When I train on the subject of time management, one of the analogies I often use is the one about the 3 buckets and the pint glass.
One of the buckets is almost full of large rocks
One of the buckets is almost full of small stones
One of the buckets is almost full of sand
and the pint glass is full of beer.
The contents of the buckets represent all the things you need to do to succeed.
The question is how do you fit all the contents into just one bucket. Or put another way, how do you fit everything you need to do to succeed in your day.
The answer is to start with the large rocks (the important things that are essential to your success) and make sure they are placed in the bucket first. (the tasks are written with indelible ink in your schedule first before considering the other stuff).
Then pour in the bucket of small stones so that they fill in the gaps between the large stones (use the gaps in your schedule after the important tasks are scheduled to fill in the ‘day to day’ stuff)
Finally pour in the bucket of sand, which is small enough to fit in the gaps left after the large rocks and the small stones (use the little gaps in between the major work to catch up on the trivial stuff that won’t directly contribute to your success, but you enjoy doing and give you a rest for the important stuff).
Doing this, scheduling the important stuff first and then allowing the other stuff to fit around it, rather than trying to do it the other way round is the way you can get the absolute maximum from any day (or any time period for that matter).
The trouble is we very often we start with the small trivial stuff and never leave space for the stuff that REALLY matters.
As for the pint of beer, well when you have fitted everything else into you bucket/day, you deserve a beer, and let’s face it, you can always fit a beer in 🙂