Beth's Blog

Are the right rocks in your bucket?

Are the right rocks in your bucket?

 Have you been in the situation where you’ve heard a story over and over and you think, “Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah, I've heard it before, I've got the message.”

Then you hear it again.

This time, at the end, you get a different learning from the story…. as though you’ve heard it from an altered perspective.


This story I have for you, today, it's like that for me.

The story goes:

A lecturer at a university is giving a pre-exam session on time management. On his desk is a bag of sand, a bag of pebbles, some big rocks and a bucket. He asks for a volunteer to put all three grades of stone into the bucket.

A super keen student steps up to carry out the task, starting with the sand and then the pebbles, then the rocks and they don't fit in the bucket.

The lecturer says, "This is the analogy of poor time management. If you had put the rocks in first, then the pebbles, then the sand … all three would have fit. This is much like time management. By completing your biggest task first - you leave room to complete your medium task and then your smaller ones. By completing your smaller tasks first - you spend so much time on them that you leave yourself unable to complete either the medium or the large tasks. Let me show you…”

The lecturer refills the bucket, big rocks first, then pebbles, then sand and he shakes the bucket in between so that everything fits.


Okay, in the past I've always looked at this story from the superficial time management perspective. The story assumes that you have the right rocks. That you are doing the right things, and all you are doing is trying to figure out how to fit it all in.

What if you have the wrong rocks, pebbles and sand?

It doesn't matter how you try fit it in, you are still doing the wrong things.

How do you know whether you have the right or wrong rocks?


I gave this deep thought and I urge you to do the same. I decided that:

If I only had 6 weeks to live, what would I do? These are my rocks.

If I had only 3 months to live, what would I do? These are my pebbles.

If I had 6 months to live, what would I do? These are my sand.


Is YOUR week filled with the right rocks, pebbles and sand?

How do you KNOW that they are the right ones?


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