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Can you manage the rocks in your life?

Can you manage the rocks in your life?

By Kelly Barnard

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and you’re dreaming of the things you would like to accomplish. Law School, marathon running, sailing, get in shape. The list will vary depending on your goals, age, stage in life. Then somehow it’s 5 years later and you’re still in a job you hate or not making and progress in life. Why is this? Do you find yourself spending inordinate amounts of time occupied by the internet? The TV? Do you hear yourself saying, ‘I wish I had time to learn x.’ Do you complain that you never have time for your dreams?


Where does all this time go? It’s lost to the Time Thief. It’s happened to the best of us! It’s pretty much the same scenario. You sit down to computer to check your checking account balance or look for a recipe on Pinterest and you slip down the rabbit hole. Soon enough, you’ve watched an episode of Friends you’ve seen at least a dozen times or pinned things for projects you have no intention of starting or crafts you have no interest in making or played Candy Crush for the last hour.


SOAR Study Skills (Kruger, 2007) suggests dividing your life into three categories:

  1. The Rocks: These are the big things in life. Perhaps you want to finish your degree, or pursue marathon running or sailing or you want to learn to knit. Maybe you want to date.
  2. The Pebbles: These are the activities you must do. This category includes things, like eating, sleeping, working or going to school. These activities occur daily and are required tasks.
  3. The Water: These are the activities we get to do if we have spare time. They include playing video games, watching tv, etc. These are fun activities to do as time allows but are filler to the rest of our lives.


When you’re older and look back on your life, will you remember that you beat some video game? Will you even still have your Pinterest or Facebook?

Will you regret that you didn’t pursue a doctorate or take up a lifelong hobby? Maybe or maybe not. If you spend all your extra time pursuing the “water” in your life, you will never have room for the boulders. The idea is that you’ve lived your life to its fullest, taken advantage of all the things life has to offer and look back on your life with a smile. Just think how much extra time you would have if you put down the phone or the XBox controller! Try dividing your life into the three categories. Take the time to separate your life into the required and optional. Set goals for larger things you want for the Rock section. Make sure you’re making time for all the tasks in your life.