Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time Management At Its Best: "The Pickle Jar Theory" by Sandy Klim

In the November-December 2010 issue of Going Places: The Magazine for Today's Traveler, there is an article called "The Pickle Jar Theory" by Sandy Klim. Since I try to balance my time in between all the different "hats" I wear, I pulled the magazine closer to learn how to balance those "hats."

Klim wrote, "There are thousands of plans, programs, techniques and tips for time management, and yet it remains one of the most elusive components of our daily lives. The Pickle Jar Theory helps you visualize your priorities, as well as the amount and size of tasks that can be done realistically on a given day."

Basically, the Pickle Jar Theory works with four steps. Klim organized the list nicely in the article. She wrote, "To plan your day, imagine a large empty pickle jar." Then,

1. Add three or four large rocks to the jar.
2. Add a small handful of pebbles to the jar.
3. Add a handful of sand.
4. Fill the rest of the jar with water.

Why these steps? And, why in this order?

Klim wrote, "If you were to put the water and sand in first, and then your pebbles, very few of the large rocks would fit."

I understand, when planning my day, I need to determine my priorities. The three or four rocks represent objects that are "high priority." The last element, the water, represents "family and personal time"--even though it is the last element, it is still a priority and a large one at that. My jar needs balance. It cannot have large rocks and no water, likewise water with no rocks.

How do I not become overwhelmed with organizing my Pickle Jar? At night, I will go to bed without thinking about rocks, pebbles, and sand that didn't fit. From my pillow, I'll be comforted with the thought that the water will automatically be in my Pickle Jar.

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