Project Description

A time-management expert was speaking to a group of salespeople, trying to get them to take care of their most important priorities first. To drive home his point, he pulled a big jar from under the table and set it up in front of his audience.

Then he took out a box of fist-sized rocks and started dropping them one by one into the jar until no more would fit in. “Is the jar full yet?” he asked the group.

When they responded that it was, he again reached under the table and took out a box of gravel, which he proceeded to pour into the jar, shaking it so the gravel could work its way down between the rocks. “Is the jar full yet?” he asked again, and again the reply was in the affirmative.

This time he took out a bucket of sand and proceeded as before, shaking the jar so that the sand could filter down between the rocks and the gravel. But when he asked yet again if the jar was now full, no one dared to answer.

So…the time-management expert took a jug of water and poured it in until the jar was filled to overflowing. “Now it’s full!” he said.

“But…what’s the point of the exercise?”

One salesman raised his hand and enthusiastically offered: “It means that, no matter how full your schedule is, you can always fit in more cold calls!”

“Good try. But wrong!” said the time-management expert. “The point of the demonstration is that, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

Then he went on to explain that the “big rocks” are your biggest priorities-the things in life you absolutely need to get done. Both business and personal.

Put your big rocks in before the gravel, sand and water take up all your time. Build the smaller things in, around your major objectives.

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