If you want to see big rocks, visit Yosemite National Park. If you’re like me, you’ll end up believing that, compared to Yosemite’s, other rocks are just pebbles.
Visiting the park recently reminded me of the time management training I took that was based on the work of Stephen R. Covey. Covey was the inspirational giant who taught us about The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.
The primary teaching concept is that your life is like a large container you can fill. Next to the container, there are big rocks, small stones, and gravel. If you start pouring in the gravel and small stones, it will fill up the container so much that you won’t be able to fit in the big rocks.
The only way this works out is if you put in the big rocks first. The important and urgent tasks need to be scheduled and completed first. If you neglect the important and urgent tasks and instead fill up your time with the small stones and gravel (minor, unimportant tasks or time wasters such as Twitter, texting, Pinterest or Facebook), then the important work suffers.
This doesn’t mean that if you schedule the big rocks first, then you can eventually get it ALL completed. The real point to me is I need to be aware of what gravel I’m playing with that wastes my time and keeps me from completing what really needs to be done.
I remember one of my bosses (who attended the same training) kept saying for months, “Get rid of the gravel. Get rid of the gravel.”
For me, I have to be super-aware of this when I’m online. Even tonight, when I’m late in writing this post about KEEPING ON POINT, after searching for a good video of the “big rocks” concept, I got distracted and read about Stephen Covey’s death, watched two videos his son made about his dad, skimmed through two other videos about the concept, then got pulled into a Johnny Carson monologue!
Get rid of the gravel, Norma!
It’s important to identify what our big rocks are because each of yours will be different than mine and from each other’s. Some of our big rocks will change over time and some will remain constant.
Too often we get busy with life and forget to focus on the big rocks.
Remember the old game Rock, Scissors, Paper? Here are the winning outcomes: Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock.
Ponder that for a moment. Paper wins by covering rock. The symbolism is awesome. Paperwork (even the electronic kind!) can cover our rocks so that we lose sight of them.
Excuse me while I plug in my vacuum to suck up some of this gravel.