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Big Rocks, Little Rocks, Sand, and Water

We learn about order of operations in elementary mathematics. The idea that a process must follow a pre-scripted series of steps to insure the correct answer is found.

Order of operations does not apply to just math equations. In fact, it applies to everything from financial decisions, HTML code, product launches, publishing a blog post, and prioritizing your company’s resources.

Consider you have a large jar. Around it, you have a collection of large and small rocks, a pail of water, and a bucket of sand.

If you pour the sand in first, you can be assured the rest of the material will not fit in the jar. Same with placing the small rocks in first.

Instead, you must start by placing the large rocks in the jar, then the smaller rocks; followed next by the sand and water. Shaking the jar helps.

In this order, each layer is allowed to fill the small gaps left by the larger materials.

If we place priority on the lower tasks in our lives – the sand and small rocks – we never allow space for the big rocks.

What are your big rocks?

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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