What causes us to feel stuck and bogged down sometimes in our work life? What is the best way to deal with the feeling that there is just too much to do?
Author Stephen Covey offered a solution to this dilemma in a recent seminar. He displayed a glass container nearly three-fourths full of pebbles. Next to the container were several large rocks. A person from the audience was asked to fit all of the rocks into the container without spilling any pebbles over the edge. After the audience member tried for several minutes, it became apparent that not all of the rocks could fit into the container. Trying again, the audience member emptied the pebbles, but this time put the rocks in first. Then she poured the pebbles back into the container, and they neatly filled all of the spaces between the rocks.
When we begin our day by working on the pebbles, such as daily planning and to-do lists, Covey says we are “prioritizing crisis.” But when we start with the most important tasks (rocks), the unimportant tasks (pebbles) neatly fall into place.
To get started, carve out one hour of time this week and shield yourself from distractions. Spend the time working on something (a rock) that is important to you. You will experience a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and that nagging feeling of having too much to do will fall silent.
Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, New York. Visit www.reliablepropane.com.