Time Jar for the Millenials
Identifying the rocks, pebbles, and sand in contemporary times
We’ve all heard about the time jar analogy for time management, which serves as a metaphor for determining what is useful and what is not. I’ll just recap it a bit here, in the jar of limited time, we should add the really important activities, the rocks first and then the not so much important stuff, the pebbles and lastly the non-important, leisure activities, the sand at the end to fill in whatever is remaining.
This is a really good analogy but I think a bigger challenge in today’s modern lifestyle is to identify what is a rock, a pebble and what can constitute sand. Once we have correctly identified the beforementioned only then we would be able to adhere to the theory.
Starting with the rocks, these should be the personal and professional goals for individual growth. These would constitute of the longer running objectives and would generally require concentrated effort over longer periods of time. These kinds of tasks require discipline and would need to be performed daily to extract long term benefit. Examples could include office work(productive work), the learning goals of an individual, maybe learning a new language or maybe a new skill or something which is of high importance like preparing for a business meeting or studying for exams. These need to be prioritized first in the jar of time.
Coming to the pebbles, these are those activities which aren’t immediate. They are important but we have the luxury of keeping them at bay for some time. They are your second priority items, the first one being the rocks. Some examples of these could be checking out emails or taking out time for hobbies, like learning guitar or music, or maybe reading books or writing something. These should be planned once you have your rocks planned.
Lastly, the sand would constitute of those activities which aren’t of much importance but are necessary to fill the gaps between two rocks or pebbles. These constitute small activities which can generally be done quickly. They act as fillers and are generally available in lots. They can be used to provide effective breaks between store or pebble sessions. Some examples of this would include leisure activities or social media or gossips with friends and family. These activities don’t have long time gains and if not managed quickly can take over the whole of the Jar not leaving any space for rock or pebble activities.
While planning out the day or week or whatever, we should first make out intelligent choices on what’s going to be our rock, pebble or sand activities. If we aren’t smart in identifying the activities, it would be nearly impossible for us to make productive use of our time.