Prioritize your responsibilitiescomment (0)
April 7, 2011
By Jean Roberson
My friend and co-worker Emily shared this with me after she heard someone speak on priorities.
Imagine you have a large Mason jar. Beside you is a pile of rocks. On the other side of you is a mound of pebbles. Theoretically the rocks and pebbles should all fit into the jar. Your job is to put both the rocks and pebbles into the jar.
First you dump the pebbles into the jar. They all fit.
Then you pick up each rock and place it in the jar. You have to do some twisting and turning of the rocks to get them to fit down into the pebbles. Some of the rocks are buried in the pebbles, and some lie on top of them. You have to force the rocks into the jar.
The fact is since you are trying to fit the rocks into a jar already filled with pebbles, you are unable to do so. Large rocks just won’t fit into a jar already filled with pebbles.
So you dump the contents of the jar out. You separate the rocks from the pebbles. You start again.
This time, you place the rocks in the jar first. They all fit.
Then you dump the pebbles into the jar, one handful at a time. The pebbles slide and fall, finding their places around, under and on top of the rocks. The pebbles fill up the small empty places. They all fit in the jar.
Because you started with the large rocks and then moved to the small pebbles, you were successful.
Now apply this exercise to your life. The jar is your life. The rocks and pebbles are your responsibilities.
Notice the first step: Separate the rocks from the pebbles. Of all the things you have to do, which ones are rocks and which ones are pebbles? While everything may seem important, not everything is a “rock.” Placing your responsibilities into these two categories helps establish priorities.
Then look at your list of “rocks.” Which one has to happen first? Which one second?
Once you deal with those, you are ready to deal with the pebbles.
But here is the trap — because our pebble list is often easier and quicker to deal with, we tend to do the items on that list first. We think we can get a lot of little things done and that will help us. Unfortunately the little things eat up our time and our bigger “rocks” are left untouched. This hurts more in the long run.
A Takeaway Value …
Identify the large tasks in your life and begin with those. Then let the small tasks fit into the empty spaces. They always do.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.