Put the big rocks in first

Put the big rocks in first

This life-changing principle was brought to my attention twice yesterday.  First, through a book that I am reading right now called “High Impact Church Boards“.  The chapter I was reading was called “Big rocks, pebbles and sand”.  The second way was through Michael Hyatt’s blog post “Put the big rocks in first.”

This principle states that we must do the most important things first or they will never get our attention.  This is how Michael Hyatt describes this principle:

The big idea is that you must schedule time for your most important priorities first. If you don’t, you will never get to them.

A corollary to this principle is this: what gets scheduled gets done. The opposite is also true: what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.

Put the big rocks in first

Here is a video by Stephen Covey that demonstrates how this principle is put into action:

Here are my four “big rocks”:

1.  My relationship with God.

This has to be my number one priority.  This is where my strength comes from.

2.  Self-care.

I must take care of myself before I can take care of anyone or anything else.  This includes my physical health, emotional health, spiritual health and mental health.

3.  My relationship with my wife.

After God, this is my most important relationship.  I must nurture this relationship.

4.  My relationship with my children.

My relationship with my children is extremely important to me.  I must prioritize spending time with them.

Everything else I do comes after these priorities.  If I don’t prioritize my life around these four “big rocks” something else will take their place and/or I may never get to them.

What are your big rocks?  How are you are prioritizing them in your life?

Categories: Personal growth


  • jasonS says:

    Great principle and illustration! Thank you Kevin.

  • Randy Willis says:

    Good reminder, Kevin. Funny, I “know” this principle, but my knowing it and living it don’t always match!

    I’d say my list of “big rocks” is pretty similar to, if not exactly like, yours.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Stasyszen, Kevin Martineau, Kevin Martineau, BethHewitt80, Kevin Martineau and others. Kevin Martineau said: Put the big rocks in first http://su.pr/2eD5cY #priorities #balance #selfcare #God #marriage #family […]

  • Kevin, I’d have to say my big rocks are the same as yours. 🙂

    I have just recently discovered something very important that belongs in the “sand” category. And that’s my self talk. I have so much negative chatter going on in my head that I need a positive, biblically based self talk that addresses the lies I tell myself all the time. But how to fit that positive self talk in there?? I need to say it as many as hundreds of times a day! Hence the “sand”… say it in all the odd little moments here and there in between activities or when I am doing things that don’t take a lot of concentration.

    Sorry if I got off topic, but your post triggered something there. 🙂

    Willena Flewelling

    • I have struggled with negative self-talk as well. My biggest solution has been to immerse myself in the truth so that I can recognize and confront the negative self-talk and lies that I have convinced myself are true.

      Thanks for sharing Willena!

  • Nathalie Villeneuve says:

    Great post Kevin, I loved seing this video from Stephen Covey…I knew of the story and I heard it many times but I never saw that video. It truly makes you realize that eventhough we might understand this principal, it’s hard sometimes to truly apply in our lives. Getting stuck in the thin of think things is so easy to fall back on.
    I was talking with a friend I met online yesterday and we discussed that; It’s only when we are truly aware of the negative self talk and the subcouscious messages we receive multiple times a minute that we can then start to change and start to controls our response to certain situations. The word “control” comes up for me a lot. I am still trying to discover if it has more of a positive or negative conotation for me…

    Thanks for sharing 😉

    ~ Nathalie

%d bloggers like this: