A few years back, I remember being in a water aerobics class over Labor Day weekend. The instructor noted about how much time we had left that year to get and stay in shape. If you look at this year’s calendar, we don’t turn the page to 2018 for 117 days. Plenty of time to make a difference in your business this year and be ready to accomplish even more in 2018. (It’s hard to believe I’m already saying 2018!)
In addition to Labor Day weekend, for many kids it’s the official end to summer and back to school. And, you’ll find plenty of 2018 calendars in your local office supply store or online. No time like the present to start to think about 2018 as well as how you can make the next 117 days the best.
Rocks, pebbles, sand
I like the rock, pebbles, sand approach. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. It was popularized by Stephen Covey of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The big rocks stand for what is most important in your life. This could be the book you want to write. It could be your family. It could be your faith. It could be your health. It’s what makes your life work and have meaning for you. Your goal is to know what is most important to you and be sure it gets the attention it deserves.
The pebbles would be the next most important things. They add to your life (like your hobbies). You really want to do these things, but if you don’t, it won’t have as big an impact on your life as not doing the big rocks. The sand is really the minutia of life, watching television, surfing the Internet, etc. You know what impact that has.
Picture your life as a glass jar. Your goal is to add the big rocks to your life first, followed by the pebbles, followed by the sand. If you wait to put the big rocks in last, you will not fit them in. You’ll spend all your days in the minutia and lower priority items that you miss the important parts of your life.
Time to take out your calendar
While the analogy is usually done with respect to one’s life as a whole, you can apply the principle to your business. Your first step is to mark off any existing appointments in your calendar. Next you want to look for your big rocks and schedule them in the calendar. This would include big rocks personally and professionally. You need to account for both, since both are what make up your life. Start with the next 117 days and then move into 2018. Once you’ve got the big items placed, then go back and fill in the middle level priorities if you know them. You may not know them and that’s fine.
Bringing it to each week and day
As you start each week and/or day, you keep the rocks, pebble and sand in mind. Ask yourself what your big rocks are as you set your agenda. Tackle them first. That way you won’t get caught up in answering emails and down the Pinterest rabbit hole. If you get stuck dealing with the pebbles and sand, you will never get the big project finished.
Value of the big rocks approach
When you structure your time to take into account the big rocks, it automatically provides focus in your life and business. You know where to spend your time. You know where your staff/team/family should focus.
It’s not about getting more things done. It’s about getting the right things done. This will help you do that.
It’s your turn!
Do you have your calendar for 2018?