Last night, a group of adventurous Trail Blazers met at Gilsland Farms – Maine Audubon to walk and talk about Managing Time – Naturally. Once everyone arrived, I gathered the group of five around the hood of my Subaru and told a story about a professor who taught his class about time management using a parable. He took a bucket, filled it with rocks, and asked the class if the bucket was full. The class said “sure, you can’t fit another rock in there.” Then the professor proceeded to dump in gravel to fill to the top of the bucket, and asked again “is the bucket full?” The students caught on to what the professor was doing and said “Probably not…” Then the professor dumped in sand, shook the bucket, packing down the sand as he dumped it in. “How about now?” the professor asked. The class all agreed unanimously that the bucket was full. The professor shook his head, took out a bucket of water and poured it through the sand, gravel and rocks.
“What is the moral of this exercise?” – he asked the students. One student raised his hand and said “it goes to show, if you try hard enough, you can always cram more in….”
“Yes,” the professor responded “However, if I didn’t put the big rocks in first, they would never fit.”
The big rocks represent the most important priorities in our lives, and often times, we forget to schedule them into our days first. After telling the story, I gave the Trail Blazers a pile of rocks and sharpie markers with the instruction to write down their most valued priorities on the rocks – they had two minutes – GO.
Once they had a pile of rocks, I gave them a small canvas bag, and instructed them to put all their rocks in it – all but ONE. They could choose ONE rock to carry with them on the hike. Then we set off to hike the beautiful woods and meadows of Gilsland Farms.
Our first stop was a bird watching hut near the edge of the ocean. I instructed the group to gather in. I asked each participant about their rock, and why they chose to carry that one. One participant shared she carried with her “exercise” because it was a high priority in her life. One participant said she chose her rock because she felt it was the most neglected one. I handed each participant a note card, and asked them to write down a positive “I AM” statement about their rock – for example “I am a great exerciser, full of energy, vitality, health and strength.”
Once each had an “I AM statement” for their rock, I asked them to write down why that statement was true. The answers each one came up with were powerful – “It is true because I feel amazing when I exercise, I feel strong, and powerful.”
Who wouldn’t want to feel like that every day??
As we hiked through the meadows filled with swallows and larks, and the participants chatted as they walked about their priorities, I had a “pinch me” moment – I’m living my dream of bringing people together in a deep and meaningful way to be inspired by nature and each other – creating a powerful synergy they can use when ever they need to draw strength. Wowza!
Next stop, we met near the edge of the ocean, looking over the back of Casco Bay and the Falmouth corridor. The sun was starting to sink down, causing the sky to turn pink and purple, and I introduced the group to the next activity. “You now have your biggest priorities – in your hands. You now have powerful I am statements written – those are your convictions. You also now know the reason you have those convictions. Now you need to keep those in front of you every day and create action steps that support your convictions – that will become your new to-do list.” As a killdeer broke out in her keee-deeeee deeee song, I encouraged the group to carve time into their schedules each day (I prefer mornings) to look at their rocks, review their I AM statements (their convictions) then plan their day. After some discussion, we moved on…hiking past some gorgeous blue spruce, up the meadow hills, to a beautiful garden.
Amongst the alums, sunflowers, and raspberries we talked about the last component of Natural Time Management – How am I going to get it done?
I asked the group – how are you going to stay on track – how are you going to make sure you continue to walk the talk, stick to your convictions, stay with your intentions and live in integrity -without getting buried by sand?
These were the solutions brainstormed by the group:
Keep a journal
Tell other people about your goals and intentions
Partner up with an “accountability buddy”
Write out your goals and intentions
Find a mentor
Hire a coach
We finished the day by admiring the gardens and metal statue artwork on display. As the sunset on the day, I felt trully blessed that I was able to walk the talk in my life, and live in integrity, with convictions. Blaze those trails well Trail Blazers!
Missed this meetup? Join us for the next one -August 12th!
Until then – Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
The Natural Leadership and Business Guide
I really enjoyed reading this post. What a lovely and rewarding journey you all had. The story of the professor and his students is a great one and I especially love how you incorporated it in your lesson. The venue you chose looks stunning and I could almost ‘feel’ everything you described :o) Thank you for sharing this. Leanne Opthoog
Thank you Leanne! It was an amazing experience – and yes, the venue is beautiful. Hope you get out and enjoy what mother nature has to offer you today!
I had a strong reaction to this blog post, Priscilla. I am delighted to have found you through Rachel Haponenko and Blogger Chicks. Looking forward to more…Chris Miles
Thanks Chris – glad you enjoyed! Welcome to the trail!
Josh & Monica Henderson
Great reminder on putting the biggest rock first! Often I get caught up in all of the “little rocks” in my day and leave zero time for the big ones! I also love the adventure you had with these guys! Truly inspirational! Thank you for sharing!!
You have a great website and business, Priscilla. The walk was great…on the trail to Happiness. Thanks!
Thanks Kathleen – it’s great having you come along! See you on the trail!