Big rocks

I’d always heard our IT team talk about the “big rocks” when it came to their projects.  What they mean is large-scale projects like new system installations versus smaller, more routine projects.  They use the term when talking about demand management (like we can only take on so many big rocks).  They use the term when talking about project status (like what % of big rock projects were delivered on time).

I heard a great discussion about big rocks recently in a different context, from Pastor Jud Wilhite at Central Christian Church. It was a great lesson in time management and priorities.  He demonstrated using a big jar, a set of big rocks, a pile of gravel and a pile of sand.  The big rocks are the things that are most important to us – our family, our career, our integrity.  The gravel is somewhat important and relevant to us and our big rocks – maybe travel with family, hobbies that help our mindset, and key tasks at home. The sand is filler – Netflix, the weekly poker game, endless emails at work about nothing important.

Jud explained that if you fill the jar with the sand and gravel first, the big rocks won’t fit.  We do it all the time – we schedule time to golf with the guys, make it a point to watch the entire season of Game of Thrones this weekend, or let unimportant meetings fill our calendar.  Then we wonder why we can’t get any quality time with our kids, or reconnect with our best friends, or make time for self development and learning at work.

But if we put the big rocks in the jar first, the gravel and sand can fit.  Somehow when we stay true to the important, the other stuff finds a way to happen – or it doesn’t, and who really cares if we aren’t up to date on the latest Kardashian hijinx?

We can all relate to this, but it takes an intentional review of our priorities, our time, and our circumstances to make improvements that can get the big rocks on the jar first.  So this week, think about what your big rocks are, and make a conscious effort to get them in the jar first.


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