One simple change you can make today to relieve stress

Do you find yourself overwhelmed with everything you need to do in a day, month or year? Maybe you’re looking to find ways to use your time more effectively. The good news is there are simple changes you can implement, which will help you to priorities your responsibilities, and today we’re going to talk about one simple but effective strategy you could apply today.

There was this wonderful video doing the rounds a couple of years ago. It shows a teacher demonstrating how to prioritise tasks and make the most of time. In the video the teacher sorts rocks, stones, pebbles and sand into a glass jar that can only fit in one specific order. The point is that if time is limited to only 24 hours per day, there really can only be one way to make your priorities and responsibilities fit. And here’s the point:

Take the most important, heaviest or most difficult responsibility or task, and do it first, before anything else.

Yeah, I know you don’t want to, but we need to find ways to fit everything together in ways that are actually going to help us. Consider the rocks demonstration. 

  • The sand represents all the incidentals. Texts, social media, netflix and the like. This stuff is insignificant but gets absolutely everywhere, and before you know it, you’ve lost hours of your day. 
  • The pebbles can represent smaller tasks that niggle and distract but don’t mean anything in the larger scheme of things. 
  • Then there are the stones: These are important responsibilities that should be close to you. Your bank account, food shopping, maintenance, emails, work tasks that other people tell you are essential to complete.
  • Finally, we have the rocks: Your foundations, the things you absolutely cannot ignore. Paying the bills, holding down a job, your faith, your core relationships. Ignore these are your peril!

Interestingly enough, the demonstration in the video is taken from a book I recommend you find and read. It’s called 7 Habits of highly effective people. There are various versions, 7 Habits of highly effective parents, students, teachers etc, but they’re all written by the same group.

In the meantime, let me encourage you that if you’re stuck, feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do first to sort out the mess, the right thing to do is face the big rock. Unfortunately, if you fill your time with sand, you may not have the capacity to cope when it comes to the giant rock, and that’s not what you need. 

Why not choose one thing today which is causing you stress. Just one. Face it, win, and as my coach says, then you can sit back and “luxuriate in your own magnificence.”

If you’re enjoying this series, do consider buying my book ‘Stuck in the Mud: Stories of hope for when you’re stuck.’ It’s available from all Christian bookshops, Amazon, Waterstones and bookshop.org.

Have a fantastic day!

Oh… and here’s a version of that same video that I made with my kids 🙂

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