Dealing with Priorities: Do the Big Rocks first!

One morning, a professor of a certain university class brought a big box of supplies and put them behind his desk. When class started, he pulled out a large jar and a large bowl with some big rocks, about the size of baseballs.  He poured as many balls as he could into the jar, right up to the top.

“Is this jar full?” he asked the class.

“Yes” the class agreed.

The professor pulled out another bowl full of small gravelly rocks. He poured the smaller rocks into the jar and they poured through the gaps among the big rocks.

“Is the jar full now?” he asked the class

“No” said most of the class, as they were catching on.

The professor pulled out another bowl full sand. He poured the sand into the jar and the grains poured through the gaps among the big rocks and small rocks, filling all the available space.

“Is the jar full now?” he asked the class

“Yes” said most of the class, as it seemed that full to them.

The professor pulled out another bowl full of water. He poured the water into the jar and it poured through the gaps among the big rocks, the small rocks, and the sand.

“The jar is now full” he told the class. “This jar represents your life and time and energy you have space for. The items I put in the jar represent the priorities in your life. The big rocks represent the big priorities and the smaller items represent the smaller to insignificant priorities. If you work on all the smaller priorities first, it will be very difficult or impossible to fit the bigger priorities in your life. If you work on the big priorities first, you will have a better chance to fit in and manage all the smaller priorities with your time and energy.”

The professor stated the moral of his story, which was “Work on the Big Rocks first!”

Priorities: Do the Big Rocks first!

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