Learn From T. Harv Eker's Tough Love Millionaire Mentoring Q&A
Experience T. Harv Eker’s unique style of hard-hitting coaching answers to readers’ questions.

Q&A: Use The 'Big Rocks Method’ To Worry Less About Time

If you’ve been drowning in time constraints and struggling with lack of focus, you’ll love today’s Q&A where Harv explains how the ‘Big Rocks Method’ can help you, and he makes it abundantly clear that you have two choices when it comes to overwhelm… Adapt or Die!

Come get some!

Question from Reader:

“I feel like I’m constantly spinning plates.

I manage to get things done, but often the non-urgent, more strategic stuff gets pushed back and back and back.

I oversee many different projects at work, and I work really long hours, so it’s often difficult to focus on one thing at a time.

What can I do to ensure I get everything done on a day to day level, but spend a good amount of time on the strategic things without having to work every single hour of the day?”

Harv’s Answer:

Well, that’s a great question because so many of us are busy busy busy all the time... 

With so many distractions such as emails and social media and the balance of our lives and the rest of our lives going on and business and money and relationships…

There’s a lot of plates spinning!!

That’s why you’re spinning plates!

So the answer is…

Either you put down some of these plates, or you get better at spinning them!


What else can there be?

Either get rid of a few plates or get better at spinning plates!

So let’s talk about the first one…

Simplify your life.

Don’t take on so much.

A lot of people have a lot of things they’ve taken on that they didn’t have to take on…

I was talking to an acquaintance of mine who’s actually in this business and he was complaining to me about just how busy he is these days.

I asked him…“Why? What happened?”

And he’s like… “OH, I just got way busier… I started writing this book and I’ve taken on Consulting for two other companies that I got a contract for…

Plus I have a condo in Florida and I’m now a member of the Condo Association because I didn’t like the way things were running…

And I didn’t know it would take two hours out of every week and even now still, people are asking me stuff…”

So I go.. “Well, why’d you take on the extra Consulting?”

“I took it on because they came to me.”

“But you’re doing okay financially, so you didn’t really need it…”

“Well, no I didn’t need it, but I thought I’d just help out…”

“And why did you take on the Condo Association thing?”

“Because I didn’t like how things were running…”

“So what would happen if you drop the Condo thing?”

“I guess we’ll go back to the way it was, who knows…”

“And what would happen if you didn’t take on that Coaching thing?”

“I suppose I could just say no…”

Yeah that’s right! You could just SAY NO and NOT take on these things!”

“Yeah, but I won’t make as much money…”

“Okay, fine… So quit b!tching!

Don’t complain!

If you want to do it, do it out of CHOICE and be happy about it!

Or shut the F up and stop complaining and don’t do it!”

He says… “Okay.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“You know what, I’ve been really sick about this… It’s really stressing me out.

I’m going to call up that company and tell them that I can’t do it anymore.

And I’m going to call the Condo Association and tell them I’m not doing that anymore.”

So he mentioned a couple of things that he won’t do anymore…

He was assistant coach of one of his kids’ soccer teams and he said…

“I started off as an assistant coach and now everyone waits for me before they start anything.

Sometimes the real coach doesn’t even show up because he’s busy and I have to take over.

I’m going to call them up and let them know I'm not doing that anymore.

I’ll show up when I show up, just to help out if I’m there, but I’ll be just another parent.”

He then he had a revelation… “You know, just saying these things… my life is becoming easier just decommitting from stuff…”

I’d like you to realize right now that one of the most important things you can do for yourself is not just to commit to certain things.

But to decommit from certain things.

Put down some of those plates!

A lot of these things are ‘obligations’… 

Things that have to be done.

But guess what…

You don’t have to do them!

“Yeah, but if I don’t then…”

That’s your story... that’s your Mindfrick

That's just in your head!

Probably, the world will survive.

My guess is that we’re not going to have a meteor hit the planet just because you stopped doing something…

People will survive.

This is all ego and people put so much importance on themselves.

God forbid somebody got sick, hospitalized or broke a leg and they couldn’t do it.

Okay, guess what… 

They can’t do it!

“Sorry, I can’t do it… I’m in the hospital, bleeding all over the place…”

People don’t expect you to do it.

“We’ll get somebody else, or we won’t do it at all…”

The world’s not going to cave in without you, trust me. 


So number one… 

Can you decommit?

We’re all really busy.

And if you find that you don’t have time for the really important and strategic things that will make your life easier or amp up your business…

Decommit from one thing today.

It could be checking Facebook or personal emails every day, or participating in things that are not a good use of your time.

It could be an association that does not fulfill you or a secondary situation that’s not making you rich.

