Making Room for the ‘Big Rocks’: Time Management Advice

MZ Marketing KCMO

Going to college is stressful no matter your age, lifestyle, or goals. Students must worry about extensive reading assignments, lengthy essays, and research, research, research, all while balancing life and maintaining their mental well-being. But one of the most stressful thing that students (or anyone, for that matter) must face while pursuing their dreams is time management. With all of that school work, how does one balance a job, a family, and a social life?

I am a mentor at my school and recently was given some curriculum with this wonderful allegory:

Fill a bowl with large rocks. The rocks are clunky and leave space in the bowl. Now pour in some gravel. The gravel sifts down in between the big rocks and fills the bowl even more, but is it full yet? Now fill the bowl with sand. The sand sifts down in-between the gravel and fills the bowl even more, but now is it full? Now fill the bowl with water and watch the water fill the tiny gaps between the grains of sand.

What do you think the point of this allegory would be? An obvious one might be that there is always room for more and that if you work hard enough you can find space for everything. But, there is something even more useful to be learned: the big rocks have to go in first or they won’t fit at all.

Make room for the most important things in your schedule first.

Finding the “big rocks” in your priorities and making room for them first is so important. What are the “big rocks” in your life? School? Family time? Exercise? Make room for those priorities first before allowing your schedule to get filled up by tiny little things, and you won’t worry about feeling unaccomplished or unsuccessful.

In order to make room for the most important things, you must first know what those things are. Make a list and put them on your weekly calendar. Talk to your partner or mentor about helping you achieve those scheduling goals every week. At the end of the week, review what you have accomplished. Did you make time for the big priorities in your life, or was your time eaten up by the little things? Practicing this will help reduce the stress of being a busy student and it will help you be more successful with your goals.

Your time is important.

Originally posted Nov. 5, 2015: