As I watched the video of Stephen Covey doing the Big Rocks demonstration it took me back to when I had a 2-year-old and a newborn, and I was so overwhelmed I thought I was losing my mind. I was beyond sleep deprived, and I was teaching full time. I was in an endless cycle of mom and teacher guilt because it seemed that the things that really mattered to me (my Big Rocks), weren't .getting enough of my attention because all of the Little Rocks piled up and called out to me. I needed help prioritizing and planning. Intuitively I knew that in order to be the best mom and teacher I could be, I had to take care of myself, physically and mentally, first. I bought a Franklin Planner from the Franklin Covey company. Right away I knew this was something that was going to help me with my mindset, because it addressed my well being as well as my productivity.So each morning I would rise early and sit with my coffee and my planner to plan my day and my week. The planner reminded me to put my Big Rocks onto my calendar first. Built into the planner were many tools to help me keep that in mind as I prioritized. The best part was creating that habit of looking at each day before it began and got away from me, and setting my mindset and intentions for that day. It really helped me, and I carried that big brown leather planner everywhere! I don't use that paper version of a calendar anymore, as my life has been digitized, but those notions of how to put my Big Rocks first has stuck with me. My life is even busier now than it was then, in just a different way. The diaper bags and nap schedules have been traded in for football gear and practice schedules- in short, my three Biggest Rocks (my boys), are even bigger rocks now :)
As I look at this habit from a leadership point of view of course I can see how this habit will help me as a leader. If I am in a leadership position I am likely to have even more on my plate professionally, and I will have to have a clear picture of my Big Rocks, because I KNOW there will be a million Little Rocks that will try to usurp my time and energy. An effective leader definitely has a sense of what is most important and how to Put First Things First.
I'd say the toughest part about this habit is that as I have learned to prioritize, I have learned how to let the little things go, and while that has helped in my day-to-day handling of priorities and made me a much happier and less frazzled woman, those little things do pile up, and eventually I have to get to them. The piling up of those little things slowly eats away at a bit of my energy until it bugs me so much I become very proactive, find a pocket of time, and tackle those little things. Collectively the little things are still important, as many times they are things that can just be done later, but eventually they have to be done.
This week, as always, I will commit to teaching the habit of putting first things first with my boys. My two oldest actually surprise me often with how they prioritize their time for school projects, etc. Or if they know I have expectations of them to do some chores on the weekends, they come to me with a plan for how they will get their chores done AND have fun with their friends. Hopefully they've seen me model this habit for their whole lives and they are internalizing it. I was thinking that I would love to do the Big Rocks demonstration with them, and also with our high school students during an upcoming advisory class. Our students work independently, and sometimes time management is an issue. I think the Big Rocks demonstration would hit home with them.