Put the Big Rocks in First

501287574In each of our lives, business and personal, we have many supposed priorities, sometimes conflicting ones. Alas for many of us, relatively unimportant issues become ones that suck our time and energy, while the important issues in our lives are left to attend to another day.

For those of us in business (and in our personal lives too) scheduling is always a challenge. As a consultant, scheduling is critical. I have multiple clients and I need to have a tight schedule of where I will be and when I will be there. I enjoy the planning process and have mastered it, as much as anyone can.

Yet I believe that scheduling meetings, lunches, appointments masks the key issue of scheduling your priorities, rather than prioritizing your schedule. As Stephen Covey suggests in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Put the Big Rocks in First” is a metaphor for starting with the most important issues of your life and business and then scheduling time for those first rather than whenever you have free time (which never comes).

We each have personal priorities and business ones too—spending time with love ones or meaningful time with a major client away for the business of the day. As Covey says when you put the big rocks in first there is still room for the “gravel to fill in the jar”. But when you start with the gravel (the unimportant) and leave the big rocks for last, your real priorities become secondary.

Covey teachings are helpful in making us all realize the key is to focus on the important things in life. Many of those exist in quadrant II (Important, Not Urgent). Relationships with loved ones often fall in this quadrant.

If you put the big rocks in first in life, chances are you will be better able to schedule your priorities FIRST and not last. Important thoughts to truly appreciate.

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