Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big Rocks Revisited

Have you heard that story about the teacher who showed his students how to get a sizable amount of big rocks, little rocks, sand and water into a jar, as long as they put the big rocks in first? The analogy was that the big rocks are your most important relationships and they deserve your first consideration.

With the pace of life today and the demands of both the online and offline worlds, how many of us can really be certain we're giving our most important relationships priority? Typically we're hounded on the phone, email, mail and social media by people who are either strangers or far from our inner circle. Yet these folks can easily consume a lot of our daily attention.

Social science suggests we can only have around ten close personal relationships at a time. This matches what I learned at a recent conference: on average only 10 people will cry at your funeral. And of those who attend, 50% will look to the weather to decide if they go out to the cemetery afterwards. Can you even identify the top ten relationships in your life right now? Are you guilty of letting people who don't matter matter?

Last year I made it a habit to write down the names of the people who are most key for my happiness and success. Then I took it a step further. I kept that list on my desk and cross referenced it to my monthly calendar. This step can be a shock if you've never done it before. You may find the way you spend your time is totally out of alignment with who is most important to you. If this is the case, seeing things in black and white can help you fix that.

TIP: This quarter, why not identify your top ten relationships and periodically see if your calendar reflects your priorities. And look for ways to make yourself less available to the others. Let some calls go to voicemail. Don't answer every email, just click delete. Take a social media fast every now and then. Trust me, you will miss very little of importance. Put the energy into your big rocks instead and let me know what happens.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

1 comment:

Terrah said...

Thank you for sharing the "rocks" analogy with me. What are some things you've discovered to be significant improvements, personally and professionally, since putting this practice in place?