Focus on the Big Rocks

November 1st, 2010 by | Print


As a solopreneur, you must be a master of time management. There isn’t anyone else on the team helping you with prioritization or shouldering some of the tasks for the day. It is solely up to you. Let me tell you a story I recently heard about time management …

A principal was having a meeting with his teachers. There was an upcoming school event and he knew he was going to have a rough time convincing some of his already over-worked, under-paid staff to volunteer their time in the name of school spirit.

So, instead of pleading or lecturing, he decided to try a little experiment. He placed a large, empty jar on the table. All the teachers were wondering, “What could this mean?”

“Probably, more work or donations” they thought.

Next, the principal placed 13 large stones in the jar. He asked his perplexed teachers, “Is this jar full?”

All the teachers, wondering where this may be going, nodded their heads, “yes”.

“No”, the principal said. He pulled out a container full of much smaller stones and emptied it into the jar. He asked again, “Is this jar full?”

The teachers, a little more alert this time, shook their heads, “no”, because they knew that although the jar appeared full, the principal was far too smart to end the lesson there.

“Your right”, said the principal. He took out a large bag of sand and emptied it into the jar. Once again he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Again, the teachers wondering what could be next, shook their heads, “no”. And once again, the principal did not disappoint by emptying a pitcher of water into the jar until the water level rose to the tip of the rim.

This time, the principal asked, “So what’s the moral of this experiment?”

One teacher replied reluctantly, “You can always find a little free time to do more.”

“Wrong”, replied the principal.

“The point that I want to make isn’t that you can always do more, but that it’s how you prioritize your time that makes the difference. Most people try to clear up their time by getting the little things out of the way. This is like filling the jar in reverse. By the time you’re finished filling the jar with the water, then the sand and some of the smaller stones, you’ll make a mess trying to get the large stones in … and besides, they won’t fit. You can get a couple in, but you will never get all 13 in.”

If you want to rock your day and get the most from your time, focus on your big priorities first.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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