Put the Big Rocks in First!

At last week’s monthly mentoring group (which I mentioned here), I led the afternoon spiritual formation time. I used three props to focus on areas that I think are critical for leaders.

One of the areas I talked about was putting the “big rocks” in first. In preparation for last week, I remembered reading a blog post a few years ago (see Big Rocks First: Double Your Productivity This Week). The basic idea is that if you fill your bucket with small rocks (lower priority stuff), you won’t have room for the big rocks (higher priority stuff). Putting the big rocks in first makes you more productive because you’re completing the most important stuff (even if you don’t get to all the lesser important stuff, which you won’t).

I asked the leaders to list their “big rocks.” My big rocks are …

  1. Time with God
  2. Reading (or watching/listening to audio/video resources)
  3. Sermon Prep
  4. Exercise

These are all recurring big rocks. There are other big rocks that are on the list from time to time (i.e., projects, tasks, events, etc.) I’ve found that if I will put in these four big rocks first (and preferably early in the morning), I am much more productive!

It’s not easy. My temptation is thinking that if I could knock out a bunch of the small rocks, then I’d be able to focus on the big rocks. But there seems to be a never ending supply of small rocks, and eventually, I run out of room for the big rocks!

What are your big rocks?

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