Put the Big Rocks In First

This is a principle so simple and yet so profound, it will completely change your life if you consistently practice it.

I have written about this previously under the title of Creating an Annual Time Block. However, I just stumbled across this video by Stephen Covey. He describes a similar exercise in his book, First Things First. It is well worth taking seven minutes to watch it.

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The big idea is that you must schedule time for your most important priorities first. If you don’t, you will never get to them.

A corollary to this principle is this: what gets scheduled gets done. The opposite is also true: what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.

Here a few “rocks” you might consider scheduling first:

  • Pursuit of God. When do you spend time reading the Bible and praying?
  • Intellectual Growth. What books do you want to read? What conferences do you want to attend? If you don’t schedule time for this, it won’t happen. Remember: leaders are readers and readers are leaders.
  • Physical Exercise. Do you have a defined exercise routine? When do you do it? How much time do you spend? You are choosing today the quality of life you will experience in ten years.
  • Your Spouse. Do you have a daily time for debriefing and checking in emotionally? Do you have a weekly date night? Great marriages don’t just happen. They are cultivated. In my opinion, your marriage is your most strategic asset—or liability.
  • Important Projects. The tyranny of the urgent will crowd out the important if you aren’t careful. This is the secret of highly productive people. They schedule time for the really important projects so they don’t get side-tracked by trivial pursuits.

The only way to do this practically is by looking ahead on your calendar. Schedule the important stuff first, before someone else grabs the time.

Question: What are your “big rocks”? How are you making time for them. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Some of my “big rocks” and the means of making time for them:
    Sharpening my technical knowledge continuously — through pursuit of professional certification course with deadlines
    My family and friendship circle — As I am single and staying far away from my home, I always plan and allocate time for my parents and close friends in a month to visit them personally.
    Volunteering for noble cause — I feel this as personally satisfying to me and hence never miss an opportunity to serve the less fortunate people.

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  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    I have, of late, realized that the physical exercise is a big rock instead of a nuisance. Well, maybe it’s a nuisance and a big rock. So, mine are: spouse, family, spiritual growth, exercise, intellectual growth are the ideas that create big rock activities for my life.

    At work, preaching/teaching is the biggest thing that I have, and then there are a few major projects for the church that are my job to organize and handle.

    Personally, the ideas above then build into activities on a week to week basis. I try, and often fall short, to make sure that the actions I plan connect to at least one big rock.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      That holds true for me… I am doing so much with school- sometimes I don’t have the time for exercise!

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        I feel that, but I’ve discovered that the 30 minute investment (20 to exercise, 10 to shower, I’m no marathoner like @michaelhyatt) buys me an hour longer day and more productivity in the other hours. So, while the “time net” is only a half-hour, the effect is multiplied.

        I’ve got jury duty the next 3 weeks, though, so I’m not sure how to fit everything in. “Avoid going to jail” qualifies as a necessary big rock!

  • Sjohnston

    Meeting with God – do early in the morning
    Reading – do early in the morning
    Family – have set times during the week when we do things together
    Serving others – specific times during the week set aside for this
    Exercising/taking care of my body – set aside time 3-4 times per week for this

    There are others, but these are several of the big ones. It still requires a unique blend of balance and self-discipline. I haven’t arrived yet, but am growing.

    Great reminder! Thanks…

  • http://jenniferlynking.com Jennifer Lyn King

    Thanks, Michael, for this important post. It’s a great follow-up to your discussion of priorities not too long ago.
    Truly, life balance is one of the most elusive, yet most important elements of life. To work toward a healthy life balance takes constant monitoring and feedback, reassessment and outside help. Thanks for the great reminders of the things that are essential … and as a mom of young kids, I have to add a few more to the essential list you have. But, it’s true, the big rocks are most important to put in first.
    Have a great Valentine’s Day, Jennifer

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too.

      Yes, I have written on this a few times. In fact, I had read about the rocks demonstration, but never seen it. I stumbled on this video from Dr. Covey and thought, a picture is worth a thousand words. A video might be worth 10,000!

