As a Training Consultant in the past, one of my favourite metaphors for getting the message of ‘effective time management’ across to participants, was this….
I’d start with a bucket, some big rocks enough to fill it, some small stones, some sand and water. I’d ask in what order should I put them in if I was to successfully get them all into the bucket?
After much fun and fooling around we’d settle on the following most effective way.
1. Put the big rocks in the bucket - is it full?
2. Put the small stones in around the big rocks - is it full?
3. Put the sand in and give it a shake - is it full?
4. Put the water in. Now it is full.
The point of the metaphor is this: unless you put the big rocks in first, you won't get them in at all.
In other words: In life, we need to ‘plan’ time-slots for your personal or career big issues before anything else, or the inevitable sand and water issues will fill up your days and you won't fit the big issues in (a big issue doesn't necessarily have to be a work task - it could be a family occasion, your child's sports-day, or a holiday). Think about it, are you getting those big rocks into your bucket first?
The author: Sammy Lloyd is Head of Learning at Branding Science.