Do The Little Rocks Get In The Way?

How do you manage the different aspects of your life?  “Put the big rocks in first” is a great principle, if used consistently, in helping us to get the right things done.  Check out this video for Stephen Covey’s explanation.

Michael Hyatt recently wrote on this topic describing the big rocks that he makes important (Pursuit of God, Intellectual Growth, Physical Exercise, Your Spouse, Important Projects).  For me, I find that, even with knowing that the big rocks need to take priority, the little rocks still get in the way and they seem to so easily side-track me from getting to the important things.

So, why do the little rocks still get in the way?  Here are four reasons:

  • They are easier to do.  The little rocks represent small efforts and can be accomplished quickly.  These are also things that I use to justify the time I have spent while not getting the bigger things done.
  • The little rocks often represent really fun things.  I bet you have some of these – things that seem small enough and things that you just enjoy doing.  There are many fun things that I like to do that, in the end, are just time-wasters.
  • There are some big rocks that I want to avoid.  Some of the really important things that I need to do are things that I just really don’t want to do.  Maybe it is something I don’t want to put the effort into it; it represents some kind of pain that I don’t want to experience; it means dealing with an issue I am embarrassed about; or, that I have to talk with a person that I don’t want to encounter.
  • The little rocks make us feel like we are accomplishing more.  With the little things, our activity level is generally higher and we can check off more things from our to-do list.  This makes it seem like we are being more productive and getting more done.

Knowing why the rocks get in the way is the first half of the battle.  Now what?  Here are three things you need to do:

  • Be intentional about the big rocks.  Be specific in choosing what needs to be the most important things in your life.  Then create a plan, schedule the time, and be intentional about those things.
  • Be intentional about the little rocks.  If we do not choose which little things that we do, they will choose us…and we will find ourselves trying to do everything.  After taking care of the big rocks, we must be intentional about choosing which of the little rocks that we will do and which ones we will NOT do.
  • Be accountable.  Face it.  We all need help from time to time.  We need to submit our schedules, our priorities and our activities to people who will keep us accountable.  This may be a spouse, a friend, a mentor, a boss or someone else whom you can trust.  Give them visibility into your life and the permission to speak into your life.  And don’t forget to listen to what they have to say.

We all want the best in life.  In order to get there, we must take time to evaluate the big rocks and little rocks, to decide what’s truly important, to give up some of the lesser important things, and then to follow through. 

And through all of this, I believe the number one source for direction and for help is God.  Ask God to show you what is important and ask God to help you help you along the way.  After all, God does know each one of us better than we know ourselves.

What strategies do you use to keep the little rocks from getting in the way?  You can leave a comment below.

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