One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.
As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz,” and he pulled out a one gallon wide mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class yelled, “Yes.” The time management expert replied,”Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some of the gravel in and shook the jar causing the pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the class once more if the jar was full.
By this time the class was on to him and said “Probably not.”
“Good” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand and started dumping it into the jar. The sand went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked if the jar was full.
“NO!” the class shouted. Once again he said “Good” and grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it into the jar until the jar was filled to the brim.
Then he looked around the room and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is that no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more in.”
“NO,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth is that this illustration teaches us that if you don’t put the ‘big rocks’ in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life? Time with our loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others. Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first, or you’ll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the BIG ROCKS in my life?
Then, put those in your jar first.”