Do any of the following statements sound familiar to you?
“There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to.”
“Where did the day go? I had so much I wanted to do and didn’t get to any of it.”
“I never have time to just relax with my family, let alone myself.”
“We don’t seem to have the time anymore as a couple, like when we were dating.”
According to motivational speaker and trainer Jim Rohn, “Time is more valuable than money” because you can always get more money, but you cannot get more time. Once your 24 hours in that day are spent, they are gone, never to be recouped. The good news is that we are given a fresh, brand new set of 24 hours to spend the next day, however we choose.
So, how exactly do you choose how to spend your time?
There’s a great demonstration that helps to illustrate the choices we make with our scheduling and our time. Imagine that there are two large, clear containers in front of you, of equal size. In one container, fill it up with as many large rocks that will fit inside. Once it is completely full of rocks, ask yourself, is it full? Can I add anything more?
Then see yourself pour buckets of pebbles into the same container and watch the pebbles fill in the spaces between the rocks. Then, once it is full to the top, ask yourself again, is it full? Can I add anything more?
Next, see yourself pour buckets of sand into the same container and watch the sand fill in tiny spaces throughout. Keep pouring gently, listening to the sand falling into all the cracks that still remain. Finally, when no more sand can be added, ask again, is it full? Can I add anything more?
Finally, see yourself take a pitcher a water and slowly pour the water into the same container. See the water empty into the hidden spaces that remain, and reach for another pitcher, until the water level reaches the top of the container. That container is now full.
Now, see the other empty container. Take as many pitchers of water as you need to fill it up to the very top. Once you see it filled with water, then take a bucket of rocks – is there any room for them? What would happen if you put even one rock in?
Here’s the question for you – Which container best represents your life? Do you have the room for your ROCKS? Or is each day filled with so many details and activities and the stuff of life, that there’s not space or time for what really matters?
The vast majority of us spend each day like the water container, so filled to the brim with the details of life, that we miss out on what’s most important to us. We live by the false perception that we must do all the little things first, in order to someday finally have the time for the big things, the things that really matter. The problem we all encounter is that there’s always more of the little things to do, that they never seem to stop or be complete, and that there never is time for what matters most, unless we deliberately, consciously carve that time out for our families and ourselves.
That’s where the other container is so useful to remember. So many more things were able to be included in the container with the rocks, while still having plenty of room for all the water of our lives. The secret is to simply put the rocks in first!
ACTION STEP: Using this concept, make sure that your rocks are prioritized and scheduled first and foremost. Take out a calendar and look at the next 3 months. Think of your most important ROCKS in your life. Perhaps it is time together as a couple, alone. Perhaps it is uninterrupted family time? Maybe it is individual time with each child? Or, could it be a monthly getaway as an individual? … There’s no right or wrong. Just simply get in touch with what is most important to you.
Once you are clear on your ROCKS, schedule them on your calendar – in ink! Then, make sure that everything else is scheduled around those ROCKS. If you find that a particular activity or ROCK is continually avoided or neglected, you may want to re-evaluate just how important that is to you. If it truly is important, then you must make sure that it happens as soon as possible.
Share this concept with your spouse or partner, and see if you two, together, can create a rock-solid relationship by putting your rocks first. If you neglect to make your rocks a priority, you may very well end up on the rocks as a couple. One of the key elements that sets couples who thrive apart from the rest is their conscious decision to nurture and prioritize their relationship.