What are Your Big Rocks?

Posted by Kristin Baird

Years ago, I attended a time-management seminar. One of their key concepts really stuck with me. The presenter had a glass cylinder filled to the top with big rocks, small pebbles, and sand.  On the table beside the full cylinder, he had an empty cylinder, loose rocks, pebbles, and a cup of sand. He asked a volunteer to fill the empty cylinder with the items on the table. They poured in the sand, followed with the pebbles and lastly, attempted to fit the big rocks. He couldn’t make them fit.

The presenter compared the exercise to our time management and the alignment with priorities. If your greatest priorities are the big rocks, doesn’t it make sense to take care of them first? From there, you can arrange the pebbles (lower priorities that still matter) and lastly fill in with the sand (the lowest priority items that could be time-wasters).

Time Management

I think of that every time I am coaching a manager who struggles with time management. Once we identify the big issues and get them on the calendar, the pebbles and sand can sift into the open spots.

Rounding and coaching are big rocks. If you continually treat them like pebbles or sand, you’ll never achieve department goals.

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