Knowing What’s Important

Things which matter most
must never be at the mercy of things
which matter least.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Our last newsletter introduced 10 Tips for Managing Time and Prioritizing Tasks; it included setting goals and rewards, investing time in scheduling, and making effective use of technology. All these tips will help you organize your day and successfully complete required tasks; with this blog entry I want to provide a tip for figuring out life’s priorities.
An activity we often use to help identify what is most important in life and where time and energy should be focused, first, is the Jar of Rocks. Google “jar of rocks” and you’ll get over 23,000 hits; one has some great images of this activity “in action.” Other links describe the activity in fairly good detail and seem to credit a philosophy professor who shall, apparently, remain nameless; as an interesting aside, I’d never heard about the inclusion of beer . . . you’ll have to go to the link to learn more.
The point of the Jar of Rocks is that the big rocks, smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand represent your life’s priorities – the big rocks are the important things, smaller rocks less important, and so on until the sand which is the “small stuff”. . . that “stuff” everyone tells us not to sweat about. If you start with the sand, as so many of us do, there is no room in the jar for anything else. Instead, the key is to start with the big rocks – it is these important things that should be your biggest priority. For many, these include family, health, and self-care.
Take a moment to put together your Jar of Rocks – either figuratively by thinking about or writing down what represents your big rocks, smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand or, literally, by gathering the materials (a local craft store [e.g., Michaels] is a great place to get the necessary items) and putting together your jar. Place it on your desk or someplace where it will remind you to pause and make time for the important things.
Originally posted September 20, 2011 by Deirdre Pickerell

Leave a Reply