Do you feel there isn’t enough time in the day “to do” all there is “to do”? Amid conflicting priorities, what do you tackle first? To succeed at growing your business, you need to win at prioritization and focus.
Steven Covey, in his bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, shares one of the most prolific and encouraging stories on how to identify your priorities. As I recall, here is how the story goes:
A professor walks into his class with several glass jars. One jar contained big rocks. Another filled with smaller rocks. The others, respectively, were filled with pebbles, sand, and water. He asked his students to place a bet on whether the ingredients from all five jars would fit into one.
As you can imagine, the students suspected that the professor had a few loose rocks and bet against that possibility. Anxiously, they watched as the professor commenced.
The professor began by putting the big rocks in first. Next, he positioned the smaller rocks to fit nicely in the cracks and crevices between the big rocks. He then poured the pebbles over the big and small rocks; shaking the jar vigorously to ensure as many pebbles as possible fit. The sand trailed, falling into every imaginable nook and cranny.
By this time, the students were sitting on the edge of their seat — astonished! They couldn’t begin to conceive that all the elements would fit.
The professor, pouring the water gently over rocks, big and small, pebbles, and sand, finished his “lesson”.
The morale of the story? You need to put the big rocks in first, or the other “stuff” gets in the way and takes up all the space.
How can you make all your activities “fit” into your business? Start with identifying the business equivalents of big and small rocks, pebbles, sand, and water — in that order.
Next, plan for the big rocks to be arranged first; followed by the small rocks, pebbles, sand, and water — in that order. Resist the temptation to slide a few grains of sand before the small rocks.
Win at prioritization and focus and you win at growing your business. Now that’s the kind of game I love playing. How about you?
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