A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2″ in diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles of course rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed, and again he asked the students if the jar was full. They again agreed that yes, now it was full.
The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things; your family, your partner, your health, your children, anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would feel like you were utterly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff that we accumulate in our everyday lives.”
He continued on, “If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same applies to your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, the material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly important in life. Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children, take your partner out for those intimate times. Take time to get medical checkups. There will always be time to go to work, to clean the house, give a dinner party or fix the appliances.”
“Take care of the rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.”
This was from a popular email circulation