You’ve all heard that story about the professor and the lecture he gave to his class regarding big rocks, small rocks and sand. This is a story used by many time management experts and coaches to exemplify that although life is filled with many “things”, some of those things are more highly valued than others (the big rocks) and some are not as high value (small rocks) and shouldn’t be the “main focus”
If you have NO idea what I’m talking about, please visit this youtube channel for a quick 2-minute explanation of the Big Rocks before reading the rest of this! I promise! It’s less than 2 minutes long!
This analogy can work with your life as well as your business, it actually can be used to put a framework pretty much about anything you do in your life to help decide where to spend your time and evaluate the direction you are going.
So, what are your big rocks?
Your big rocks are based upon your values and everything you find important in your life. In my life, my big rocks are my family, my health, my spirituality, and my contribution to the world.
So many of us, including myself, get bogged down in the minutia of everyday life, and all the things others expect of us, it is no wonder that we lose ourselves so often in serving others, especially those that have children or others that depend on us.
But if we let the small things, the “shoulds’ and the “expectations” run our life, we will lose site of those big rocks and the reasons “why” we started our business, started exercising, or creating a family game night in the first place.
How can we keep the important things in mind?
Being able to keep your values and your big rocks in mind, even when life takes over and puts you on autopilot is as simple as a sticky-note.
Much like anything in life, what is out of site- is out of mind. But when it comes to our values and our big-rocks, constant visible reminders will help us prioritize on a daily or sometimes hourly basis.
Action item: Put your values or your big rocks on 5-6 sticky notes, or note-cards and stick them in places you see every day. This can include your bathroom mirror, your daily calendar, your office whiteboard, the dashboard of your car. Remind yourself of why you are here on this earth to serve, to help, to be.
What about all of the other things?
Whenever I start thinking about my big rocks, I start to get a little panicked about all of the other things that I need to do in order to support my big rocks. The mortgage needs to be paid, the office needs to be decluttered, the kids need to have halloween costumes… you know the drill.
These are all important things as well, and some of them are even in support of my big rocks, but based on other needs, they may be able to be pushed back depending on how they effect the immediate needs of myself, my family and my health.
They shouldn’t be ignored, obviously, but they should also be prioritized so they aren’t forgotten or set aside so long that they cause you stress and anxiety.
So how DO you do “all the things?”
The simple answer to this is “you don’t”. You don’t have to. Some things will spill over, but if you keep the big rocks and the “kind of big rocks” at the forefront of your mind, all of the IMPORTANT things will get done.
The answer for me is weekly planning and time-blocking with my priorities in mind.
I have talked about time-blocking before and will be coming out with a more specific blog-article about it in the future. It is all about being intentional with your time and understanding the value of what you are doing. Time-blocking the best way I have found, not only to plan out your weeks/months prior to them happening, but to make sure the big rocks have the place of importance in your life.
What’s the process?
If you’ve been following me at all, you know that I am a very systems and process oriented person, so of course I will let you peak into the processes I have either heard of or created in my life to help keep my values and my priorities in the forefront.
When setting up your week or your month, make sure your big rocks are on the calendar first. This is from everything from self-care and family time, to meditation/yoga/date night.
Once the big-rocks are scheduled, then you put in the little rocks, that support the big rocks in next. For me, that would be:
- Business/work time
- Planning for family events/vacations
- Paying bills
- Schedule time with friends
- Updating the house
In my business specifically, my big rocks are
- Client Management
Small rocks would be
- Project management
- Meeting preparation
- Hiring/team management
Put this in action in your own life.
So many of us just go through the day letting everything happen to us, not taking accountability for what happens and the direction we are taking. It is true, life has a habit of throwing us curveballs (2020 anyone?). But how you DEAL with those curveballs, based on your values and priorities is in the end what defines you. I know we are all capable of moving forward to our goals no matter the path we are forced to take if we keep the Big Rocks the most important things in our lives.
What does this look like for you?
I’d love to hear from you and share with me what your big rocks in your life…. In your business?
What are the small rocks that help support those big rocks?
What do you think of my process for organizing my life around my priorities?