The Basic 2Time Elements as “Big Rocks”

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Put In The Big Rocks First!

In “First Things First,” Stephen Covey tells a story that one of his associates heard at a seminar. The seminar presenter pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar and placed it next to a pile of fist-sized rocks. After filling the jar to the top with rocks, he asked, “Is the jar full?”

The group replied, “Yes.”

He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar. The speaker jiggled the jar until the gravel filled the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?”

This time, the group replied, “Probably not.”
The speaker then added some sand and asked, “Is the jar full?”

“No!” shouted the group.

Finally, the speaker filled the jar to the brim with water and asked the group the point of this illustration.

Someone replied that you could always fit more things into your life if “you really work at it.”

“No,” countered the speaker. The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, ” . . . would you ever have gotten any of them in?”

As you start the new year, think of the “big rocks” in your life as the things you can do to make this a healthier and happier year for yourself and others.

Taken from the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension website.


I think this post is interesting, but not because of the point it’s making. The principle behind the point it makes is far more important. In the 2Time Management System, the point is to focus on perfecting the 11 Elements, or basic disciplines. They comprise the “meat and potatoes” of time management. In other words, they are the Big Rocks. They are the 11 inescapable building blocks of every single time management system used by every single working professional that ever lived, or ever will live (or at least, so it seems!).Outside of these 11 Big Rocks, there is a lot of information that is passed around as good advice in the area of time management. People grab onto these tips without realizing that they are not the Big Rocks, but instead are only the pebbles and water. The same goes for new organizers, or electronic gadgets. More pebbles and more water, if the Big Rocks aren’t properly understood, practiced, and perfected. They only end up making things worse, like a man who spends 4 hours researching and then buying the latest basketball shoes instead of practicing his free throw.

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One Response to “The Basic 2Time Elements as “Big Rocks””

  1. Tips for the Kitchen « The 2Time Mgt Blog Says:

    […] an earlier post I talked about the idea of Big Rocks in 2Time – key practices to implement first, before any tips are attempted. They make up the meat and […]

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