Time management and being visionary

You have gone through a visioning process. You have identified the most important areas of your life and how you want these areas to be in the future. As an everyday visionary, how do you organize your daily life to be aware of opportunities when they present; and to have the time to do things that support your vision?

A very powerful and simple time-management tool is to use your time first on what is most important in your life. Stephen Covey, a time-management expert, suggests putting "First Things First". This means prioritizing your time first to activities that are the most important to you1. Your visions are very important to you, and fit into the "First Things First" area of your time. Covey tells a story about attending a time-management seminar where the presenter used the following example to illustrate this idea.

The presenter sat a large-mouth gallon jar on a table in front of the room. He set a pile of fist-sized rocks next to the jar. He began putting rocks in the jar until the rocks filled the jar to the top. The presenter asked the group, "Is the jar full?" Everyone looked at the jar and said, "Yes."

He then pulled out a bucket of pea-sized gravel from under the table. He poured the gravel into the jar and shook the jar so the gravel would fill in all of the spaces between the large rocks. He then asked, "Is the jar full?" The group was now on to the presenter, and responded that the jar probably can hold more.

The presenter then produced a container of sand. He poured the sand into the jar. The sand filled all of the spaces between the rocks and the gravel. The presenter asked again, "Is the jar full?" The group replied with a resounding, "No." Lastly, the presenter brought out a pitcher of water and poured a fair amount of water into the jar.1

So, what is the point of this example? One point you could make from the example is that you can usually fit something more into your life. However, the important lesson from the example is that if you don't put the big rocks in first, you would have filled the jar with other things and never gotten the big rocks into the jar at all. Trying to cram more into our schedule is an easy trap to get into. As an everyday visionary, it is not the quantity of what is done, but that what is done -- is what is most important.

We live in a fast-paced world with many demands upon us. Most of the time, there seems to always be something urgent and pressing that we need to be doing in our jobs or at home. Being an everyday visionary requires looking for tools that can help keep us on track toward our visions. When you identify your visions as a "big rocks" you will more likely notice an opportunity and have the time to take action when it shows up.

How to use the "big rocks" idea in your life:

Use the Everyday Visionary Workbook to arrive at what are the important things in your life. Put these things at the top of your "To Do" list or schedule specific time every week in your day timer as you would any other appointment like a doctor appointment or meeting.

Click here to obtain Everyday Visionary information and tools.


1 S. Covey, R. Merrill, R. Merrill, First Things First (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1994).

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