Sunday, 19 February 2012

Big rocks or hammer?

Today Dan introduced me to the concept of Covey's "big rocks" approach to organisation. To fill your time, or your jar, if you don't start with the big rocks and instead fill it with the pebbles and sand, the big rocks just won't fit in. More on this from the great zenhabits blog here

I get this as a goal-oriented approach. In fact, I like to think I do this already, blocking out periods of time when I want to tackle projects.

However the thing that struck me was where is the hammer in this approach? You need the hammer to chip up those big rocks into manageable chunks, allowing you to fit more in the jar.

I once had a language teacher at school who took exactly this approach, and was in fact one of the first people to get me interested in linguistics as a subject. To tackle a translation, you don't look at the whole sentence. You break it down into tiny portions, based on the syntax of the words and phrases in front of you. As she put it, you don't tackle the Marsbar: you break it into mini Marsbar portions.

In terms of the rocks analysis, I wonder what acts as the hammer? For me it comes in not just assigning time to a big project, but identifying the project scope and tackling a manageable hit of it in one session. Definitely requires planning, but as an introvert that is the best approach that enables me to still see the big picture but to approach it in an achievable way.