The following story is one that’s been circulating for awhile.
A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was full.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They laughed and agreed that it was indeed full this time.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.
Pay attention to the things in life that are critical to your happiness and well-being. Take time to get medical check-ups, play with your children, go for a run, write your nana a letter. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, or fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.
How to Be Have More Productive and Meaningful Mornings…
How we start our day tends to set the tone of the hours that follow. Regardless of your obligations and responsibilities, we can all make tweaks to our daily routine so that we can pull as much joy, meaning and passion from our day. I’ve compiled a list if tips that I’ve embraced over the years and have shared them below. Even if you take one that resonates with you and leave the rest, it’s a positive change.
1. Plan your day the night before
I would be lost without this and I’ve been doing it for years. Each evening, I would set out what I need to do the next day, so I set my priorities. You decide what your own priorities are but pay attention to what you’re planning- is it all pebbles and sand or are you prioritising the truly important things like your health, your rest, your relationships, your joy?
If you’re finding at the end of each day that things didn’t work out, or you didn’t get the time you wanted to work out, or have some time alone, or whatever it is that you wanted for yourself- that’s ok. The key is about awareness, understanding why and what’s happening and then what you can do about it or tweak moving forwards.
2. Be realistic about your time in the morning
So say you want to have some quiet time, have a shower, eat breakfast, do a yoga with Adrienne YouTube class, prepare a healthy lunch or put dinner in the slow cooker- how much time realistically will it take to do those things?
Most of us don’t set ourselves up for success in the morning, we’ve a vague idea of what we need to do but then if we oversleep by 10-15 or 30 minutes, that’s everything out the window and before our feet even touch the floor, we’re behind. We’re lacking, rushed, haven’t done enough, aren’t enough.
So be realistic each day- if it’s 12am, you’re still awake and you’re planning to be up at 6.30am – just check in with yourself and see if this is realistic. Don’t beat yourself up about it either, learn from it and what needs to change.
3. Prepare your food, your clothes and what you need the day before
This is a huge time saver in the morning. Choose what you’re going to wear and lay it out- everything from your bra to your socks to your mascara. If you have kids, do the same. Get everything ready the night before that they’ll need. If I do this in the evening, it takes 5 minutes. If I do it in the morning with sleepy brain fog, it takes about 3-4 times as long!
Same with food. Get your breakfast sorted, set the table, soak the oats, prepare a fruit salad. That way first thing in the morning you’re starting the day with clarity around what you’re wearing, what you’re eating and instead of rushing, there’s much more ease to the start of the day.
The same goes for lunch- prepare it in advance. If you’ve kids, do theirs as well and pop it in the fridge.
Whatever you need for the day, set it up the night before. Pack your gym bag, put your laptop in your bag, check your purse and keys are ready, schoolbags are packed, forms are signed. Imagine putting your hand to absolutely everything you need in the morning with ease..
Doing all this the night before will free you up in the morning.
4. Get to bed early enough to get the rest you need
How much sleep do you get? How much do you need? Or do you even know? This is where so many of us trip up. We go to bed far too late and are too tired in the morning. So, set a realistic bedtime for yourself and decide to stick with it at least x numbers of times per week (be realistic again). Even if you’re awake and you’re reading, that’s so much better for your wellbeing than watching Netflix.
5. Engage in something that lights you up
In the morning or even on your way to work, find something that lights you up and makes you feel alive! It could be your favourite coffee, it could be hopping off the bus one stop early and walking though the park, it could be a phone call that you make to a friend, a sister or a parent during your commute, it could be listening to a podcast or a ted talk that inspires you. For me, it’s music. Putting on my spotify playlist in the kitchen is an effortless way to increase my joy in the morning! Try something!
I hope you found this helpful! I’d love to hear your tips on what you do to have more productive and meaningful mornings or what you’re going to try from this list! Pop over to Instagram or facebook and let me know!