones, instead to stop from time to time and ponder upon the meaning and sense of our lives. ”Does all this have sense? Does it make me happy? What is my purpose in life? ‘How and what could I do for others”…many, many question you could reflect upon to enlighten you a bit in order to make a decision to start reorganizing your life – your priorities and put the first thing, first!
The Jar of Life
One upon a time…an old and wise University professor was invited to lecture on the topic of “Efficient Time Management” in front of a group of 12 executive managers representing the largest, most successful companies in America. The lecture was one in a series of 5 lectures conducted in one day, and the old professor was given 1h to lecture.
Standing in front of this group of elite managers, who were willing to write down every word that would come out of the famous professor’s mouth, the professor slowly met eyes with each manager, one by one, and finally said, “we are going to conduct an experiment”.
From under the table that stood between the professor and the listeners, the professor pulled out a big glass jar and gently placed it in front of him. Next, he pulled out from under the table a bag of stones, each the size of a tennis ball, and placed the stones one by one in the jar. He did so until there was no room to add another stone in the jar. Lifting his gaze to the managers, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” The managers replied, “Yes”.
The professor paused for a moment, and replied, “Really?”
Once again, he reached under the table and pulled out a bag full of pebbles. Carefully, the professor poured the pebbles in and slightly rattled the jar, allowing the pebbles to slip through the larger stones, until they settled at the bottom. Again, the professor lifted his gaze to his audience and asked, “Is the jar full?”
At this point, the managers began to understand his intentions. One replied, “apparently not!”
“Correct”, replied the old professor, now pulling out a bag of sand from under the table. Cautiously, the professor poured the sand into the jar. The sand filled up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles.
Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?”
Without hesitation, the entire group of students replied in unison, “NO!”
“Correct”, replied the professor. And as was expected by the students, the professor reached for the pitcher of water that was on the table, and poured water in the jar until it was absolutely full. The professor now lifted his gaze once again and asked, “What great truth can we assume from this experiment?”
With his thoughts on the lecture topic, one manager quickly replied, “We learn that as full as our schedules may appear, if we only increase our effort, it is always possible to add more meetings and tasks.”
“No”, replied the professor. The great truth that we can conclude from this experiment is:
If we don’t put all the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.
The auditorium fell silent, as every manager processed the significance of the professor’s words in their entirety.
The old professor continued, “What are the large stones in your life? Health? Family? Friends? Your goals? Doing what you love? Fighting for a Cause? Taking time for yourself?”
What we must remember is that it is most important to include the lager stones in our lives, because if we don’t do so, we are likely to miss out on life altogether. If we give priority to the smaller things in life (pebbles & sand), our lives will be filled up with less important things, leaving little or no time for the things in our lives that are most important to us. Because of this, never forget to ask yourself,what are the Large Stones in your Life? And once you identify them, be sure to put them first in your “Jar of Life”.
With a warm wave of his hand, the professor bid farewell to the managers, and slowly walked out of the room.
How to interpret this story and apply it in our lives?
The professor went on to explain that the jar represents everything that is in one’s life. The rocks are equivalent to the most important projects and things you have going on, such as spending time with your family and maintaining proper health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.
The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, hobbies, and friendships), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.
Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life, and material possessions. This could be small things such as hanging on socials, watching TV,…These things don’t mean much to your life as a whole, and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.
The metaphor here is that if you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.
In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the “rocks,” because they are critical to your long-term well-being. Hence, pay attention to your health, spend quality time with your family, do things that are of long term values for you.
If you are committed to do things you just have to do it, you can always do them. What matters is to manage the things that really matter to you FIRST! The rocks are your priorities, while the other things in your life are represented by pebbles and sand.
In order to stay productive and efficient in your personal and professional life,it is best to only have three or five rocks in the jar at any given time.
These rocks may represent a project you want to accomplish, find a dream job, to do so, improve your skills, so focusing on education, spending time with your loved ones, dedicating more time to your spiritual life and pray, or whatever. Your top three or five big rocks need to go into the jar first or else they will never get in at all. That is what matters,
All these lid me to conclusion that is I am/You are able to identify the three or five the most important things in our life ahead of time and set aside needed time we need to work on them, then in the long run I’d say it is permissible to procrastinate (but try to avoid it as often as possible) a bit on the “pebbles” or the other projects that are not as important as those 3-5, ok?