Melissa’s favourite prioritising analogy

I don’t know about anyone else but after a week off at half-term and now with this beautiful weather making me long for a summer holiday anywhere but in the UK, I started the week feeling a bit out of sorts and definitely not with my s**t together!

So, to inspire myself (and hopefully also you) I want to finish off our prioritising masterclass series with one of my favourite analogies….

This is a story about a professor who asked his pupils to fill a jar with rocks, sand and pebbles.

It’s an old story that was originally popularised by motivational speaker and management expert Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

This is how the story goes…

When the class started to fill the jar first with the sand, then added the pebbles, then the rocks there was little, if enough room for all.

When they started with the rocks, then added the pebbles, and finally the sand, as if by magic the materials integrated and there was capacity for all.

What can this teach us about how we should prioritise in work (and in life)?

Each of the elements represents tasks of varying importance in your day:
👉The rocks represent the essential elements, your major goals or strategic decisions
👉The pebbles are shorter-term goals of lesser importance – if they were taken away you’d still have a rock foundation👉The sand is the non-essentials. The minor tasks that are not important to your success. Scrolling on Insta? That’s sand.

So, when you’re looking at your week, it’s really helpful to figure out –

What are my priorities this week?

When am I going to block out a couple hours, maybe two or three times a week, to really focus on those things and ensure my foundation rocks are firmly in place?

By taking the time to focus on your most important goals in work and in life, the rest will tend to follow.

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