Recently, a good friend asked me how I managed to get so much done while traveling, facilitating, consulting, writing while also being able to enjoy time with my family. It all comes down to planning and getting the “big rocks” done. I plan my week first thing on Monday morning (or Sunday night if Monday is going to be busy). Each day, I identify three things I intend to accomplish that day. Stephen Covey calls them the “big rocks” and I try my best to knock them off the list first thing. And then all the other “stuff” falls into place.
Years ago, I created a team building activity that physically demonstrates the importance of prioritizing your “to do list”. You’ll need one tennis ball and the container, five golf balls and a Ziploc bag of black-eyed peas.
Here are the directions:
Ask if anyone likes to play tennis and gently throw the tennis ball to one team member.
Ask if anyone likes to play golf and carefully throw a golf ball to five different team members. (Note: If your aim is poor, simply hand the golf ball to five different team members!)
Ask if anyone likes black-eyed peas and ask the team member to hold the bag of peas.
Explain to the team members that the tennis ball is your “A” task – absolutely vital and must be done; the golf balls are your “B” tasks – important and should be done; and the peas are your “C” tasks – they could be done. We call these the fast and friendlies.
Now when we start (our day/to execute our plan), where do we start? We start with the fast and friendlies…. (Hold the tennis ball canister out to the team member with the peas and ask to pour some in the canister.) Then what do we do? (As the team says, A, B, or C, put the corresponding item in the canister. All the items will not fit in the canister).
But how should we start (our day/to execute our plan)? We start with the most important As (put the tennis ball in the canister), the Bs and then the Cs. And guess what? We can put all the items in the canister!
If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!