Balance and the Jar Head Theory I struggle with balance.

That's as simple a statement as I can make about it. I tend to always have 18 irons in the fire and I really struggle to keep them all going. It's mentally taxing and physically exhausting. I feel like I'm always running and occasionally just collapse for a day before picking myself up and running again. Maybe you know the feeling...

I heard a theory a while ago and have been thinking it over again recently. Seems like it's surfacing again because it really wants me to pay attention this time (grabbing my shirt collar and shaking). I think it is a well-known time management excercise, but maybe you've not heard it (or need a reminder like me..hee). So I will just tell you my little interpretation of it.

I call it the Jar Head Theory.

You start with an empty jar. I picture a glass ball jar like the one below.

Fill it with large rocks until it is full...until you can't fit even one more. It's full right?

Nope. Add pebbles. Shake the jar so they fill in the gaps left by the rocks. Every nook and cranny.

No more room? Try adding sand. Fills the even smaller spaces.

And when there is just not even a little room left, add water. Pour in a whole bunch until it almost trickles over the top.

And there you have it. Your jar is full.

Obviously, the jar is your time and the large rocks represent your main priorities. The things that if everything else was lost you could still be happy and have a full life. The pebbles are the stuff you enjoy doing, the smaller things that still matter. Sand is all the stuff you have to do. And the water represents the clutter...all the little things that waste time or are superfluous to what is really important to you.

They all fit in there somehow, but it's up to you to figure out how they do. If you filled the jar with water and then tried adding a large rock, it would over flow. I think this is where my balance issue lies. I find myself focusing on the sand and water...instead of the rocks and pebbles. Sure, the little things matter, too. But maybe not as much as I think they do. I wonder what would happen if I would just let them go for a week. Would the world fall apart? Probably not.

Maybe it's saying no to things you don't want to do (but feel compelled to do out of nice-ness). Maybe it's not checking email for a few days. Maybe it's letting the dirty dishes sit on the counter for one extra evening while you spend quality time with your spouse. I dunno what it is for you. I just know that I am going to think on this for a while and try to determine what is most important to me and what things I can let go.

Anyway, got me thinking...maybe you too. :)