Never Enough Time

Life is busy. It never seems like I have enough time to fit in all the things I want to get done in any given day, like regular exercise, time with family and friends, reading, or time for reflection. It's not all bad, I almost always have time to do the daily Wordle, and even several of the multi-word versions of Wordle in which you attempt to solve anywhere between two and thirty-two words at a time. Reflecting on my inability to accomplish some of my higher priorities while still having time to devote to frivolous pursuits like Wordle reminded me of an illustration popularized by Stephen Covey.

He tells the story of a teacher putting several big rocks into a jar until they reached the top of the jar. When she asked the class if the jar was full, they responded with a resounding "YES!" Next, she pulled out a bag of gravel and dumped it into the jar and the small stones filled the gaps between the big rocks until the gravel also reached the top of the jar. This time when she asked the question about the jar being full her students were able to respond by saying, "Not yet!" Following the bag of gravel, she pulled out a bag of sand which filled the tiny spaces between the little rocks. Finally, she got a pitcher of water, with which she managed to fill in the spaces even the sand was not able to reach.

The lesson being conveyed was every day we are each given a jar to fill with whatever activities we want, represented by the four different elements. The big rocks represent the areas in our lives we deem to be the most important. They are the things we value the most and the activities we believe combine to make a good life. However, even though we recognize their importance, our natural inclination seems to be drawn to the smaller three elements, which we tend to put into the jar first, leaving little space for the big rocks, or the truly important activities.

It's not hard to see the absurdity of filling my jar with multiple Wordle versions to the exclusion of much bigger rocks; the difficulty is changing old habits. It would be easy to continue with my old habit and be frustrated by my lack of time to do more important activities, though I plan to try to live differently. Instead of trying to do an immediate full overhaul, I plan to experiment by putting one of my big rocks into the jar first and every subsequent week adding another big rock. I invite you to join me in the experiment to see how it might transform your life. What are some of your big rocks: relationships, health, personal growth, a new project?

Chip Bender, RP(qualifying)
Interfaith Counselling Centre

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