Why is Time Management Important

Asking why is time management important is best answered by the video below which includes, rocks, pebbles and sand. But you only get to see the video at the end of this page (No peeking!!). I'm going to walk you through step by step.

I really like this practical demonstration of "why is time management important?" I guess it's a pretty common concept that has been around for a while but that still doesn't detract from it's impact. As soon as I saw it I had another of those moments of clarity (I think Stephen Covey calls them Aha! moments). It's definitely a very powerful way to allow you to visualise how you should plan your life.

A Week in a Glass Jar

Lets imagine that a unit of time is this glass jar in the picture. For clarity, I've used it as a week because that's how I plan my life. Also, the week is really less than 24hrs x 7 days because it's the amount of time in a week that you have available to get stuff done. So, unless you are good at undertaking tasks while sleeping then it's best to imagine the glass jar as a week of awake time!

The sand, rocks and pebbles represent the various tasks or things we have to do in our week in order of importance. Obviously, the rocks are the important items (the big ones), maybe it's an assignment or a work project.

When I'm being "stay at home mom" my rocks are organizing our dinner menu for the week, the kids extra curricular activities and my exercising.

Remember what I talked about in the What is Time Management? page. The rocks are the items that you have decided are life-goals or relate to your life goals.

The pebbles are the smaller tasks which relate to the rocks - so for example, if you were working on an assignment or a work project then the pebbles would be the sub-tasks - the literature review or writing a chapter or for work it would be getting ready for an update presentation on your project or completing a smaller milestone. When I'm at home, these pebbles are the semi-important items like helping the kids with homework or cooking dinner (since we have to eat and I don't like getting takeaways).

Now, working in a logical order, can you guess what the sand is? That's right - it's the other stuff. For all of us, it's the emails, the returning phone calls, the meetings. Even at home, it's the cleaning, the washing, the ironing (surprisingly all the tasks that I hate to do!).

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Tasks in the jar

Okay - lets put all of these tasks into the jar.

Sand, Pebbles, Rocks - hmmmm - they don't fit!!!

Why is time management important? For this very reason - how else can we get these tasks to fit into our jar?

I know - a bigger jar - that's the answer. Remember that the jar is our unit of awake time - so we could solve this problem by just staying awake longer - maybe we really only need 3-4 hrs sleep a night.

Enlarging the jar or staying awake longer not possible? Maybe we could reduce the number of rocks then we'll be able to fit everything in. However, if the rocks are your important items, your life goals as it were, I'm not sure we really want to remove those.

I guess the best way would be to remove the pebbles or the sand, that could make everything fit it.

Well, that is definitely one way to do it - but I have another.

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Another way

Lets try it like this - Rocks, Pebbles, Sand

Now it fits - and we didn't even have to remove any sand.

So what does this tell us?

That's right - we need to put our rocks on first. So, those tasks that you decide are important - the assignment, the project, the kids extra-curricular activities, exercising - they need to be prioritised and put into your jar first.

The big stuff gets prioritized first and everything else gets put in around them

So, why is time management important - because if we didn't manage our glass jar, if we didn't manage our time by putting the tasks into our jar in the right order , then we wouldn't be able to get anything that is important to us accomplished.

So, try not to fill your jar up with Sand - focus on the Rocks in your life.

This is the video I made to answer why is time management important

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