  • Karlmealor

    Need to work on this–

    Big rocks–quiet time with God, quality time with wife and children

  • Jim Thomason

    Great post Mike. I began using Franklin/Covey methodologies in the early 90’s and whatever career success I’ve had since has resulted from that decision.

    Monthly and weekly listing and prioritizing are essential, but then stepping back to determine your “big rock” priorities makes all the difference in how you execute. Not that many people use paper planners anymore (I do in spite of all my other technology), but the Franklin/Covey weekly list has at the top four categories: “Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional, Spiritual”. Below there is an area for each role you play in your life and a place to identify the “big rock” in each role.

    The formation of the template is telling of what our priorities should be. Before any of the roles we play in life, tending to our own spiritual, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being has to come first before we can be truly successful at anything else.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jim. I think it is hard to beat the “technology” of a paper planner. I no longer use one, but I know many (like you) who do and are very successful. (By the way, the technology is not the important thing; it’s simply a means to an end.)

      I like Dr. Covey’s metaphor of “sharpening the saw,” which you describe. It’s difficult to execute in any area of life unless you take care of yourself.


  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    This is a great video. It was shown at our leadership advance where I work a few years ago. It’s simple, yet profound. It’s also the basis of any STRONG goal. If you want to do anything of substance in your life you need to be able to schedule it. If you can’t schedule it you can’t do it… pure and simple.

    On a practical level, this is where a tool like Google calendar can really make a difference. You just create a calendar of all the things you are currently doing and then overlay a calendar of the “Big Rock(s)” that you want to accomplish. You’ll quickly find conflicts. If you prioritize the Big Rock calendar, you can move or delete the urgent but unimportant tasks to less important times. It might take 30 minutes of planning to do this, but the results can be profound. That book you want to write, or the marathon you want to run just won’t happen. You have to schedule them. (I put together a short blog post that shows how to create a big rock calendar here. http://bit.ly/hzWpGj )

    • Ben

      I really like this! I just have one Google calendar called “Big Rocks” and it seems to be working OK. But your idea of creating a separate calendar for each task is interesting. I may try that to see how it works. I like the way it looks on your blog post.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        After experimenting, I found having multiple calendars in different colors really make Google Calendar into a useful planning tool. If you give priority to your big rock calendars, you’ll find you can accomplish some amazing things by deleting or moving unnecessary items off your regular calendar (ie TV time etc) and replacing them with important, goal oriented tasks.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I love Google Calendar for the same reason. I also like that I can share specific calendars with people both inside and outside the company.

        • Ben

          I’m curious… Do you actually schedule every minute of your day like that? Is there ever any white space? I created more calendars and it’s starting to feel rigid and claustrophobic to me.

          • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

            I know what you mean, Ben. Calendars by themselves can get very rigid and claustrophobic. I actually just took a week and listed off the things I usually do during most time periods. I don’t watch much TV, but I do participate in Social media and have a long commute, so my calendar may be quite different from many people.

            If you actually track all you do during a week, you probably won’t have much white space to start. Then it’s just a matter of adding a major goal or task (big rock) and moving or deleting existing things. For busy people, just planning an hour of white space may be the best thing they can do. Filling out a full week’s calendar was really eye opening for me. I realized quickly that I have two unproductive hours a day commuting. Adding audio books helped me turn this time into learning time. I think what most people realize when they do this exercise, is that if you want to add something new and important to your life, something else will have to go.

          • Ben

            Thanks for the feedback. That’s very helpful.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I personally leave lots of white space. A page without adequate margins creates stress for readers. So does a calendar!

  • Clare Rea

    I work in a hospital clinic setting 3 days a week and am a self-employed creative 2 days a week. The first thing I do on those 2 days is sit in a coffee shop and plan out my day – putting in the big rocks first – writing, reading, research and other things that are important to attend to. My days rarely look the same but chunks of time are given to these as a priority. Everything else fits itself around them… I am more productive than ever on the things that count. Love seeing this shown visually in Stephen Covey’s video.

