Some of the biggest problems I encounter with my clients are the issues of time management and prioritization.
A lot of people are stellar are getting things done - they're just not great at doing it in a timely manner.
Whenever I hear of people struggling to juggle their lives and stay on top of their game, I am reminded of a brilliant, yet simple story I once heard that helped me put some things into perspective:
There once was a science professor. He taught one of the biggest classes at a prestigious university. One day at the beginning of his lecture, he brought in a large, empty jar. He asked the class if it was full.
Quite obviously, the students responded with a resounding "no".
The professor put a bunch of really big rocks into the jar. These rocks had different shapes. He probably was only able to fit about 6 into the jar. He asked his students if the jar was now full.
With slight hesitation, some students quietly said, "no".
Without a word, he got out some clam shells. He poured them out of a big and into the jar and asked the class if the jar was now full.
The students, even more reluctant, replied with a weak "no".
At this point, it would seem as though the professor was pulling their legs. The jar was getting pretty packed with things. What more could possibly go into it?
He did the same things with small pebbles. Then with small M&Ms. Thing after thing, pour after pour, his students became increasingly confused and nervous.
Eventually, he poured in fine grains of sand. Now, it looked like every little space had been filled in the jar. With sweat beads glistening on his forehead, the professor once again asked the class, "Is the jar full now?".
There were blank stares across the room. The students wanted to reply, but weren't sure if the sand - the creme of the crop - was the final test.
Impatiently, the professor grabbed a water bottle and poured it in until the jar is brimming.
He turned to the class and asked one final time: "Is the jar now full?"
Finally, the students replied, "yes."
Pleased, the professor asked, "What was the moral of the story?"
I like this story because it pushes my mindset. Not only does it challenge me to think bigger and realize that my jar is not fill until it is packed to the brim, but it also helps me to decipher what is really important in life.
The professor started packing his jar with big things - the rocks. Out of all the items, the rocks were the biggest (and arguably most important) item in that jar. It would be hard to imagine him dumping a pile of rocks inside after he'd already filled it with sand and water.
The professor did what a lot of us struggle to do - prioritize. Fill your jar with the big things first. Get that big task done before 10am. Go for that run. Pack that lunch the night before. Pray or meditate when you first wake up.
The things that we desire the most are what will bring the most value to our lives. We should prioritize the big things that set us on fire. Those are the things that literally give us life.
When we're able to conquer and dominate the big things in our lives, we make room for the smaller, less important things that add to our passion. It's when we fill our jars with clam shells and pebbles first that we're truly in trouble.
So today what will you focus on? What will be a priority to you? As you plan for the rest of the week and arrange your schedule, make sure you are feeding your biggest desire.
Let the things that give you the most life propel you. Vibe off of that energy.
Get that fire burning.
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