Do I Have the Time for That?

The biggest complaint I hear from people is about not having enough time or money or both. Today, we will tackle time, as it fits nicely with our blogs this month on achieving our goals in the New Year, creating healthier habits, and making behavioral change. Money is for another day, but it will come, so stay tuned…

Years ago now, I was on a yoga retreat, when the issue of time management was brought up. Dr. Bobbie Stevens, owner and founder of Unlimited Futures, who was leading the retreat. Dr. Stevens told us that she too used to wrestle with being busy and trying to get everything done, but that this was no longer an issue for her. She shared a story with us that really hit home for me and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Dr. Stevens said she once had a science professor who came before the class and filled a glass beaker full of rocks. He then turned to the class and asked, “Is this glass full?” It was a resounding, “Yes!” from the class. Then the teacher began to pour smaller pebbles into the glass and the smaller pebbles filled up the gaps between the larger rocks. He then turned to the class again and asked, “Is this glass full?” Once again he received a resounding, “Yes!” from the class. Then the professor, proceeded to pour sand into the glass, which poured in and filled the even smaller spaces between the rocks and the pebbles, continuing to prove that what the class thought was full, was not. Now, I have seen a video of this on YouTube, and have also read this story in Steven Covey’s book, so whether or not it truly originated from Dr. Steven’s professor or not, I do not know, but this lesson was so powerful.

How you might ask? how does this pertain to time management? First, there was so much more space in the jar than perceived. Every time, the students thought it was full, there was more room. Now, change the word space to time or even ability. We are capable of so much more than we believe. Ask yourself, where you are losing time because you do not perceive it as existing? Watch how much time you spend scrolling on Facebook and see.

Second, and the main point in this story, it’s all about how we organize what is in the jar. As Dr. Stevens said to all of us on this retreat, “You have to do the big rocks first. If you fill your glass (aka your day) with big rocks first, the smaller stuff will then fit in around it. What needs to get done will. However, if you fill your glass with the smaller stuff first, there will be no room for the big rocks.”

This is when I had my personal “ah ha” moment. At that time in my life I had a tendency to sit down and try to check as many things off my list as possible. Naturally, the quick and easy things would come first, (like email) before getting to the important, more intensive time consuming things; for me that is yoga, meditation, writing, and exercise. But then I would get so wrapped up and derailed by the little things, the time would slip away and I would never get to my big rocks. They would remain on my list for another day; day after day after day. I was doing it backwards! In the name of “getting things done” or feeling productive, I wasn’t getting the important stuff done. It was all backwards! Sure, I was busy and had a lot of things crossed off my list, but was I really moving forward on my goals or what was important to me?

When I returned from this particular retreat, I managed to start each day with my yoga and meditation practice, my big rocks, and then move on to other things like emails, laundry, phone calls, marketing etc… And guess what? It all got done! Plus I felt better, more energized, healthier, more attuned to my clients and better able to serve others! What a gift myself and others!

So, here’s your homework:

When asking yourself, “Do I have time for that?” don’t forget to also ask yourself whether it’s a big rock, a pebble, or the sand? You get to decide what category it falls into for you! One more question to ask yourself, is “Do I really have the time NOT to do it?” If it’s something that greatly contributes to the quality of your day, chances are it’s a big rock and you need to just do it and stop putting it last on your list.

I would love for you to comment below on how your homework is going. Take up the challenge and stretch yourself. Share with us your experience, your celebrations and your challenges. What are your big rocks?

Be Well-


Image by pixaby