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    First things First great statement Mike,
    Recently I have been re-reading again the 7 Habits book, I am avid fan of Dr. Covey’s material, in this case it is worth sharpening the saw, for example my core principles are centered : Spiritual (Christ, God, Meditation, Praying, helping others), Social (family, Wife & Son, Parents, Brothers and Sisters, friends, professionla career) , Physycal (Fitness, Eating Healthy, Doctors Visits/check ups, grooming, dressing), Mental (Learning, Growth, school, reading books, magazines, etc).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I need to re-read 7 Habits. One of my favorite books of all time.

  • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

    Mike, I’ve been a big 7 Habits fan since I first read the book about 20 years. In fact I would put it in my top 5 books that have had the most impact on my life. I love the this exercise and the way it demonstrates the importance of setting good priorities.

    The only thing I don’t like about it is it implies that if we put the big rocks in first, we will be able to get all the little rocks into the bucket. The truth is that we can’t do ALL the little things we’d like to in life. Some things won’t fit in our buckets no matter how we prioritize them, but that’s ok. The import thing is to do the important things and be ok with not fitting in some less important things.

    • Ben

      I noticed that when I watched the video and agree with your thoughts. I’d rather leave some little things behind and focus on the things that are important.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      I agree Paul… it’s better to dump some gravel than to throw out a big rock. Even if that means giving up watching every episode of American Idol :-)

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      That’s an important observation – we really can’t do everything we want just by finding the right sequence. I have seen the illustration done several times over the last few years and – although implied – no one specifically states that it is ok, or even necessary, to leave some or many of the small things behind.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree with you. I think Dr. Covey’s point is more about getting the big rocks in first rather than getting all the rocks in. Thanks.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I’ve never actually read it. t’s been on my list, but always seems to get pushed back. New priority!

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        Irony of life: books about time management and prioritizing are the hardest to find time to prioritize and read! Need to re-read it too, it’s been 10+ years.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I pulled it out last night and set it on my desk. Starting it this weekend!

  • http://jennyrain.com JennyRain

    This is one of my FAVORITE classes ever (7 habits of highly effective people) – it completely redirected my life in 2005. Helped me establish core values, got me plugged into an awesome church when I lived down south (because the trainer who taught the 7 habits was a Pastor!)… Covey’s concepts also then became foundational for how I trained others and have repeatedly come up when I’m doing bible studies.

    My favorite one goes with the habit “be proactive”- It is on this page (scroll down to the video preview of “Stone” http://www.franklincovey.com/tc/resources/view/tr) – I tear up every time I watch it.

    My big rock – God – and I’ve been not so great about putting Him first lately…

  • http://www.davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    Thanks for the video, Mike. This idea is so revolutionary. It reminds of what David Allen talks about in GTD that in order to do your work well, you need to think about it first: align your priorities, figure out next actions, and then get to work. While it does take time to think it through, it actually saves time in the long run through an understood schedule and clear priorities.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I find that Stephen Covey’s work and David Allen’s go together nicely. I have learned much from each of them.

  • Ben

    I recently created a separate Google calendar called “Big Rocks” and made the label red so it stands out over everything else. Then I schedule specific times for a daily quiet time, my wife and my kids. I think the intellectual growth and exercise are good ideas, too.

    I set my Google calendar to remind me via SMS that I have something important coming up. Just yesterday, my wife said, “Thank you for making me a big rock.” So, I know it’s making a difference in her life.

    My kids don’t know that I’m being intentional about this effort, but I know it will pay off for them, too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a KILLER idea. I am totally stealing that!

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I do the same thing, but now that I’ve switched to a Mac, I’ll be doing it in iCal, which seems to be a little more versatile than my old calnedar system. I love the way you described the imagery of your calendar. I may have to recolor my different categories so my “big rocks” stand out. Thanks for the ideas!

