Don’t stress the small stuff. Change the way you approach your to-do list forever.
How do you schedule your workload? If you don’t, or you spend your working day jumping from small task to small task feeling like you’re drowning in a sea of admin and getting nowhere, it could be time for you to embrace the rocks, pebbles and sand approach.
Efficient time management
We’ve all the heard the popular story about the teacher who gave a lecture about the importance of not cramming your ‘jar of life’ with small rocks and sand, leaving no room for larger rocks.
In this story, the small rocks and sand represent the smaller things in life that, although important, are not essential to your happiness. For example, watching TV. The larger rocks are the most important parts of our lives, like family, our health and our goals.
If we fill our jar of life with the smaller rocks and sand first, there is no room for the larger rocks in the jar – they simply won’t fit. However, if we prioritise the larger rocks and put them in the jar before adding the sand and rocks, we guarantee that the things that are most important to us don’t get left behind.
Apply the jar of life to your working day
How can you apply this thinking to your working life? It’s easy. Take a step back from your to-do list and take the time to think about how important each task really is. The aim is to take your list and assign each task into a pile of either sand, pebbles or rocks.
Sand: Small tasks that aren’t essential to the overall success of your projects / working week. Think tidying your office desk, sorting through paperwork and organisational tasks.
Pebbles: The combined power of these tasks may be powerful, but each task alone isn’t enough to make an immediate difference to your projects / working week. Think weekly paperwork and wading through a week of unread emails after a holiday.
Rocks: These are the BIG issues that need our attention and focus in order to be a success. This can include sorting through job applications when looking for a new hire, changing the business model or planning a new service. All too often, people leave these things out of their jars because they are intimidated and overwhelmed by them. Don’t succumb to the apprehension you may feel about these bigger tasks.
If you prioritise the big things and add your pebbles and rocks around them, you will find time for everything in your working life. From the smallest tasks to the largest innovations – the jar of life will empower you to take charge of your working life once and for all.
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