When is a bucket really full?

When a bucket is full, it’s full, right? You can’t add anything more to an already full bucket. Similar is life. If your day is full, it’s full, right? Sort of.

A professor held up a bucket and placed several large rocks inside. “Is the bucket full?” he asked the class. When they said yes, he proceeded to add a good number of smaller rocks, shaking the bucket so they fell between the larger rocks. “Is the bucket full?” he asked, and again they agreed that the bucket was full. The professor then added scoops full of sand. I don’t remember his point, but here is mine.

I start most days with a to-do list, either written or in my head. My day is full, but manageable. I check off the easy things first, it seems. Straighten the house. Clean the kitchen. Start the laundry.

Then the phone rings and I am distracted visiting with a friend. I have a writing group meeting, and then one of the members asks me to lunch. And so goes the day. At the end, I realize I never accomplished the most important things I needed to do. Somehow the day got away from me. I had filled my day with pebbles and sand.

My important things for the day need to become rocks. I need to do them first, even if all of my time management training tells me otherwise. That means I need to get my Bible study done, and my blog or book writing for the day done FIRST.

Then I am free to add the pebbles, the things I need to do but can wait to do later, things such as laundry and straightening the house. Oh trust me, they need to be done, but life as I know it won’t end if it doesn’t happen. In the past I would say, pick up the house and start with a clean slate, or start a load of laundry and it can be washing while I write.

Seems rational, but I never get to the rocks. After the pebbles comes the sand of my day, the things that don’t have to be done that very day, like weeding the garden, organizing a cupboard, or taking a bag of unused clothing to Good Will.

I am deeply ingrained in my old habits, so this won’t be easy, but I am going to give it a try. Rocks come first. I have a feeling at the end of the day, the sand somehow will have “fallen into place” where the rocks would never have fit.

How are you with doing what really needs done in your day? Do you never have time for the important things, whatever they are for you? Is your day crowded full of pebbles and sand, smothering out the rocks? Join me and give this a try! We may accomplish what science has been unable to do – add hours to our day!

Have a blessed week, Regina

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