  • myMagen

    Its funny, I was on my way home from the grocery store the other day and was thinking about this demonstration (I saw it years ago at a conference). I was wondering about how much “sand” I had in my jar. How I was “filling”up my days with little things. I don’t actually remember anything from that conference except all the rocks in the jar and a vague understanding of what the rocks mean.

    God has been speaking to me and I am falling short. Thank you for sharing and the suggestions. I will use them to build a stronger foundation.

  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    Thanks for this reminder. I have been reflecting on this principle during the last week because things have been out of balance recently. I’ve been spending time with a lot of little rocks, or even some of the less important big rocks- things that are urgent but not important.
    I can tell that it is affecting my relationships at home and work, so again, thank you.

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    Great post, Mike. I am with you on all your “rocks.” The big rock I struggle with (the one I consistently try to cram in at the end) is rest and sleep.

    When I plan out my daily & weekly battle rhythms everything fits nicely—as long as It leave out 6-8 hours of sleep a night! It takes a lot of trust to believe that I’ll be better, enjoy life more, and get more done in less time if I’m well rested.

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

      Very true Geoff. I imagine many of us do not “schedule” sleep and / or other rest activities. I like that the demonstration video included vacation as a big rock.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      Wow Geoff, imagine how many things you could get done if you didn’t have to sleep. I remember a post by a popular blogger some years back who tried out polyphasic sleeping. Instead of sleeping continuously for 6-8 hours, he would just take a 20 minute nap every four hours. He was able to get by on just over 3 hours of sleep a day for quite a while. The problem he encountered was that everyone else was sleeping at night, so he felt like a lonely hermit.

      Bottom Line: We also need to limit the number of big rocks we put in.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know if it’s an age thing or what, but sleep is almost my top priority. If I don’t get seven hours, things start falling a part. As a result, I am very strict about getting to bed by 10:00. (In fact, I shoot for 9:00.)

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      That’s an area I fail at as well. I often find myself readig “for just 10 more minutes” until the wee hours of the morning,and then suddenly realize just how tired I am going to be. And it seems like the effects are cumulative. The more I do this, the more it multiplies, not just adds up…

      I have to make this a bigger priority in my life.

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    “Your marriage may be a match made in heaven, but it requires maintenance here on earth.” -Unknown

    Your Spouse: My wife and I present for Worldwide Marriage Encounter. On this past weekend’s retreat, another presenting couple referenced that quote (please send me the original source if you know it!). Through WWME, I’ve learned to block time every day – just 20 minutes (10 minutes alone, anytime during the day and 10 minutes focused just on my wife). We try to write love letters each day and this has made a world of difference in our marriage.

    Thank you for sharing Michael. I’ve read and heard of this demonstration many times. Having the actual video in our head though, will undoubtedly reinforce it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I LOVE that quote on marriage. I am totally stealing it!

      • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

        Yeah – I wrote it down the second I heard it and knew I would get a lot of mileage out of it too. I need to find the original author for credit though….

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          If you do, let me know. I am about to start a Sunday school series on marriage. I plan to use this quote.

    • Anonymous

      I love that quote

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      How did you get that quote to show up in bold? That’s pretty cool!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        You have to know a little HTML. Use the “strong” tag—except replace the quote marks with the appropriate angle brackets.

  • Steve Barkley

    Similar to your “Creating a Life Plan”, I have used Dr. Covey’s process to help me define what is really important in my life. I realized that for me, when all is said and done, relationships trump accomplishments.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I totally agree.

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  • Anonymous

    What a timely post, Michael. As I venture into another tax season (as a tax preparer), I need to keep life in perspective and not neglect the big rocks (family and friends) that bring joy and meaning to my life.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You have won the first battle: awareness. The fact that you know this is coming and plan for it is half the battle.

  • http://bigcchurch.blogspot.com/ Ben Dillenback

    Is what I am doing bringing being an example and leading people to God on a ministry in the Church?

    This is a question I use as a filter to determine what I should be doing.
    Which really does break down to big 5 things mentioned here in this post.

    Although, I think drinking coffee should be in there somewhere.

