How many times a week do you say “I just don’t have time”? Whether it’s going to the gym or catching up with a good friend – we all utter those words frequently. A few years ago while I was working at Trunk Club, we had a guest speaker from LinkedIn come in to chat with us about time management. Half of the time our guest was speaking, I found myself fidgeting and getting annoyed seeing the emails in my inbox pile up. I started to feel anxiety mounting in my chest as he was listing off ways for us to conquer our days. I remember thinking, “I could better manage my time if I didn’t have to sit in this meeting right now”. And then… he said something that has stuck with me to this day. He asked us to envision our time and to separate all of our daily tasks into sand and large stones. He said the sand was all of our busy work items such as emails, checking tasks off a list, cleaning our desks, etc. On the other hand, the stones were the really big important things such as money making activities and the things in our day that we REALLY wanted to achieve. He then asked us to imagine filling a large glass with our sand. If we fill it too much with sand (busy work), we have no room for our large stones (priorities). BUT – if we fill our glass with the large stones first and then pour the sand over the top, the sand will be able to sink into all the cracks and we’ll be able to achieve a lot more.
That speech really stuck with me. There have been so many times I have felt crushed under my own expectations to “get stuff done”. Dishes, laundry, errands, etc. But at the end of the day how do these add to my daily happiness? For me, my large stones come down to family activities, health, career growth, and friendships. Over the last year between infertility treatments, actually getting pregnant, and building a house, even some of my stones have shifted! The days I have time to even look at my sand tasks are so far and few in between – and guess what? I’m totally okay with that because right now I’m focused on priorities only. If it’s a priority, it’ll get done. If a task has to do with baby, house, or hubby – it’s number one.
I wanted to share this story because we all have different rocks and sand in our life. When I was personal training and coaching full-time, I would always have people approach me and ask how I fit time in to go to the gym or eat healthy. It’s not that I HAD time – it’s just that those were priorities to me and I made time. Some days that meant waking up at 5AM to get in a workout or skipping a Sunday brunch so I could go grocery shopping instead. Those were never burdens to me because I got so much enjoyment out of my personal health goals. I’m still working out during my pregnancy, but my long training sessions have since been replaced with quick trips to the gym 3 – 4 days a week.
So what stones and sand make up your day? If you’ve been feeling the urge to get to the gym, grow in your career, mend a relationship – ask yourself what is standing in your way? What sand can you brush to the side and what stones can you add to your jar? Write them down.
Lastly, I want you to listen to this amazing podcast by my friend and mentor, Staci Boyer, about priorities. A few months ago I interviewed her about her successful fitness and coaching career and we got on the topic of time management. She is honestly one of the busiest women I know – but she ALWAYS gets stuff done. She echoed the same sentiment as my guest lecturer from LinkedIn – she prioritizes the things that REALLY matter and that’s how she’s able to be successful personally and professionally. It sounds so simple right? Maybe it is… maybe we are over complicating things or focusing too much on the small things to actively accomplish our main goals.
Just a little food for thought… Enjoy your week!