Habit of the month September: Big Rocks First

By johannatime On September 1, 2014 Under The Habit of the Month

When you are busy all day sorting out tiny details, replying to yesterday’s e-mails, responding to missed calls and voice mails, fixing loose ends, you’ll feel that you haven’t done a thing. And that, in a way, is true.

I dedicate this post to my wonderful friend Julie who is not always as organised as she’d like to be, but who casually mentioned to be an advocate of this important principle, nevertheless:

B I G  R O C K S  F I R S T

Making this principle into a daily habit at the office and at home, will boost your productivity and your sense of satisfaction after a day of work. And because there is a new day every day, you get the opportunity to practice ‘Big Rocks First’ often enough to make it into a solid habit.

It will not fit when you do the pebbles first

You may have come across this analogy before. Imagine filling up a jar with big rocks and pebbles. When you try to add the big rocks after filling half the jar with pebbles, they will not fit in. However, when you put the big rocks first, and then add the pebbles, the pebbles will fill in the gaps between the big rocks and all fits in nicely.

It works the same way with your time

The big rocks represent the important things in your day that you need to get done. The pebbles are the phone calls, the errands, the distractions and the chats at the water cooler. The jar, your day, can hold them all, but only if you pack them the right way.

Prioritise your big rocks

Your big rocks could be that proposal to an important client, writing a paragraph for your bestselling book, your workout, or cooking a wholesome meal for your family. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do them first, you just have to prioritise them first, so your day wraps nicely around them. Consider the following instruction as a daily routine:

  • In your daily review, work out the 1, 2 or 3 big chunks of work you want to get done.
  • Adjust your planning so there are no obstacles to just do them.
  • If there are any ugly tasks, see if you can do them first. You’ll feel great the rest of the day when it is all done.

Do you ever feel like your big rocks were left out of the jar? Or do you just have too many of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below:

Johanna Jansen

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