    • Ben Dillenback

      *is what I am doing bringing people or leading people to God or a ministry in the Church?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree about coffee!

  • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

    “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It amazes me how we somehow expect things to magically happen. Health, in any form, does not happen by accident. Physical health, relational health, spiritual health…they take intention.

    This post fits beautifully with one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written: “Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast” http://michaelhyatt.com/slay-your-dragons-before-breakfast.html

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      That is one of my favorites!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Josh.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Love this. I think part of the problem is that, while we know the big rocks are most important, they are also heavier so we can tend to want to go for the easier, lighter lifting first. But that’s no way to get done what needs to get done. Nothing worthwhile is gained easily. The pebbles are smaller, there are a lot more of them and they can easily distract us… if we let them.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I agree. It’s so easy to just go with the flow, because there is so much effort involved otherwise. I have to be intentional, or else I fail.

  • http://www.confessionsofalegalist.com Jeremy Statton

    For me some of the little things that get in the way are simply distractions that I could do without, such as playing games on my kindle, iPhone, or on facebook. The games, for me, do not help me get anything done and I usually spend way too much time. It is easier for me to just totally discard them. I feel better, too, when I get the big things done.

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    Great suggestions for “rocks”. I think the only other one I would add to the list would be children.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      They are definitely important rocks!

  • http://twitter.com/StephanieLJones StephanieLJones

    Michael, when I opened today’s blog post, I was sitting at my desk fooling around with the little rocks. I was feeling convicted too. Why? Because I’m currently reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I’m on chapter 3, Put First Things First!!!

    I looked over at my husband and said, “God knows that He will tell you something over and over again.”

    Confession: I think I realized why I fool around with the little rocks. My ministry assignment scares me, so I keep myself busy doing a bunch of stuff. Exhale.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the timing!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have any other big rocks to add, but would love advice on how to keep the little rocks out of my life. Yikes!

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      Sometimes the little ones cause your life to feel hectic because all the little ones can add up!

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com/ Gina Burgess

    The very first rock that goes in my jar is asking God to manage my time. When I forget to do that, my day is usually hit or miss and mostly miss. It never fails, when I ask Him for help, He “makes” more time for me to do the things I must do, He makes it more enjoyable, and He is on my mind more than when I’m cruising the day without a rudder.

    I tried the Franklin/Covey planner, the Time Savers, Zig Zigler’s “Charting Your Course” and they all worked for a little while. God is the only time manager that has ever been a permanent fix for me.

  • http://twitter.com/sahaynes Stephen Haynes

    I recently used your popular priorities post in combination with this demonstration to have a 2011 pep talk with my Sunday School class. We spent January discussing making God a priority this year. We are going to be spending every 5th Sunday measuring our progress. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/manyhatsmommyMI Jenny Herman

    I agree with your list. I have added home schooling to my list of big rocks. This is a timely post, as I am kind of in a re-evaluating point. I have also gotten back to writing. The Family Manager system by Kathy Peel is helping me prioritize things as well. I highly recommend it!

  • http://twitter.com/jrheimbigner Jack Heimbigner

    As I learn more and more about appropriating my time there are a few major rocks that need to go into the bucket. And one of those for me is building community within my church. It is something that has always been left out because of work, or school.

    With a job change I have had the opportunity to re-organize and work out of some different “buckets” than I have in the past. And the biggest way of doing that comes with weekly, and monthly reviews. It has made the last few months a heck of a lot more fun, and I have been able to make a lot of new friends!

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    Thanks for the reminder. This is a great way to start out the week.

  • http://kevinmartineau.blogspot.com Kevin M.

    My biggest rock, next to my relationship with God, is self-care. I need to do this first before I can be effective at anything else.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      I agree with that one!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. Me, too.

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Great post! I really like the analogy!

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    It’s funny, I was at someone’s house yesterday afternoon and they were telling me that their pastor had just done that same illustration that morning in Church.

    It’s an illustration which I’ve used more than once…. but I never seem to put it into practice!

