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Accomplishing More with Less Time

We have all experienced those days which were full to the brim and at the same time we have experienced days when a few time consuming tasks have taken up all our time.

Why is it that on some days we can do so much while on other days we seem to do practically nothing though we were busy the whole day? In order to provide an answer to this question, I would like to give you a small illustration.

Imagine your have a large bucket. Try putting some rocks into the bucket. When I say rocks I mean something the size of medium sized cabbages. The most you can put into the bucket would be three or four. The bucket is full isn’t it? It is full of rocks. But does that mean that it is really full.

Now get some stones probably the size of table tennis balls and see whether there is room for a couple of the in the bucket. Definitely four or five of the stones can slip in to the spaces between the rocks. Is the bucket full now? Yes it is full of rocks and stones.

Now, see if you can get some glass marbles or beads. Slide them into the bucket. You don’t have to try too hard; they will find their own paths. If you think that the bucket is full now? Think again.

Just wait till you get some sand and pour it into the bucket. You will be amazed at the speed with which it trickles in. We are not done yet. You are not going to believe this but the bucket will actually accommodate something more.

Try pouring a glass of water into it and you will find the water disappearing into the depths of the bucket. Now your bucket is full.

The purpose of this experiment was to show you that what you thought to be full could in fact accommodate much more, but of a different kind of course.

This is exactly what happens to most of us on most of our days. We take on big tasks. That’s well and good. But we get so occupied with these huge tasks, which may take more than a day to get over with anyway, that we tend to forget those smaller tasks which may be just as important. This is where we can understand the importance of prioritizing. The big things are important, but the small things have to get done too.

While you are trying to handle those rocks, do not forget those stones, marbles, and grains of sand and drops of water.

Need some examples?

  • Things like saying good morning and greeting others generally are very important. These things I would compare to the water.
  • Telephone calls (remember to be brief) I would liken to the sand. They keep coming all the time.
  • Responding to emails and paying bills can be compared to the marbles.
  • Meetings and discussions are the stones.
  • Major projects and things like audits and presentations are the rocks.
  • There should be time for everything and everything should have it’s time.

A final word on accomplishments.

Please discard the myth of perfection. It does not exist in this world. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is perfect. So stop trying to make it that way.. As long as it is presentable you don’t have to lose sweat about a project that you have done. But that does not mean that your work should be shabby. Make it as presentable as is possible within the time frame allotted.

Learn to manage your time.






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