While there might be a few exceptions, I think most people will agree with the statement that “life is busy.” We’ve all had the experience where something we really “wanted” to do got pushed off because we were just too busy. I’m telling you now, you can find time to write.
For the most part, that busyness is imaginary, or falsely created. Now let me explain. I’ve met people who wake up, get ready, go to school or work, come home, eat dinner, then head out for a second job. These people are busy. They rarely have any time for personal enjoyment.
For the rest of us, we make ourselves busy with little things of an inconsequential nature, which takes away from the things that will make the most difference.
Here is an analogy for you to help you visualize.
The Jar of Life
There once was a philosophy professor who was giving a lecture. In front of him, he had a big glass jar, a pile of rocks, a bag of small pebbles, a tub of sand and a bottle of water.
He started off by filling up the jar with the big rocks and when they reached the rim of the jar he held it up to the students and asked them if the jar was full. They all agreed, there was no more room to put the rocks in, it was full.
“Is it full?” he asked.
He then picked up the bag of small pebbles and poured these in jar. He shook the jar so that the pebbles filled the space around the big rocks. “Is the jar full now?” he asked. The group of students all looked at each other and agreed that the jar was now completely full.
“Is it really full?” he asked.
The professor then picked up the tub of sand. He poured the sand in between the pebbles and the rocks and once again he held up the jar to his class and asked if it was full. Once again the students agreed that the jar was full.
“Are you sure it’s full?” he asked.
He finally picked up a bottle of water and tipped the water into the jar until it soaked into all the remaining space in the sand. The students laughed.
The professor went on to explain that the jar of rocks, pebbles, sand and water represents everything that is in one’s life.
The rocks represent the most important things that have real value – your health, your family, your relationships. Those things that if everything else (the pebbles and the sand) were lost and only they remained, your life would still have meaning.
The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, hobbies and friendships), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.
The sand (and water) represents everything else – the small stuff. Material possessions, chores and filler things such as watching television or browsing social media sites. These things don’t mean much to your life as a whole and are likely only done to get small tasks accomplished or even to fill time.
What Are Your Rocks?
This analogy can apply to all kinds of things in our life. You could apply it to your writing, what the most important things to focus on (plot, characters), the semi-important thing (world building, structure), and the less important things (word count, formatting).
Personally I don’t fully agree with the assessment that hobbies are pebbles. While yes, if you removed a person’s hobbies/passions from their life they might be able to continue existing, their life would lose a lot of meaning.
Either way, however you choose to categorize the elements of your life, make a concerted effort this week to give the right time, effort and energy, towards the most important things, then the important things, and after all of that, the little things that don’t really matter.
Just as the professor demonstrated, when our lives are filled after that manner, somehow there is room for everything, but when we give priority to the unimportant things, there won’t be room for what truly matters. If writing is one of those things, make it happen, you won’t regret it.
This week, make a plan and find time to write. It doesn’t have to be a long time, give it five minutes.
Invite someone, who might need a little nudge, to check out this blog and subscribe to my newsletter.
“I am not the biggest, I am not the fastest.. But I am consistent, persistent, and resilient, and I will never give up.”