There’s a popular story about time management. I will tell you the story.

The rocks and the jar 

A professor stood in front of his students with an empty mayonnaise jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full. The students said yes.

Then, he added small pebbles to the jar and gave it a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. He asked again if the jar was full. The students said yes.

The teacher then added sand to the jar to fill all the empty spaces. All the students agreed that the jar was now completely full.

– Unknown author 

What do the jar, the big rocks, the small pebbles, and the sand represent?

  • The jar – Represents our life.
  • The big rocks – Represent the priorities in our life, such as good health, spending time with our family and with the people we love, what we are passionate about, and everything that gives meaning to our life and fills our hearts. If everything else was lost and only the big rocks were left, our lives would remain full.
  • The small pebbles – Represent the things in our life that are important, but not essential to our well-being and our true happiness, such as our house, our car, our job.
  • The sand – Represents everything else, what fills our life and our material possessions. It represents small tasks or things we do to waste time, like watching TV and using social media. These things don’t mean much in our lives, and don’t influence our general well-being.

What’s the story’s lesson?

The metaphor is that if we start by filling our jar with sand, there will be no room for the big rocks or the small pebbles.
This is true for the priorities and important things in our life. If we spend all our time watching TV, on internet, on social media, or on small things, we won’t have time for the truly important things.

To live a fuller life it’s important to pay attention to the big rocks, to what’s really essential for our life, such as spending time with our family and with the people we love, building a solid and beautiful relationship with our partner, doing what we are passionate about and fills our hearts, working on something we love and makes us feel good, exercising, taking care of our health.
Let’s focus on our priorities, because this is what will really make us happy, fill our hearts and influence our well-being. There will always be time for work, for assignments, for pending things, and for everything else.


  • Identify your 5 big rocks – Identify the 5 priorities of your life. To stay productive and efficient in our personal and professional lives, it’s better to have a maximum of 5 big rocks in our jar at any given time.
    These rocks can represent a project we want to achieve, spending time with our family, exercising, among others.
  • Prioritize your big rocks – Before doing anything else, focus on your priorities. Remember, if you leave your big rocks for last, there won’t be room for them.
  • Plan – Organizing will help you prioritize your big rocks and realize how much time you have available for all the tasks/activities you want to do.

“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

– Walt Disney