Why You Need Rocks In Your Life (#54)

It’s exciting to see everyone in 2017 planning mode, setting their business and personal goals for the year.

Each quarter, our team gets together and sets “rocks” to complete over the next 90 days as part of a planning system we use called the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). The choice to call them “rocks” instead of “goals,” is intentional and has a very specific meaning that comes from a Stephen Covey analogy.

Rocks are analogous to the big, important things in our life that give it meaning: family, partner, health, goals and dreams.

If you take actual physical rocks and put them in a glass jar, you’ll find that there’s space left over for smaller objects like pebbles, sand and water.

The pebbles represent other things that give our lives meaning – job, house, friendships, hobbies, etc.

The sand and water represent the smaller things that aren’t as significant, but tend to fill our time up quickly. Things like watching TV, grocery shopping, paying bills, running errands, etc.

By focusing on the big rocks first, you’re still able to fit many of these other things in. However, if you try and do it in reverse or out of order, then the big things will get left out.

Here is a great video depicting this concept.

People often say that they are “too busy.” What that often means is that they are too busy focusing on the water, sand and pebbles, so they struggle to fit in the time to focus on their big rocks.

What EOS and other planning methodologies stress is that your rocks are the most important things to get done and what you need to hold yourself accountable to.  No one has “enough” time. The difference is that highly productive people make sure that if something doesn’t get done, it’s because it was less important. This is such a simple concept, yet it’s very difficult for many to master.

The easiest way to improve this habit is to set quarterly rocks for yourself and then pick three things each day that, when completed, will help you towards accomplishing one of these rocks. Soon, you will chip away at these seemingly unobtainable goals and get to where you want to be.

Here are three tools that can help you make progress with setting your rocks:

Quote of The Week

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

Stephen Covey

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2 Comments

  1. Henry January 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Loved this one – the concept of prioritizing “the rocks” is something my wife and try to do as well (though its not hard to start confusing rocks for the pebbles).

    Great food for thought today.- Thanks Bob.

    Reply
  2. Sheila Oranch January 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Robert, your e-mail invites a response. You did a good job of describing a system of prioritizing.

    We also use rocks as the metaphor for important things. Derived from the Time Management Matrix we learned from Stephen Covey, we weight things by quadrant. We often cite the jar fable as well. Then there is the image of time as a river. Our phrase in daily schedule integration is, “what are the big rocks in your stream today?” Those are the solid goals around which others must flow. It is interesting how we humans build mental systems to manage our behavior.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Sheila
    sheila@coppertoppe.com 603-744-5036

    BTW we operate multiple businesses. Our other pile of boulders is Aurental Consulting and Technology Services, aurental.net
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    Bill Powers, Innkeeper/IT consultant
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    603-744-3636, info@coppertoppe.com
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