I was at a networking event last week and met someone who was really interesting. We spent a good amount of time talking and even tried to set up a coffee meeting so we could get to know each other better. But we are both so busy that we finally agreed to try connecting in another month when things might calm down. I wish I had more time in my schedule.
Most of my clients tell me they feel stressed. On top of the usual stressors of work, money and family, they feel overwhelmed by how busy they are. They feel as if they never have enough time – especially for the things they want to do, like catch up with a friend over a class of wine, get their hair done or get a massage.
What’s the solution?
The key is to prioritize. We all have to make choices about what is most important to us and do those things first. You’ve probably seen the demonstration with the mason jar, rocks, pebbles and sand. If you fill the jar haphazardly, you won’t be able to fit much inside. But if you start with the rocks, then the pebbles and end with the sand, you’ll be able to fit everything in the jar. Your time is the jar. And the rocks, pebbles and sand are how you spend your time.
What are the rocks in your life? What is most important to you? What would you be most unhappy missing? Maybe you don’t feel relaxed unless you take a walk after dinner. Or maybe it’s actually cooking dinner every night. Perhaps it’s a monthly book group meeting. Maybe it’s something crucial to your business, like a weekly networking event. Or is it something more personal like a massage or manicure? Schedule your rocks first.
What are your pebbles – the things you really enjoy or feel you should do but don’t necessarily have to do? Plan those around your rocks, but remember that it’s ok if you can’t always fit them in.
Finally, what is your sand? These are the things that just aren’t that important. It could be stopping by a casual party or making it to happy hour. It’s great if you can make it, but it’s not crucial.
How you prioritize your rocks, pebbles and sand is up to you. It’s an individual choice; your rock might be sand to someone else. And that’s ok. Sometimes you’ll only be able to fit your rocks in your jar. And that’s ok, too. Because when you prioritize your life, you’re engaging in self care that will make you feel less stressed and more in control. And who doesn’t want that?