Overwhelmed? – Are you trying to do too much…

If you are anything like me you have days where you control the day and then you find you have days where the day controls you.

Do you find you have days where you run around like crazy doing “stuff”. You are incredibly busy yet when you get in your car to go home you feel frustrated.

Although you have done many things on your to-do-list you have not done the right things! This is what leads to all the frustration and stress build up.

We have all been there.

Now to reveal the Secret:

You cannot control time but you can control the activities within that time. The million dollar question?

How do you do this?

There are many time management techniques. And after trying them all I find the best one is what I call…


Picture the following:

Take a large cookie jar into which you put 6 big rocks. You may think the cookie jar is full but it isn’t. You can still put some smaller rocks into the cookie jar followed by a sand mixture. And yet the cookie jar is still not full. Take a jug of water and gently pour water into the cookie jar. The cookie jar is now full.

At this stage you are most probably wondering what the hell has this all to do with being overwhelmed? Please hear me out.

Now consider the following.

Try to accomplish the above task in reverse order. First the water, followed by the sand mixture, the small rocks and finally the 6 big rocks.

This will end in a total mess! And sadly that’s how we run our lives sometimes. The only way you can fill the cookie jar is to start with the 6 big rocks.

Putting this analogy into a business context.

This is a very simple technique where you write down the 6 most important things you have to do each day. You then complete 3 to 4 things on your list 3 times each week. Why do I say 3 times a week?

Because on the other 2 days reality sets in in the form of unexpected “emergencies” and you won’t be able to do all the things on your list.

Accept this and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Some of my clients have come back to me and said, “Keith I like to write everything down on my to-do list so I don’t forget anything. And the list is more than 6 things. What do I do then?”

The answer is simple. Take a high lighter pen and highlight the six most important things on your list and then apply the cookie jar technique.

This bit of advice may seem trivial and simple. Yet if applied consistently will change your life!

Time is the great equaliser. No matter who you are or your position. We are all given 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. Some people use time effectively some don’t.

Time wasted can never be recaptured.

My suggestion.

Start each day with a plan. The last thing you need to do each day or the first thing the next day. Take 5 to 10 minutes to write down or high light the 6 most important things you have to do. Make sure on 3 days a week you complete 3-4 things on your list.

Do this and I guarantee you will be successful in whatever you are doing.

This will reduce your overwhelm and enable you to focus on the important issues.

Remember, the best ideas are the most simple ideas.

To your success: Live – Laugh – Love

PS – A few years ago I made a short video of the Cookie Jar of Life. You can watch this video by clicking on the link below:


Cookie Jar of Life

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