You’ve seen that story about the professor and the rocks, right? The one where he uses them to explain priorities to his classroom?
If you haven’t, here’s a synopsis (if you know the story, just skip this part)…
To illustrate time management and priorities, a professor sets a large jar on the table in front of his class, and fills it with some fist-sized rocks. Then he adds some pebbles that fit between the large rocks. Then he pours sand in on top of those, and finally, in one version, he pours in two beers, filling every single little bit of space. Nothing more will fit.
With each step until the beer, the professor asks the class if the jar is full. They say yes, then he proves them wrong by adding something else to it.
There are several points you can take from the story…
- If you fill up the jar with the little stuff first, you won’t have room for the big stuff (your family, your health – physical, spiritual and mental, and other things of highest importance.) Those need to go in first. Top priority.
- You can squeeze a lot into the empty spaces surrounding those big rocks; use your free time productively. Multitask.
- There’s always room in a day for a couple of beers. Or a dance. Or a game of ping-pong. Or a walk with the dogs.
- Unfortunately, the jar eventually becomes too full and bits start falling over the side, unnoticed – nothing more will fit unless something else comes out.
As much as I love #3, I’m realizing the truth of #4. That’s where I am right now – my jar is full and overflowing.
I wish I could just get a new jar.
Instead, I’m having to virtually dump everything out onto the table and re-evaluate all of my rocks, pebbles, sand, and even the beer. I gotta decide what goes back in – and in what order – and what gets left on the table.
For now, anyway.
Because, as Patty Loveless says, “Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same,” and soon enough, I’ll need to do this all over again, and maybe some of those things I’m having to leave on the table for now will be able to fit in the jar again … things like playing my drums, playing around with photography, keeping up with Facebook and blogging friends, posting so much on my own blogs, slipping away so often with my friends … even working on my book.
They won’t be left out for long. Those are things I love! Things I need!
But I have a new venture that’s scary and exciting at the same time – something so new to me that for the next couple of months I’m going to have to devote a lot of time to learning and preparing. I’ve tried fitting it into the existing spaces, but that’s when I realized my jar is overflowing. There are no empty spaces left.
As much as I hate to admit it, something’s got to go.
For now. Just for a little while.
(Wish me luck!)