This is huge!

Just do it.

Decommit from something and realize the world won’t end.

Let go of some of those plates.

Number two… 

Learn how to spin plates better!

The best way I know to spin all the plates is with the ‘Big Rocks Strategy’.

It’s something I’ve been teaching forever, but I didn’t make it up.

I learned about this strategy, a long time ago, from a book titled “First Things First” by Stephen R. Covey, and he didn’t make it up.

I don’t remember the guy who made it up and in fact, I’m not even sure if the person I would give kudos to made it up!

I don’t know who made it up but I didn’t make it up okay, and I’ve been using it…

And I’ve been teaching it with reference to the people who made it up.

So in Covey’s book, there’s this story about a teacher who did this, and I don’t know if he made it up…

But let’s assume he did make it up, because I use the ‘Big Rocks Strategy’ because it works, and here’s how…

You list all the really important things you must do in your life, all the ‘plates’.

It could be anything from working out, to being a great husband, to spending individual time with the kids, to business stuff…

And with particular relevance to today’s question where time is required for strategic planning instead of fighting fires…

You’ll separate your business stuff into ‘strategic on the business’ and ‘just in the business’ items.

Here’s what you do…

Get a monthly calendar and list only the most important items, the ‘non-negotiables’, and schedule them on a particular day with a time in your month.

Let’s look at some examples…

Schedule your ‘workouts’ for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7 a.m.

Plan your ‘family activity’ time for Tuesdays from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. as group time with the kids.

Allocate an hour per kid so you can pay individual attention because you wish to be a ‘great parent’, for Saturdays from 10 a.m.

Of course you can do more than what you’ve planned, but don’t schedule in more.

These scheduled ‘non-negotiables’ are the absolute commitments that you’re definitely going to do, period!

‘Being a good partner time’ is vital for a healthy relationship, so schedule Thursday nights from 7:30 p.m. as date night.

Can you ever change any of these?

Yeah, sure you can, but you have to agree with it and plan ahead and mark it on your calendar!

It may not be perfect, and it may not be the only amount of time you spend on that item but it’s definitely in there and it’s better than nothing, right?

So it’s committed to.

And when it comes to business, you can make all the rest of the time for business.

For example, most days business demands your focus from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and when you walk in, there’s all kinds of craziness going on already…

And since you don’t have any time to work strategically, you can take one time a week, preferably before the craziness hits the fan and replace one of your workout routines.

You can say…

“Every Wednesday, instead of my workout, I’m going to Starbucks for two hours…

I’ll get a coffee and I don’t want anybody to see me…

And I’m going to work with my notebook on the business strategically…

Just thinking time.”

I have a friend named Keith Cunningham, he’s a great great guy and a great great teacher.

He teaches business and Keith tells a story about when he was trying to get financing from a guy named Michael Melikian, and this is a great story…

Michael Melikian was one of the richest men who ever lived, and he was involved in leveraged buyouts and ‘junk stuff’.

And people didn’t know if it was ethical or not, although it was ethical.

But he was seen as just this huge buyout guy financing average deals of around $500 million every couple of days… 

It was just craziness!

So Michael was in the meeting with Keith and several other people, where Keith was supposed to speak for an hour.

He started pitching his situation and literally 5 minutes in, Michael Melikian who was there with his staff and sergeants and what not, had heard what Keith was saying and went…

“Do you mind? I’m going to be leaving here. 

Someone will get back to you next Tuesday morning, at 7 a.m.”

So naturally Keith is interested in knowing why on THAT DAY and why at THAT TIME...

What’s going to happen?

So he asks…“Mr. Melikian, I hope you don’t mind my asking but I’m curious… Why Tuesday at 7 a.m.?”

“Oh, because my next reflection time is on Tuesday morning between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., and you’re going to be slotted into one of those reflection times during the time I do my thinking on these types of deals.”

And Keith just went…

“BOOOM! OMG, this is one of the richest and most successful people in the world and he schedules his thinking time?!

He’s going to generate certain thoughts about certain situations and it’s not like business time… he calls it THINKING TIME… reflection time!”

Hence… strategic time!

By the way, after my morning meditation and yoga, I usually take 10 to 15 minutes to journal on what’s going on for me in my life.

That scheduled journaling, I’m telling you has saved my life.

It allows me to put on paper what’s in my heart and if you’d like to know why I prefer writing by hand on paper…

And why we do all of our live teaching on flip charts instead of going digital, here’s the reason I learned many many moons ago…

Digital writing is read with the head.

Handwriting is read with the heart.

Because your HEART is the seat of true intelligence, that’s why it's better to journal from the heart and not the head…

Your head just interprets what your heart is telling you.

