How to put your priorities (and life) into perspective
Over the past few years I have battled trying to strike the perfect balance. The demands and responsibilities in my life have changed a number of times, and as a consequence of that, my priorities have changed too. Not always for the better, and I will be the first to admit that sometimes the truly important things have been pushed further down the list, way behind things that I gave more time than I should have.
I am sure I am not the only one. I recently discovered this story that has really helped me to put things in to perspective and in times when I'm feeling a bit under pressure to get the jobs done, I think about the jar, and every time it has helped me to realise that actually its ok to stop, wait a moment and re-evaluate.
The Empty Jar
A teacher stood in class with some items on his desk and a large jar. He filled the jar with some golf balls, and asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed it was full.
He then poured a box of small pebbles into the jar. The pebbles filled the spaces between the golf balls and he once more asked the class if it was full.
They agreed it was full.
The teacher then picked up a bag of sand, and poured this into the jar. The sand filled all of the smallest gaps in the jar. He asked the class if the jar was now full.
Laughing, they agreed Yes is was full.
Next, the teacher poured in tea, which filled all remaining space within the jar, and said "Now, I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life"
The golf balls are the important things.. Family, children, health, friends. Your relationships. If everything else was lost and only the golf balls remained, your life would still be full and meaningful.The pebbles are the other important things, your job, your home, and the sand... well, that is the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for golf balls or pebbles. The same applies to life. Spend all your energy on the small stuff then you don't have room for what is truly important.
One student asked, "what about the tea?" and the teacher replied, no matter how full life is, there is always room for tea with friends.
I have seen a few versions of this, and you can apply your beverage of choice, wine, beer, coffee, chocolate milk... whatever it is, there should always be time for those relationships.
There is a wonderful video of this here
Playing with our children, being healthy, finding time to pick up the phone and just say "I'm thinking of you" are such little things, but they can be so easily pushed aside with work commitments, deadlines, school runs, just always having to be somewhere. But take a moment, re-evaluate, and enjoy today, everyday.