067 - are you focusing rocks, pebbles, or sand?


We only have so much time during the day and yet our opportunities and the activities we can choose to fill this time with are limitless - and if we're desiring to achieve a specific goal, what we fill our time with matters immensely

And what you're choosing to give energy to, and to fill your time with at the moment, may be causing you to head away from your goals, or slowing you down...

Let's say your goal is the improve your grades at school and make the local rep team - and yet you're spending the majority of your available time outside of school sleeping in, playing video games, watching TV/youtube, and out socialising with friends. All are great ways to spend your time, but they're not activities that are going to help you achieve your goals

In the analogy & story of the jar filled with rocks, pebbles, sand and water - these activities are your pebbles and sand...

The story goes like this...

"A philosophy professor once stood up before his class with a large empty jar. To the left of him lay an abundance or large rocks, pebbles, and sand... He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full.

The students said that yes, the jar was indeed full...

He then began to add small pebbles to the jar, gave the jar a bit of a shake, and the pebbles began to disperse themselves among the larger rocks. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”

The students agreed that the jar was once again full.

The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up any remaining empty space. The students then agreed that the jar was completely full.

The professor went on to explain that the jar represents everything that is in one's life. The rocks are equivalent to the most important projects and things you have going on, such as those activities that move you closer toward your goal. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.

The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your hobbies & friendships), but they are not critical for you to reaching your goals. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.

Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life and material possessions. This could be small things such as watching television or running errands. These things don't mean much to your life as a whole and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.

The metaphor here is that if you start with putting sand or pebbles into the jar, you will not have room for rocks - the things that move you toward your goals. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.

In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the "rocks," because they are critical to your long-term well-being."


Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • Firstly, what's your big goal right this very point in time?
  • What are your big rocks? What are your pebbles? What is your sand?
  • And now, what are you focusing on filling your time/jar with? The big rocks, pebbles, or sand?
  • What are 1-3 things you can do today to begin filling your time/jar more with big rocks first?
Nick Maier