The teacher took a wide mouthed jar and some rocks from beneath the desk and then proceeded to fill the jar with the rocks until he could no longer fit any more rocks in the jar. He then asked the class “is the jar full?”
The class responded "Yes".
The teacher then took from beneath the desk another bag of pebbles. He put some of the pebbles into the jar and shook it. The pebbles fell into the holes between the rocks and he repeated the process a number of times until the pebbles reached all the way to the top of the jar. Again he asked, “is the jar full?”
This time, the audience began to learn from the demonstration and answered "No".
The teacher then took a bag of sand from beneath the desk and began to pour the sand into the jar. The sand filled in the spaces between the rocks and pebbles.
The teacher then took from beneath the desk a jar of water. He then proceeded to fill the jar with water, right up to the brim.
The jar was now full.
You may be thinking to yourself, "How does this correlate to Time Management?"
The Big Rocks are the major priorities or projects that you want to get done in a week. These Big Rocks get pushed back from week to week because we never have time to do them because our days fill up too quickly, and before we know it, weeks have passed and the Big Rocks are still sitting untouched.
Here are some tips from ZenHabits on how to effectively plan your week:
1. Make a list. At the beginning of the week — Sunday evening or Monday morning — write out the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish this week. These should be the important things — if you looked back on the week and said you did them, you would be proud of having done them. Be sure to include not only work stuff, but some of the tasks that will further along your life’s goals and dreams.
2. Keep it short. In the beginning, just have 4-6 … you don’t need to try to do 10 or more Big Rocks, especially not at first. Later, you may get better at judging how many Big Rocks you can do in a week, but for now, shoot for about one per day.
3. Place the Rocks. Look at your weekly schedule. If you don’t have one, write out the days of the week with one-hour blocks (or print out a schedule from an online calendar). Write out pre-existing appointments. Now take your Big Rocks, and put them in the schedule. Try to put them in a spot where you know you’ll get them done. Not a spot that’s traditionally too busy to concentrate, and not in a little half-hour window between meetings. Give yourself time to do it.
4. Leave space for the incoming pebbles. Don’t fill in the rest of the schedule if possible. Every morning, look at your schedule and commit yourself to doing the Big Rock(s) for that day. That’s your most important tasks for the day. If there are less important tasks, you can put them in the schedule, but don’t put too much. A tight schedule tends to bump into itself, pushing things back when other things inevitably take too long.
5. Do it early. If you can, place your Big Rocks first thing in the morning. Don’t schedule them for later in the day if possible, because by that time, a few fires have come up, and the Big Rock will get pushed back as always. Do it first, and then you’ve got the rest of the day for the busy-work.
6. Be Proud. When your week’s done, look back on it — if you got any (or all!) of the Big Rocks done, be proud of yourself and happy. It feels good!