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Put the Big Rocks in First

July 17, 2011

Bill is a middle manager whose consistent high performance has created a bright future. Bill loves to develop and grow his employees and make a difference, solve problems and move his company forward. When his boss retires, the top job will be Bill’s. BUT he’s not sure he wants it – too much travel, too much time away from home. And lately, the job has changed and he finds himself putting out fires. Every call is another important, urgent matter demanding immediate attention. Bill’s life is one fire after another.

Sound familiar?

Bill has a dream and a vision that he will create joy and balance for himself and his people. He will grow his managers, teach them to be great leaders and help them reach their dreams. Yet each week the fire drills keep coming. Each bit of precious time is siphoned away to the urgent tasks and away from the important not urgent tasks so vital to fulfilling his dream.

Take a pile of sand, a pile of gravel and a couple of handfuls of rocks and put them all in a bucket. If you put the sand in first, then the gravel, you leave no room for the big rocks. But, if you put the big rocks in first and then the gravel, the sand will fill in all the gaps left and you can put much more in the bucket. Like filling the bucket, our big rocks, our important and not urgent tasks, have to be schedule and prioritized first.

So Bill decided to carve out three or more hours per week for the big rocks, the non-urgent tasks and efforts that help him reach his dreams. His first big rock – spend time developing and growing his people. Bill is well on his way to reaching his dream.

What are the big rocks in your life? Have you reserved time on your calendar for the important parts of you – your family, your health, your dream? Today’s action creates tomorrow’s future.