Time Management Analogies for Moms (or Anyone!)May 23, 2023
Hey Everyone! Welcome back to the Elevate Motherhood Podcast! Thanks for being here! Today’s episode is about time-management and priorities. Things we love talking about here on this podcast! As we like to say- make space for things that matter most! And on this podcast I mean that literally like decluttering our houses but also mentally choosing the pieces of our lives and how we spend our time intentionally to reflect our priorities.
Today I’ll share 2 different analogies I have heard over the years that have really stuck with me and help me make decisions and spend my time wisely.
And I know as moms there are lots of messages like- don’t take this time for granted, be present, all of that. We know all of that. So this is not a lecture about that! I know you know you want to be a good mom and you’re not taking things for granted. But I like this podcast to be practical like how to do stuff in an easy way.
And sometimes for me I can hear things like a million times and then one different person says it or someone says it in a slightly different way and I’m like, "OH WOOW I LOVE THAT." And it sticks with me. And these 2 topics today have been like that for me so I hope they are for you too!
The first one- I couldn’t find out who this story is attributed to or I would tell you right now. It seems that this story has just been passed down a million times and with a million different versions.
So here we go:
A professor stands in front of a class with an empty glass gar. He fills the jar up to the top with large rocks and ask the students if the jar was full and the students all agreed, yes the jar is full. Then he added some small pebbles to the jar and they fell in around the rocks and asked the students again if the jar was full and they all agreed, yes the jar is full. Then the professor poured some sand into the jar which filled up some remaining empty spaces and then he asked the class again, is the jar full? And they agreed yes the jar is full.
So the analogy is if the jar is your life and your TIME in your life… then the big rocks are the most important people or things in your life. This will be interpreted differently for each person but some of the big rocks and most important things in your life might be – your spouse, your kids, your family, your faith, your health, your friends,, and the pebbles are less important things like maybe hobbies or your job, school, or your taking care of your house and sand is even smaller less-important things like scrolling social media, watching TV and our material possessions. If you removed the pebbles and sand but had room for all the rocks, your life would be still be full, full of the important stuff.
Now for the lesson in all of this… if you start putting sand or pebbles in the jar first, you will not have room for all the rocks. In order to have the most full jar, you have to prioritize the big rocks first. Same for life, if you want to have time for it all, you need to prioritize the most important things first, or the lesser important things will take up so much time the big stuff just can’t fit.
So how can we apply this as moms? Sometimes we forget the little things are the big things. If you are constantly thinking you need to do more cleaning, more work, more errands, you aren’t going to have time for the little moments like playing a game with your kids. So take a second and think- what are the big rocks right now? What are the things I do not want to miss. And put those rocks in first. Actually schedule it if you need to. On this specific afternoon we are staying at home and playing games as a family, and say no if anything less-important comes up.
And this isn’t to say we can always only do the large rocks things. I’m sure all of us would love to just never work or do chores and just run on the beach with our kids every day. But of course we have to do some of the other things too. We can picture our time like that jar, we can learn to fit in the little things where they belong, falling into place around the big things. It kind of just brings me back to getting rid of the things that don’t matter. If things that don’t matter are taking up your time, can you find a way to be done with those things? If your physical house and chores are completely draining your time, can you declutter and pair down to a smaller, more manageable amount?
I think operating on auto-pilot and just not realizing what we are spending our time and energy on is what is dangerous. If we can just be mindful about what we are doing, find some sticking-points or time-draining points, we can do our best to streamline or solve that problem once and for all, or come up with a plan that we can be working toward to change circumstances or solve problems.
This also brings me to another analogy that I read which really changed how I think about things. And it’s another time-management advice that hopefully you can apply as you make decisions about your schedule and your life. I am 99% sure I learned this from a Rachel Hollis book but now I can’t find exactly where she said it. So if anyone knows let me know and I’ll come back and cite it correctly…
She said, think of your life as a big circle with a smaller circle inside that and an even smaller circle inside that. And each circle represents the people in your life. So inside the innermost part of that circle are the people most important to you- this will be differently interpreted for different people depending on what your life looks like but most likely the inner circle are people who live in your house like spouse and kids… then outside and surrounding that circle is a slightly larger circle which would be like your friends, closer family members, maybe your boss. and the outer part of that circle is for acquaintances, coworkers, people at your childrens’ school, something like that. Like I said this will be different for each person so think for a second what your circles would consist of.
But then the analogy said something like, in life when you’re faced with choices, especially choices that mean saying yes to one things means saying no to another thing. Her advice was disappoint the inner circle the least. To the best of your ability, let your outer circle down before you let down your inner circle and kids. So if you’re on the board for something that is important to you, but the meetings are every Monday night and you’re starting to feel like it’s more of a burden than something good you’re able to contribute too… and either you’re missing soccer practice every Monday for it, or Tuesday mornings are your husbands early mornings so it would be more helpful to be home Monday nights for him… so you’re having to either disappoint the director of the board meeting or you’re having to disappoint your kid or husband, choose to not disappoint your inner circle which is kids and husband. This process can kind of help you when you’re in a tough decision. And another thing we like to say on this podcast is to just realize everything is a season. So maybe you’re really loving that board membership and it’s something you have been super passionate about, maybe this just isn’t the season that you have time to give to it. And that doesn’t mean there wont be another season you’re able to give more than ever to it! It’s just not working for this season. Or maybe that really is part of your week that you look forward to and you love the fulfilment that it brings and yeah it makes the schedule really crazy but it’s something you really love and it fills you up- then do it and keep making it happen! You don’t have to pick your kids in every second of the week. I just like to remind you all that most things are your choice. So choose to do something or choose not to but don’t feel obligated or guilty when you do! Conversations like these help me keep priorities straight and help make the decision-making process easier so I hope all of this helps you too!
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I want to thank you guys for being here. And remember I’m a real person on the other side of this podcast so feel free to reach out to me if there are things you want me to talk about or things you’d like to hear more of! I think this community so far is really special!
Before we go, I’d like to say a prayer and blessing for you!
Thank you Lord for these listeners. Thank you for how much they love their families. Thank you that you equip, sustain, and guide us in the day to day when we listen for your voice and stay in your word. Help us to shine your light in our communities and especially to our families! In your son Jesus’ name, amen.
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