But the intuition, the gut, the connection to true wisdom and the universe, that all comes from the place of your heart.

And then it gets directed to your head for… “What the hell do I do with this now?” okay…

So use handwriting in a journal and just write what’s going on for you.

If you have to make some decisions then write down what’s happening and why.

And here’s a little tip for you…

When I have a big decision to make, after I’ve journaled about it, I start a letter to myself, and it goes…

“Dear Harv.

This is a message from your higher self…”

And I don’t think, I just write…

And I’m in SHOCK at how brilliant my higher self is… 

The One that’s connected to the Universe, the One that’s connected to True Cosmic Wisdom that’s been there forever, and forever will be.

That One is unbelievably brilliant.

Now unfortunately I don’t get to meet up with that One all as much as I’d like to but YOU have the same One!

And Ours are connected too!

It's All One Knowledge, One Universe, One Intelligence.

Remember, we are droplets of the Universe and we’re droplets of the Ocean of the Universe…

So you can tap into that abundance!

You start from that spot…

“Dear [Your Name], This is a message from YOUR Higher Self…” and then you don’t think, you just start writing, whatever comes into your head, just start writing.

It’s going to come from your heart into your head and into your hands and you won’t believe the stuff that comes out!

As soon as you start editing it, you’re screwed.

As soon as you start going… “Yeah, but I’m not sure I can get that done on time and blah blah blah…” now you’ve gone back into your head and the moment is over.


No problem…

It’s not the end of the world because you’ll still get some juice out of it.


I’m highly recommending, I’m not telling you what to do, but I’m recommending that everybody use the ‘Big Rocks Method’.

I’m highly recommending that you take time for ‘Strategic Thinking’.

I’m highly recommending that you journal literally every day and if not every day, then write down in your Big Rocks Calendar when you’re going to do your journaling.

If it’s just once a week, take 30 minutes or an hour on Sunday morning just to journal.

I don’t know when will suit you, pick a day.

Do it whenever it works for you!

But I’ll tell you what…

You can change your life by setting up your life so that the ‘Big Rocks’, the things that are a priority in your life, are in the calendar FIRST.

And then everything else can go around it.

Make sure that your strategic thinking time is one of the Big Rocks.

Next Steps

If you would like to discover the same tactics millionaires use to overcome challenges, how to create a work-life balance, and start making some changes in your life right now, then check out Harv's complimentary web class “Zero to Multimillionaire” by clicking here.

And if a free web class doesn't excite you, but you desire to start and finish everything you do strong...

And you know you'd enjoy winning in negotiations and marketing strategies...

And you wish to experience success in setting up your business for wealth...

And you'd like to learn how to use the Big Rocks Method and Block Out Time effectively so you never have to worry about running out of time again while you get rich AND take care of what's truly important to you...

Then you'll be doing yourself a favor by getting access to Harv's "Million Dollar Business Secrets" right now.


Frequently Asked Questions About Big Rocks

Has your Mind ever wondered…

What are examples of Big Rocks in business?

If you’d like to experience success in your business, some great Big Rocks to prioritize include (in no specific order) Culture and People, Strategic Relationships, Financial Performance, Risk and Compliance and of course, Strategic Thinking Time.

Your Big Rocks generally align with your personal values as well as your company values.

What is the lesson of the Big Rocks?

The Big Rocks represent your top priorities.

The things that are truly important in your life and require committed time because they are absolutely ‘non-negotiable’ items.

These Big Rocks are often health and self-care, building and maintaining great relationships and strategizing, planning or completing goals you’re working toward.

Pebbles represent other important matters such as school and work.

The sand in this analogy represents all the smaller stuff like what you have in terms of material possession.

The lesson is simple case of balance, and prioritizing what’s important to create a great life and the habit of success.

If you start filling your jar, which represents your life, with your important priorities or your Big Rocks first, there’s sufficient room and time for the pebbles next and then the sand will fill up the remaining space. 

That’s living a life a life of meaning and purpose wisely.

But what happens when you reverse the order, and spend more time on the sand?

There won’t be much space to fit the pebbles and even less so, the Big Rocks.

Now, if you diligently, deliberately and actively focus on taking care of your Big Rocks such as self-care, quality time and strategizing first, your pebbles and sand will always find a place to fit in.

What are YOUR Big Rocks?

Consider your main priorities and long-term goals.

What do you live for?

The emphasis is on spending quality time on what’s most important to you as these are mission-critical objectives.
When you know what your own Big Rocks are, you learn how to stop being afraid to say no to things that could take up precious time you should be spending on the masterpiece of your legacy.