Big rocks, pebbles and sand

I’m guessing that most of us lead busy, complicated lives, trying hard to keep all the plates spinning in the air. I run my own coaching business whilst trying to renovate a 150 year old cottage where the recurrent theme is dust, dust and mummified mice whilst starting a third career as a writer and taming a quarter acre wilderness if I’m not to get lost or “see something naaarsty” on the way to the woodshed – (big fan of Stella Gibbons). Can I draw breath now? Yet I know I have it easy compared with those who have family and children to take care of as well as their own lives. So with all this stuff going on how does anyone find the time to do not only the things they must do, but also the things they want to do with their lives…like write?

I suppose the answer is to be clear about priorities – what are the important things to achieve – today, tomorrow, next month? These are what the late Stephen Covey called the “big rocks”. He used the imagery of each day being a bucket into which we have to put a number of big rocks, (important tasks) some smaller rocks (less important), pebbles and sand (fairly trivial or even pointless tasks). If we put the big rocks in first the lesser stuff can fit around them. However, if we put the pebbles, sand and small rocks in first, there’ll be no room for the big rocks – the important things in our lives. In effect we become, as Robert Heinlein put it “enslaved by trivia”.

Maybe five or ten years down the road we’ll be regretting the things we haven’t achieved because where we are then depends on what we do or don’t do now.

I think it’s time for me to start getting savage with my To-do list.


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