Everyone seems to be curious how well known people spend their days…
Darren uses a popular time management technique called batching.
Instead of reacting to things as they come up, he segments his weeks and days into specific times to handle different types of tasks and subject areas. By allowing tasks of a similar nature to accumulate, he can then power through them all in discrete blocks of time, making him far more efficient.
Batch processing lets Darren get so much more done. His breakdown of how he batches the litany of business tasks was very enlightening, even if you’re not a blogger.
Looking at Darren’s batching schedule, though, there seemed to be something missing…
He had a lot of hours tied up in his professional life, but I also know Darren is a very committed family man. And, I wondered how he fit in the other side of his life. So, I jumped on twitter and asked:
“I’m curious how personal, health, professional and spiritual development get batched?”
And he tweeted back:
“haven’t quite extended batching to some of those areas :-)”
His answer really resonated with me, because I’ve found myself in a similar situation so many times.
It’s especially alluring as an entrepreneur who loves what she/he does. Because the line between work and play is so easily burred. But, still, the deeper I’ve gotten into life, the more apparent something’s become. When you discover tools, techniques and technologies that make your business life better, more organized, and easier, it’s a really good idea to step back and apply those same tools to your bigger picture life.
Which is where batching meets big rocks.
You’ve probably heard the story by now, but if not, I’ll share it. Imagine you’ve got a one-gallon glass jar that represents all the time you have to do everything every day. Then you’ve got a combination of rocks, stones, pebbles and sand, each one representing something in your life.
The more important the item, the bigger the rock.
So, the sand is the millions of little things, the minutiae. And, the biggest rocks are the most important things to you, often playing with kids, spending time with family, taking care of your health and developing your sense of spirituality (okay, so I just shared a bit of personal bias there).
Most people live by pouring all the sand and little pebbles into the jar first.
Because, this is just how most of us operate. It happens without deliberation. Rather than choosing how to allocate our energy, we just hit autopilot and respond to the millions little tasks that seem to fill up each day. Then, if there’s any room left in our life-jars, we try to jam the big rocks in after.
But, when we do, we find we’ve got a problem.
The big rocks don’t fit. It’s not that there’s not enough room in the jar, there’s plenty of room for all. If you put the big rocks in first, then pour the sand and pebbles in, they’d easily fill in all the nooks and crannies around the big rocks, “conforming and fitting” in a way that accommodates the more important items. But, when the jar is already half filled with sand and pebbles, they take priority and can no longer easily conform and fit around the big rocks, allowing all to have their place in the jar.
The lesson is, batch the big rocks first.
Rather than just batching your working life, take a step back and look at your bigger life picture.
Ask, what the big rocks in your life are? Then batch them accordingly.
Here’s an example. For me, the big rocks are:
- Spending “present” time alone with my daughter
- Spending “present” time alone with my wife
- Spending “present” time with both together
- Connecting with my broader family
- Connecting with close friends
- Exercising and health related pursuits
- Developing my spiritual practice/service to the community
- Spending time in my various professional ventures
So, I’d want to estimate how much time I want to spend on each, then make sure that I schedule each into my life in the order of what most important.
Then, within each category, if necessary, I would drill down and batch the major tasks, again, in order of importance, to allow me to get the most done in the time allocated to that category.
Is this an easy thing to do?
Of course not. The busier you are, the harder it to take the time to do it right. But, there’s another entrepreneur’s credo that applies here. If you truly want to succeed, you’ve got to spend time not only working in your business, but working on it. Same thing in life. That’s where the biggest, baddest, juiciest, fastest opportunity for growth lies.
It’s a big part of living not reactively, but proactively.
Because, when you blow off the big rocks and bail on the batching…
You end up with one big bellyflop of a life.
So, here’s a challenge.
Let’s all start working on this today. I’ve listed my Big Rocks list above, now it’s your turn. Share your Big Rocks list in the comments below. Announce them to the world (or at least our great community). That’s the first step to making them matter.
Then, spend some time today emptying your jar and batching the big rocks. Keep drilling down until you’ve actually got a weekly and daily time allocation plan. You can revisit Darren’s plan to see a great example of how he does it with his working life.
You may find that, within a fairly short time…
You really do have time to do everything…or a least a whole lot more of what matters most.
Does all this make sense? Do you already do this?
What am I missing?
How can we make this work even better?
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