Many years ago, I read a book that illustrated how we can fit more of what matters into our day. We’re all busy. We have tons to do, less time for rest, and most of us suffer from a feeling of overwhelm. We can do something about this. We don’t need to be victims of busyness.
Here is the visual. A mason jar was half full of sand. Then a cup of pebbles was added. Finally, some large rocks were put on top. The problem was that there wasn’t enough space left for most of the rocks. A perfect analogy for a busy parent.
The sand is all the small disruptions and distractions that happen during the day. The pebbles are emergencies, unplanned urgencies, and small tasks that show up unannounced. The rocks are our top priorities, the things that make our lives feel the best, that we care about most, and we find very little time for them.
UGH. Does this sound familiar. You go to bed at night and know that the things that matter most didn’t get done because so much other stuff got in the way? I’ve been there! But as I repeat many times, you are not a victim, and neither am I. We have power in our lives, and we can take control of this whole jar business.
Here is what works better. Put the large stones in the jar first. Then add the pebbles and finally the sand. You can fit so much more comfortably into the jar. There are many tools/strategies to help us put the rocks in the jar first. Here is just one that has been helpful to me.
My number one strategy to put the rocks in first!
I have a morning and evening routine. I get up early every day and I know what to do in the first hour. I pray, read my core book, and exercise. On a good morning, I may even have time to study something I want to know more about. Some mornings, because life is life, all I get done is my prayer. That one thing gets me off to a good start, no matter how hectic things get. I get to count my morning routine because I did something in it even if I couldn’t do it all.
My evening routine has me ending my day at a certain time or as close as I can get to it. : ) This one thing is vital! Otherwise, I’m tempted to work right up to the time that I fall into bed exhausted. Since I put my rocks at the top of my to-do list they will be done, for the most part. Then, no matter what else is on the list that doesn’t get done, it’s ok, because they aren’t the most important things.
Then I shower because it relaxes me. It’s my gift to myself each evening. I read my core book with my husband and mother, write in my gratitude journal, pray and then turn out the light. No matter how the day has gone, if I manage these two routines, even if I can’t do everything, I feel more successful and in control. They ground me.