You've heard the metaphor/story of the big rocks, pebbles and sand, right? Here's a quick recap. If you put the sand in first, you won't have space for the pebbles and the rocks. But if you put in the big rocks first, then the pebbles, and then the sand - what a miracle! You have space for all of it.
The metaphor is that the big rocks are the important things in your life, the pebbles are the slightly-less important ones, while the sand is the fluff in our lives.
As a kid, when I came across this story, my mind was blown. Here is prioritisation and time management put across so well. Even a non-planner like me could understand and execute.
Now, when I look at this story, I realise how wonderfully flawed it is. With the experience of running a company for 10+ years and being much older, I'd like to poke a couple of holes.
The metaphor definitely has its heart in the right place. It teaches you that you need to prioritise.
But its fundamental flaw is in fooling you that you can fit everything in. And in telling you that you should aim for that.
You cannot. You should not.
Fuck this hustle culture. Fuck this I'll sleep when I am dead.
I definitely do not have a grasp on my life so perfectly, or with my priorities, or with my stress levels and everything all of us battle with. But after years of trying various techniques and hacks and all that, I have learned to listen to my gut. I might not know the right answer. But staying away from the wrong one seems like a good place to find it.
The challenge is not to fit in the pieces of your life so that you find the exact arrangement where they all fit in precisely.
The challenge is to figure out which big rocks you want, and which big rocks you opt out from.
If there's no slack, if there's no space, if there's no emptiness between things - you won't allow for any growth or blossoming. You won't have any space to breathe.
Saying no to things you dislike is easy. Saying no to things you like - now, that's what you got to do. Which big rocks (and pebbles) do you keep aside?