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What's filling your jar?

What is filling your jar? Rocks, pebbles, and sand?

I am so excited that you're here. Welcome to May. This month we are going to talk all about "Bringing Back the Fun." However, before we can do that, we need to talk about what's filling your jar. May you're wondering what in the world I am talking about when I ask what is filling your jar.

There's this story and I don't know if it really happened or not... There's this professor who had a jar, some rocks, pebbles and sand. He filled the jar with rocks and asked his students if the jar was full.  The students said, "Yes, the jar is full." Then, the professor took the pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He asked, "Is the jar full? And they said, "Oh yes. Now the jar is full." The professor then took sand and put sand in, shook the jar, filling the jar with sand and then said, "Now the jar is full." However, if you reverse that by putting the sand in first and then try to put the rocks, the rocks wouldn't fit.

What rocks, pebbles, and sand are filling your jar?

In this analogy the rocks are the important things in your life. These are the top areas of your life, spirituality, family, your mission, health, or anything else that is important to you.

The pebbles are your hobbies and all those things that you do to make yourself happy and surround yourself with joy.

And then the sand is all the other stuff that fills up your lives. Things like Netflix, social media, and email.

Distinguish what are rocks, pebbles, and sand in your life

Many times we have a really hard time distinguishing between rocks, pebbles and sand. And ultimately what happens is we fill our lives with sand. There is then no room for the rocks. Or a lot of times is you have some of the rocks, but a lot of sand and there's no pebbles.  And I really believe that the pebbles are the things that make life fun.

Maybe you feel like you don't have time for hobbies. Or things that aren't traditionally hobbies have become hobbies for you, such as binge-watching Netflix.

Many times you have things backwards. You don't have time to take care of your health, but you have time to watch 50 episodes on Netflix.

Are you happy with what's filling your jar?

Here's ultimately the thing, if you are happy in your life with what's filling your jar, then go at it. Have a blast. But I know from talking to a lot of you that you are not happy with what is filling your jar. And so here's what I want you to start to think about this summer.

As we're going into the summer and things are starting to open up again, I really want you to think about what you want to fill your jar. Because right now you may not feel this way, but right now your jar is empty.  And you have the ability to determine what to put in that jar.

Determine what you will be filling your jar with

You get to determine what will be your rocks, pebbles and sand.  When I look at sand, I think of it as the stuff that gunks up your shoes.  And all those things that you unconsciously spend your time on that you really wish you didn't. Such as playing those games on your phone, Facebook and Netflix.

What do you want in your life?

And so as we go into this summer and things start to reopen, I want you to think about what you want in your life. What do you want in jar? Because right now you have to decide if you want your life to back to the way it was pre-COVID, or do you want it to look more like it did during? Or maybe you want something completely different?

For Jeff and I, we decided that we're going to move to Florida. We made the decision that we didn't want to go back to pre-COVID. But we wanted to craft a different life. And so we decided that we're going to literally dump out the jar. We are going to very methodically figure out what's going to go back in. And so for me, the things that I wanted in the jar is a healthier lifestyle, more time with Erik and Jeff, to not be stuck inside in the winter, and just enjoy life.

So I gave my notice at the university back in September, and I really dove in to Bookkeeper Training School. I simplified my firm, and hired someone to help me with tax season this year.

Last week we closed on a house in Florida. We're down here. We sold our house in Connecticut. And my job looks a lot different as I have not watched TV in a couple of weeks, I'm swimming at night, and I'm walking first thing in the morning. I'm listening to audio books and I'm working on Bookkeeper Training School.

What do you want to be filling your jar with?

I would encourage you right now to start asking yourself what you want in your jar. And I know a lot of you would say, that you can't change much because your kids do this or that.  Or you've got this or that activity.  The problem is that I think you sometime believe that you have very little control over your life.

You have turned over control of your life to the schedule, and the clock, and the activities.  So if you're in the cycle that you feel that things are the way they are, they don't have to be. You have choice. Ultimately you're the parent, and you can determine how many and which activities your kids will do. Or maybe they don't do any activities this season.  Maybe this season you're going to stay home, or travel, or do whatever. I just want you to realize that there is more freedom in your schedule, and in your jar than you are giving credit for.

You have a choice to change the way things are.

When filling your jar, you need to track what you do

And if you don't think so, what I'd like you to do for the next week is to actually track what you do. Use a calendar, a timer on your phone, reflect on things multiple times a day. But think about how much time you've been on Facebook. How many episodes did you watch on Netflix?  Determine how much time is spend on your zone out activity.

How many hours did you spend driving your kids to activities? When's the last time you asked your kids if they really want to do those activities? The answer might surprise you.

Greg McKeown was telling a story. Greg McKeown is the author of Essentalism.  He also just came out with a book called Effortless.  It's based off of the premise of how to make life easier. As he tells the story of the jar in the book, I knew that I needed to talk about it.

What are you spending your time on?

Because ultimately what I'd like you to do is think about what you are spending your time on. Think if these things are rock, pebbles or sand in your life.  What are the really important things, and what are the joyful filler things. Or what is that sand that is gunking up your life?

Spend a week seeing where you are spending your time. And then, if those things aren't your rocks, figure out if you can eliminate them. What can you trade off? Figure out how you can increase the margin for the rocks in your life.

A lot of times we always seek out the hardest solution to everything or our brain naturally thinks of the hardest solution to everything. And so you don't move forward with easy things like setting up a trade, like finding a housekeeper that might want a bookkeeper. Think about it. You can just call a whole bunch of housekeepers, say that you'd love to find a  housekeeper who would like to trade cleaning for bookkeeping.

Have you given over control of your life to your schedule?

When filling your jar, you need to find solutions

You might hate doing that stuff, but don't just rule it out because you think it can't be done.  Pretty much anything is possible. If you're just willing to sit and find a solution.

It's funny, a friend of mine reached out to me a couple of days ago and told me about a post that popped up in her Time Hop.  And last year on this day, or maybe it was a couple of days ago, she had asked: "Now that COVID is here, what in your life is going to change going forward? What do you want to do to make things different?

And I posted, I want to move to Florida and have a pool so I can be outside year round. And actually two days prior to it being a year later, we closed on our house down here. But it's all about saying these are the things that are important to me. That this is where I want to ground my life. And so I am going to make room for those rocks and I'm going to make sure that they make it into the jar.

I'd love to know what's in your jar. What's in your ideal jar? You can either comment on this post, or come join the conversation in the Small Biz Mama Community on Facebook.


Almost anything is possible if you're willing to sit and find a solution

​Disclosure: We professionally create this podcast that receives compensation from companies that we talk about. So you must assume that any link you click is an affiliate link. Kristin and Ingram Digital Media only have affiliate relationships with companies that we believe in wholeheartedly. We are independently owned, and all of our opinions are​ our own.


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