  • Anonymous

    My big rocks are time with God, my family andself improvement. I honestly struggle to find time as I am trying to build a business. I need to schedule time for my wife more each day to “debrief”. I like that way of looking at it.

    Thanks for adding the video. That was great.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    I feel like I have done well with all of these rocks except the Pursuit of God. It is so easy for me to get tangled in the daily routine and yet I am concerned about passing down godly values to my children and spiritually leading our family. Thank you for calling these out.

    I’ve seen the “big rocks first” presentation live before and it was very memorable.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I’m not so sure it is true that “what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.” After all, a lot of trivial and unscheduled nonsense does get done. I doubt that many people “schedule” their checking in with Facebook every five minutes, yet they do it religiously.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Obviously, I am speaking about the fact that important things don’t get done unless they get scheduled.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I just spent two days away from home & office (not overnight, just office hours) working on re-structuring my life plan, largely thanks to your posts here. I’ve focused on about 10 areas in that plan. I would consider those the large rocks. They include, in part: my relationship with God, my wife, and my kids, my finances, developing myself as a leader, and as a writer, my ministry, and my hobby of landscape photography. There are others, but you get the point.

    I’ve seen this concept illustrated before and love the idea. The hard part for me, is in keeping this in the forefront of my mind. I desire to grow myself, but it’s sometimes so easy just to drift through life. Intentionality has to be key, or it won’t happen for me.

    Thanks for the great thoughts!

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    I’m saying “Amen” and gulping in the same breath. I am in agreement and am, at the same time, quite challenged.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    In fact, I just added that calendar! Thanks!

  • Theresa Froehlich

    The principle of putting the big rocks in first holds true. Focusing on priorities first enables me to major in the major. I also wrote a blogpost using the same illustration on my own website about a year ago. Great post!

    Theresa Froehlich
    Certified Life Coach

  • http://www.liveonpurposecoach.com Dwright

    My big rocks are the things that you mentioned. Thank you so much for the reminder. I see some areas that I need to become more consistent in. Must of my big rocks, I have scheduled. However, there are times when the small rocks scream louder and they receive more attention. And at the end of the day, those things were not that important anyway!
    Thanks Again!!

  • Anonymous

    For me, the big rocks are my relationship with God and (right now) my school work. If I don’t plan ahead for “tackling” these priorities, the entire day can slip away without every focusing on them. I’ve started participating in the Maximize Your Mornings challenge (can be found using the #hellomornings hashtag on Twitter) for accountability in getting up earlier and spending time in the Word each day. Getting this earlier start to my day (6:30am instead of rolling out of bed at the crack of noon) helps me to have more hours to work and to be more productive!

  • http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/ Christopher Scott

    My big rocks are:
    – Time with God
    – Time with family
    – Work
    – Friends
    – Personal growth

    I make sure these get done by scheduling them first. They are all on my calendar first, before anything else. If someone asks for my time that conflicts with what I have listed above, it is easy to say no because I have already planned that time.

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  • http://twitter.com/mdmaurer MaDonna Maurer

    Thanks for the video link. I’ve not seen that before.
    “Big Rocks”
    Relationship with God. I really work on making that time everyday with him happen.
    Spouse. We have just started back up having “tea time” after the kids are in bed. We read a devotional together and discuss it, then pray together.
    I never thought about physical exercise as one. But, it is now on that list. It is so true….if I don’t take care of my body and exercise regularly, then I will pay for it later. And not just me, I believe it will affect my fam as well.

  • Anonymous

    This is so good, Michael. Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement!

  • Jeff Jones

    It seems funny to schedule time for a spouse but how important it is to make sure their is time in your day for him/her. I’m a “shoot-from-the-hip” scheduler meaning I resist planning for anything because I enjoy being able to go where I want but this is a miserable burden too often because I don’t get the things done I really, really need to get done. I’m getting better at filling my calendar with time for the important so I can enjoy the spontaneous more knowing I have or will be getting done the things that need to be done.

