What does lifting rocks have to do with productivity?


Hi, It’s Conor Grace here again. Today I’m going to share my story, and how I sharpened the focus in my life.

This led to doubling my productivity, increasing my levels of positivity and enabling me to have peace of mind.

Ground Hog Day

Not so long ago I found myself weighed down with the pressure of life. With new opportunities arising and previously closed doors now opening, things were really starting to happen.

While I was excited and knew great things were on the way, one emotion overshadowed my days.
Have you ever found yourself in the same position?
You know, a mountain of work to be done, along with the responsibilities of life on top of all that. Thinking “HOW am I supposed to get on top of all this?
This was a common thought in my day. Which ultimately lead to stress, bad quality of work, procrastination and guilt. Which would then feed into the stress and so forth.

It was a vicious cycle.

I felt like a broken record. I knew what I was doing wasn’t working, yet I was stuck in repeat.
One day I had enough. Feeling some of the new-found opportunities slipping through my fingers, I came to the conclusion:
“I HAVE to fix this, before it’s too late
After searching through YouTube, watching video after video. I came across a video by the world-renowned Stephen Covey, author of “The seven habits of highly effective people

I was excited!

Thinking “This guy is THE expert when it comes to productivity!” But I was also confused, he was talking about rocks…

What does moving rocks have to do with productivity?

Stephen was conducting a seminar on productivity, he started the demonstration by placing two empty cylindrical shaped containers on a table beside a pile of rocks and a pile of pebbles.
Jane was the volunteer, she stood there scratching her head as Stephen poured all the pebbles into one of the containers. He then asked her to try to fit all the “Big Rocks” in on top of the “Small Rocks” without encroaching past the top of the container.
The containers represented Jane’s life and the empty space within it was her time.
The small rocks represented all the things of lesser importance in Jane's life.
Each big rock had a specific colour and represented a major area of her life. Health, Relationships, Passions, Spiritual development, Work Responsibilities, Education, New opportunities and Personal time. As Jane struggled to fit the fourth of the big rocks in, she realized something.

This is impossible.

While confused and disappointed with her results, Stephen suggested something. “You know you can start over, beginning with a whole new paradigm… How about starting with what is most important. Then filling the rest with the less important aspects of your life?”

At that moment, Jane and I both had a lightbulb moment. “Starting with what is most important. Then filling the rest with the less important aspects”
Starting over, with some thought and persistence, Jane managed to fit
every big rock in the container! Picking up the other container full of pebbles, Jane began to pour them in on top of the big rocks.
Guess what happened?
Yep, almost every pebble managed to fit in by filling in the empty voids. The containers were identical, but the way they were being filled was far different.

I knew it was time for me to move some rocks in my life…

Back to the drawing board

First, I looked at the different areas of my life Health, Career, Education, Passions, Relationships, Spiritual Development and Service.
Prescribing to the 80 – 20 rule, I asked myself “What is the
one thing I can do in each of these areas, to get the most out of my time investment?”
The answers were my “
Big Rocks
Knowing that if I lift these rocks every day, it will create steady progress in every area of my life.

Finally, I knew exactly what I must do.
These were my goals and I structured my days around them, integrating these activities into my life so it just became a habit of getting it done!
Now that I have simple actionable steps in place, I find myself getting my work done easily and in much less time than before. The best part,
I enjoy the process.
No more stress.
The funny thing is, even though I am getting twice the amount of quality work done. I still have time for other less important things like more time socializing or other interests.
By focusing on our main goals, we ensure they get done. Everything else that matters will naturally fall into place and whatever doesn’t, chances are you don’t care too much about it anyway.


We all only have twenty-four hours each day, every moment is precious and should be used positively build one key area of our lives.

One rock at a time

If we don’t, other “filler” activities will take their place. While tempting at the time, these will only lead to more overwhelm as the workload continues to build.

With the New Year just beginning, you will hear many resolutions and guides to “making this the best year yet” while these are well meaning, most will not see February…

Please don’t start any crazy regimes or set unrealistic goals for yourself, they will only lead to overwhelm and failure.
But instead, I ask you one thing:
What are your Big Rocks?
Whatever they are, focus on them. They are most important.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned something through my story and I invite you to make a change in your life.

Until next time, keep lifting those rocks my friends.

Conor Grace

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