Prioritizing self-care: put the big rocks in first

I have been to many conferences where someone demonstrated the importance of prioritizing by filling a jar with fist-size rocks and asking the class if the jar is full. Since another big rock wouldn’t fit, the class answers, “yes.” However, the presenter proceeds to pour a pitcher of gravel, then sand, and finally water into the jar before it is finally full.

“If you don’t put your big rocks in first, the fillers of life will take up your day and you won’t fit your big rocks in at all.” 

If you want to get things done that truly matter, you must focus on the big rocks. Ask yourself: What are the most important things I want to be prioritizing in my life right now?”

So much of my time is spent on our home, either getting it decorated and organized or tending to daily life.  I wonder though if these are really what matter most.  If at the end of the day, I haven’t had some time and space to myself, I can generally feel it.  I’m tense and impatient and unsatisfied.

So I’m going to consider that time for myself as my biggest rock.  As soon as I can each day, I am going to be mindful of making that time and space available for myself.  (Lately it’s been just sitting for a few minutes on the little porch outside our bedroom.) I’m hopeful it will be a calm time of focus and rest in an otherwise busy day.

What are your big rocks?

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10 thoughts on “Prioritizing self-care: put the big rocks in first

  1. Hey cuz – this is such a good question, because right now all my rocks are muddled together. I do not know what my big rocks are – except that my biggest rocks are for my husband and my youngest who is still at home for a bit longer. once again – thanks for making me pause and think. love you!!!!

  2. Naomi,
    Thanks for the wonderful reminder. I received an email the other day with the long version of the rock story. It is so true, yet how often do we really put those large rocks in first?
    My large rocks are definitely family (mostly my daughter) and creative time (as a family or just for me).

    When my daughter was younger, she was my total center, my focus. There were times when I felt I lost a part of myself. Times when I felt too tired to do those things for do for me. Now, I know, I will always have enough time for me.

    Even though my is only 12 (soon to be), the more the years pass by, the more I see her spreading her wings and flying away. So, even though I know I will always have “me,” I know there will be a time when I will no longer have her (as I do know). So, those big rocks are the quality and mindful times I choose “to be” with my daughter. That is very clear to me.
    I know how truly precious it is.

  3. Mindfulness with my kids and presence of attention must be priorities for me. The other day, Kai said, “mommy, please get off your computer!” and I realized that I try to do too many things at one time. The big rocks need to be my kids and I can’t sprinkle little rocks in at the same time. Thanks for this Naomi!

  4. Pingback: Mindful progress – April OLW Bloghop | Poetic Aperture

  5. Pingback: How to Create the Ideal Lifestyle | Theattitudequeen's Blog

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