Big Rocks

One day an expert in time management was speaking to a
group of business students and, to drive home a point,
used an illustration those students will never forget.
As he stood in front of the group of high powered
overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."

He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason
jar and set it on the table in front of him.  Then he
produced about 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 table
and pulled out a bucket of gravel.  Then he dumped
some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of
gravel to work themselves down into the space between
the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "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 table 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

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 is the point of
this illustration?" 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 in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point.  The
truth this illustration teaches us is: 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 loved ones; Your education; Your
dreams; A worthy cause; Teaching or mentoring others;
Doing things that you love; Time for yourself; Your
health; Your significant other.

Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll
never get them in at all. 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, tonight, or in the morning, when you are
reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this
question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life?
Then, put those in your jar first.

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