Task Prioritization – Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…
When things in your life seem almost
too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember
the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
A professor stood before his
philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly
picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill
it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of
pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if
the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of
sand and poured it into the
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full..
The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two Beers
from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar
effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed..
‘Now,’ said the professor as the
laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents
The golf balls are the important
things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and
your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they
remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that
matter like your job, your house and your car..
The sand is
everything else—the small stuff.
‘If you put the sand into the jar
first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy
on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are
important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are
critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18 holes of golf.
There will always be time to clean the
house, fix the disposal or deal with things from your job.
Take care of the golf balls
first—the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the Beer
The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m
glad you asked.’
The Beer just shows you that no matter
how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers
with a friend.
Prioritise all tasks in hand. Divide them into URGENT (those which need Immediate action) and NON-URGENT (those which can be postponed at a later date). Divide them also into IMPORTANT (which affect your life and welfare) and Less IMPORTANT (not so critical nevertheless to be done to make life easier and smoother). Draw a Matrix with 4 squares and place each task in one of these squares based on their urgency and importance.
Remember, the placement of these tasks in the squares is a function of time. Less important Jobs can become important and Non urgent tasks will if left unaccomplished will eventually reach the Urgent stage. Make sure that no important task reaches the Urgent stage. Because, in your anxiety and hurry to accomplish the task, you may make a mistake and may end up paying dearly. Accomplish all your important tasks well in time, so that you have time to work on them carefully without a mistake. The square D is Red Coloured and Critical and we must not allow any task to reach that square. Accomplish all tasks before they reach such a situation, especially those which are important and on whose outcome your welfare and life (and those of your loved ones) depend.