As a fan of both Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and pebbles, I particularly like habit 3: ‘put first things first’, or as it’s described elsewhere: ‘big rocks first’.
Like many great ideas, it’s not complicated. Imagine your time as an empty jar: next to it is a pile of rocks, representing major tasks, and pebbles, representing everything else which has to happen.
If that jar were your working day, the rocks might be the board paper you have to submit by close of play, the interviews for a new team member you need to attend and a meeting with your manager about the campaign for the latest product. The pebbles might represent such things as the phone calls and emails you will need to respond to, catching up with a colleague about a meeting you missed, booking some leave for Christmas week and picking up a birthday present for a friend.
If you put all the pebbles in first, it can be difficult to find the space for the rocks. Put the rocks in first and you’ll find the pebbles will fill in the gaps between them. They will all fit in the jar.
The habit suggests that this is how we should plan our time: schedule the rocks first and then fit in the pebbles. This is just as applicable in our lives outside work too: establishing your priorities allows you to give them the time they need and ensures those things less important to you wait their turn.
If you’re part of a team, what are that team’s big rocks? If you have a family, does everyone agree on what constitutes a big rock? What are the pebbles which also need to be accommodated?
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: what are your big rocks and do you give them the time they deserve?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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