How heavy is this rock?

Single rock

This rock fits in the palm of your hand. Could you stretch out your arm and hold it for five minutes? Sure, no problem. Could you hold it for an hour? Now how heavy is it? It’s heavy. How about if you had to hold it for a day? For a week? For a month?

Oh, and I should have mentioned – there isn’t just one rock I need you to hold. Here are the rest of them.

Pile of rocks

Okay – set the rock down and take a breath.

Each task you have to get done, each obligation you’ve committed to, each bold idea for a new project you dream of – they’re all rocks you carry around in your mind. Holding onto a single one isn’t bad but it’s tiring in the long run. And when you commit to piles of rocks and carry them around in your head, you collapse under their weight and walk away from the tasks, and forget the meetings, and ignore your dreams because you have too much to carry.

Now pick up the first rock again. Is this rock important enough to go into your planner? Is this task or obligation or dream something that’s going to matter to you in the long run of life? If it is, then carefully place it in your planner so you make sure you get it done. Now you’re not carrying the rock. You’ve put it in a safe place and you trust yourself to do the task it represents. It’s in your planner and you are organized. This rock will be taken care of.

Now sort through the avalanche of tasks, obligations, and ideas knocking around in your head – one rock at a time. What needs to happen today? What can wait until next week? What moves on to the fall? Did you find a rock that should never have been added to your pile in the first place? Pitch it!

Being picky about the work you take on and being diligent about doing the work you commit to in your planner each day brings you organizational Zen – the feeling that you are in control of your time and that you’re doing the work that’s most important to you. No avalanche. Just steady focus – one rock at a time.

Peace and love from the rocky coast of Maine. Photo courtesy of the amazing Tracy Carroll.

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