Place the large stones first...

Back in the days before social media, this wonderful story did the rounds by email. Apparently it is from a course in time management, which is something I'm sure we could all benefit from! 

Given that the older I get, the busier I seem to be, I thought it might be time to dust it off, share it with you, and if possible apply it to my own life...! I hope you enjoy it and maybe also find it helpful...

A consultant, expert in assessing companies on Time Management, wanted to surprise his audience at a conference he was giving. From under his table, he brought out a large glass container with a wide opening in the top. 

Detail from Moon Meditation (2015) by Dolores Gage

Detail from Moon Meditation (2015) by Dolores Gage

He placed it on the table, next to a tray with stones the size of a fist, and asked: "How many stones do you think will fit in the container?" 

Once the audience had made their conjectures, he started to place stones in the container until it was full. Then he asked: "Is it full?" 

Everyone looked at it and nodded. 

Then he brought out a bucket full of gravel from under his table. He poured part of the gravel into the container and shook it. The little stones filled the spaces between the larger ones. The expert smiled ironically, and repeated: "Is it full?" 

This time, the audience was doubtful: "Maybe not."

"Good!". And he placed a bucket of sand on the table, which he started to pour into the container. The sand slipped into the small crevices left by the stones and the gravel.  "Is it full?", he asked again. 

"No!", cried the audience.  
"Good", he said, and took a 1 litre jug of water which he proceeded to pour into the container. The container still wasn't full to overflowing. 

"OK. So what have we just demonstrated?", he asked.  
A student replied: "That no matter how full your diary is, if you try, you can always fit more things in."

"No!", concluded the expert: "What this teaches us is that if you don't place the large stones first, you will never be able to place them later on.

Which are the large stones in your life? Your children, your friends, your dreams, your health, your loved one? Remember, place them first. The rest will find its place."