Friday, November 26, 2010

Pickle Jar Time Management

stones in the jam jar
A couple of weeks ago I discovered a new time management tool.  This discovery is very timely as lately I've found myself overwhelmed with all the things I need to do and never seem to quite get done.  The Pickle Jar Theory is such a simple tool and seems just what I need right now.  The system goes like this:  

Visualize a large glass jar.  This jar represents the time you have available on any given day.  Then think of the tasks you have to do in terms of rocks, pebbles, sand, and water.  Every day you fill your jar with these items; however, what you can fit in the jar depends on how you fill it.  For instance, if you fill the jar by starting with pebbles and water, you won't have room for the rocks.  The way to maximize your time/space, is to start with the rocks.  These represent the biggest, most important tasks.  Don't try to fit more than about three rocks into your day or you won't be able to fit in pebbles,  the smaller but essential items.  Next, imagine putting in some sand and finishing off with water - things that don't have deadlines but are important to your health and well being.  

With this system, you don't find yourself filling your entire jar with sand or water and then stressing out because you don't have room for the rocks.  However, by putting the rocks first, but limiting their number, you make room for the things you enjoy.

Now that we're in the holiday season (and I have pending deadlines at school), I need to use this simple system to prioritize, get things done, and keep my sanity.  

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

I have adult ADD and after reading that post I was so rattled it took me two days to leave a comment (after re-reading the post.) The thought of all those pebbles left me a bit breathless. ;-)

It's actually a rather cute idea and would work well for most people.

Since we ADD'ers number only about 1 in 25, that means lots of people will benefit.