Jar and RocksCredit: Larah

Some of you may be already familiar with the inspirational story of the Jar and the Rocks. I have read it a while ago in a book from author and keynote speaker Stephen Covey 'First Things First'.

If you have not heard of it, watch the enclosed video as it shows an important message about life priorities.

Stephen Covey - The jar and the rocks story

According to Stephen Covey's message, if we don't put the important things in life first, we won't have time for them after we have filled our lives with the less important or insignificant things. If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to our lives. If our lives are spent on the small stuff, there won't be time left for the truly important things, like family, relationships, health and personal goals.

It is our responsibility to learn what are the big rocks in our lives. We need to identify them and then put them first. 

Your life priorities, is your responsibility. Do it, before somebody else will.

It seems that often we are not in control of our lives. So who does control our lives?

Our bosses do, our mortgage lenders do, other creditors do, our material possessions do, but not us. More than ever we are constantly buying 'stuff', even those tools and gadgets and apps that supposedly are meant to save us time in doing things, but in reality we just end up working more to pay for them.

Our schedule is crazy and for those who have a young family even more, meeting and appointments, school, work, sports activities, dinners, houseworks, kids home works, it never ends.

Work environment is more competitive, everything is so fast pace, if we want to keep our jobs, we need to be more efficient, produce more and better, so we take work home and because of technology, we are now reachable any time and anywhere and we are able to do work any time and from anywhere.

We are constantly busy and overworked, we feel off balance. We rarely have time to do what we enjoy, live the life we want or spend quality time with those we love. The frustration that builds on us is because we are not living by our priorities and instead we focus our energy on what has the closest deadline.

We all know that we only have a limited amount of time on this earth, but we keep on wasting this precious time.

What about if we had even less time, let's say only 5 or 10 years left, would we do things differently?

What can we do to regain some balance?

It is still possible to set our priorities straight and choose to give up what is less important, and get back time just for us. It is not enough to just talk about our priorities, we owe it to ourselves to put them into action. We need to focus on what's important rather than on what's urgent.

Priorities can include looking after our bodies, therefore physical, spiritual and emotional health, our relationship with our partner, fun time with our children, visiting good friends, do charity work, reading books that we enjoy, attend interesting workshops or conferences, have a night out at the restaurant, cinema, theatre, plan some travels, etc. The list is endless and we are all different individuals, with diverse priorities.


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10 Tips To Help Achieving Your Goals

  1. Think about 5 or 6 things that are important to you and that would make your life better. 
  2. Write them down under the heading "Priorities" and allocate an amount of time against it, e.g. exercise 45 minutes 5 times/week, quality time with children 1 hour a day.
  3. Under the heading "Daily Activities" write down a complete list of things that you do from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Put down how much time is spent to do these activities.
  4. Compare the two lists.  How do they differ from each other?
  5. If the two lists are significantly different, see where it's feasible to  take time from the "Daily Activity" list and allocate it to the activities in the "Priorities" list. If you can only manage to allocate time to one priority, it's fine, it's a start. If you need to delegate/outsource some daily activity in order to get time back, do it.
  6. Put priorities in your schedule, block that time on the calendar.
  7. Trial this new schedule for four weeks.
  8. If after four weeks that priority has snuggled in nicely into the new daily activity list, then it's time to attack another priority.
  9. Continue until all the priorities have been taken care of. It may take many months to make real life changes. Be patient.
  10. Review those priorities on a regular basis, life circumstances change, so do priorities.

These changes are not going to happen overnight. If after 4 or 6 months you have noticed that you are more energised and balanced, rather than stressed and frustrated, it's time for celebration and a reward, you deserve it. Well done!