Recently I’ve been reading a number of blog articles that have highlighted the fast pace of life we now seem to be experiencing. The advent of mobile phones and laptops has made us accessible 24/7, inevitably putting more work into the work – life balance.

There are many theories and strategies that advocate better time management in order to readdress the balance, but in reality the management of time is a bit of a myth. Time doesn’t need to be managed as it has a funny way of managing itself; no matter what we do each second, minute, hour or day will pass just as the previous. So what we need to do is not manage time, but manage ourselves and proactively prioritise our tasks and the order we complete them.

Consider the following story.

A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2" diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor indicating to the now full jar "I want you to recognize that this is your life.”
The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children -anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.

The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, house, or car. The sand is everything else, the "small stuff." "If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks.

The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.

The moral of the story; pay attention to the things that are important in your life and spend time on the important. Don’t manage time, manage yourself. Work out what the big rocks are in your life and put them in the jar first. The pebbles and sand can always be added later.

Author's Bio: 

Dave has been involved in the Coaching Industry for over 25 years. After gaining a Masters Degree in Coaching, at Brunel University, he spent two years lecturing on ethical issues and risk management for coaches within sport.

Dave now runs his own Performance Coaching Company S4P Coaching Ltd. and writes a regular blog about issues around Coaching and Performance at