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  • Fpeiqin

    Reading – do early in the morning.http://www.moncler-cheap.org/

  • http://twitter.com/_salam_ Kevin Bushnell

    Thanks for re-posting this video, Michael.  I remember reading your other post “Creating an Annual Time Block.”  That piece really made me re-think how I organized my calendar – not just the day and week, but the month and year as well.  I love the story about the instructor who ask the question, “Is the jar full?”  I also liked how Stephen asked his volunteer to “use a different paradigm” when he suggested that she change to the empty jar.  How many times do we merely accept the reality that is the least troublesome to adapt to when engage with life?!  

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  • http://twitter.com/joewickman Joe Wickman

    It really is difficult to focus and re-focus on the important when the trivial and shiny lurk right around the corner. Thanks so much for the reminder.

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  • Jenny C

    My work team uses this weekly! Every Thursday, we each individually write up our “Big Rocks” work projects for the following week to keep them at the forefront. 

    Now I just need to carry that over into the rest of my life. Spiritual Growth, Health, Learning, Work and Relationships are probably my active top 5 “big rocks” right now.  

  • http://twitter.com/marymakesmusic Homegrown Learners

    I’m gaining so much from following your blog and reading “Platform” right now.   I have also read Covey’s book and need to be intentional about my BIG ROCKS.    

    Right now my big rocks are time with God, homeschooling my children, and building my blog (this last one is a rock that is getting bigger all the time!).

    Thanks so much for the insight.  I will be hearing you speak at the BEECH Retreat in January.   

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. I look forward to seeing you at the BEECH Retreat.

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  • SCHH

    i have been living every single day with this BIG ROCK expression…from packing the car from supermarket shopping to recovering from open heart surgery….NEVER PUT IT OUT OF YOUR MIND… you life becomes orderly beyond your imagination…it is what makes your day easier..and what makes your life so much less stressful…

    take a deep breath…and never forget PUT THE BIG ROCKS IN FIRST.

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  • Deni

    Can’t view the video, but appreciate the “big rock reminder”! (Says the video does not exist.)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s now fixed.

  • youngbean

    Any tips for putting the big rocks in order when your work schedule is chaotic and you have a toddler and one on the way?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, the principles are still the same. Each of us face our own challenges with priorities.

  • Sherrill Kuc

    Hi! when I clicked to view the video, a “sign” came up that said the video did not exist.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      They moved it, but it is now fixed.

  • http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/ Mike Rogers

    Michael, the video is not working. I did a post on this awhile back and had to replace the video link. You can go there at http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2012/07/big-things-first-great-time-management-video.html#sthash.qancMotF.dpbs
    I just checked it and the video is still working.
    Mike Rogers

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mike. It’s a moving target. I don’t know why Covey’s organization keeps having it taken down. It is great promotion for Dr. Covey’s work.

      • http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/ Mike Rogers

        You are welcome Michael. I have wondered the same thing. I have to check several of my blog posts regularly due to this “moving target” :)

  • Shelly moreau

    I’ve been so used to just remembering to do certain things – off the top of my head. I establish a list of priorities in my mind for a given day… But it’s true, when I put things down on my calendar and time is actually allotted to them, they seem to get done more easily. It’s like we seem to be more committed to it. It’s simple, but so effective, from personal to business growth. Thank you for sharing this article.

  • http://SwolePT.com/ Mike Kabbani

    Hey Michael,

    Video seems to be down again. I found another link though:


    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mike. I fixed it in the post above. It’s too bad the Covey organization doesn’t use this to promote their other products. They could leave this clip be and link to their website, for example, or one of Dr. Covey’s books.

      • http://SwolePT.com/ Mike Kabbani

        Maybe they need to read Platform!

  • Gary Thomas

    Writing my screenplay needs to take priority in terms of projects. I’ve been doing a UCLA course & leaving the writing till last thing in the day and you’re absolutely right, it just doesn’t get done.

  • Dan

    it says the video doesn’t exist. did it move? could you relink?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I just relinked. Tragically, the folks who manage Dr. Covey’s estate don’t seem to get social media and how this helps promote his work.