Rocks First, Sand Later

Rocks First, Sand Later

Whenever anyone asks me how I manage to do a lot everyday and still keep sane, I remind myself one more time, ‘Rocks first, Sand last’.

No this quote isn’t one of my own invention, rather something I read on my way to learning how to enrich my life and maintain a balance whilst doing a thousand things.

And I must admit. It's one of the principles which defines how I live. It's one of the few quotes that have defined my life decisions so far. It's the sounding board I go back to every time I cannot reach a decision. In short, this 4 word quote, ‘Rocks first, Sand last’ is almost my best friend, mentor and career guide, all rolled into one.

Now what the heck does this rock and sand mean? Let me explain. A teacher once took an empty mason jar to class. He asked the students if the jar was empty or full. Everyone resounded enthusiastically ‘Empty’.

The teacher then proceeded to fill the jar to the brim with some big rocks. He again asked the class if the jar was full now. Everyone exclaimed. ‘Yes’.

The teacher then took out some tiny pebbles and poured them into the mason jar. At once the pebbles slid through the gaps between the big rocks and occupied space inside the already full jar. The teacher now asked the students if the jar was full now. The students exclaimed ‘Yes’ one more time.

The teacher now took some sand and put it inside the jar full of stones and pebbles. The sand automatically found nooks and cortners and crevices between the stones and pebbles and occupied that space inside the jar. The teacher now once again asked the students if the jar was full. Once again the students called out ‘Yes’. Pleased with their answer, the teacher now emptied out the mason jar. This time he put the sand in first. The sand occupied all of the jar. He now tried to put in the pebbles and rocks in the mason jar now. There was hardly any space and he just could not fit them in.

Got the point? If you fill your life with sand which is symbolic of unimportant things, you will never have enough time or space for the rocks that symbolise the priorities in your life. So always place the rocks first which are of utmost priority, followed by the pebbles which are slightly less on priority and lastly the sand which anyways creeps into your time and space.

Rocks are the backbone or founding pillars of your life. Family, Friends, Business, Travelling, Learning & Giving are the rocks of my life. What are yours? Find them, Mark them and place them in the first and foremost position of your life. Give them the time, respect, dedication and nurturing they deserve.

Once you give the the rocks importance they deserve, the pebbles and sand and other such irritants will automatically fall to the wayside. Very soon the rocks will become priority by habit. You can then define your life by these rocks. You will be known by these rocks. You can make your life choices based on these rocks. Should you take a job which is very far away but pays well or should you take up a job which will bring less money but will keep you closer to your family? If your family is your rock, you will take the second offer. Should you take that weekend off or work on the weekend to buy a mobile phone. If travelling is your rock, you will choose the first option.

See how simple it gets? The starting point is to define the rocks. The rest will fall in place automatically.

Try it and do write in with your experiences on how you maintain a work life balance.

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