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

Rated 4.7 out of 5

If you’ve been drowning in time constraints and struggling with lack of focus, you’ll love today’s Q&A where we’re looking at how T. Harv Eker explains how the ‘Big Rocks Method’ can help you and everyone, and he also makes it abundantly clear that you have two choices when it comes to overwhelm… Adapt or Die!

Come get some!

Question from Community:

“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... 

True or not?

And Harv understands that 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 and kids and ideas…

There’s a lot of plates spinning!!

That’s why you’re spinning plates!

So Harv’s 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, says Harv.

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…

Harv explains that he was talking to an acquaintance of his who’s actually in this business and he was complaining to Harv about just how busy he is these days.

Harv asked him…“Why? What happened?”

And his friend’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 Harv goes... “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!”

Harv’s friend says… “Okay.”

“So what are you going to do?”, asks Harv…

“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 Harv’s friend mentioned a couple of things that he won’t do anymore…

He was also 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.”

Harv’s friend then had a revelation… “You know, just saying these things… my life is becoming easier just decommitting from stuff…”

With this, Harv would 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…

Harv insists that you don’t have to do them!

“Yeah, but if I don’t then…”

That’s your story... that’s what Harv calls your Mindfrick. 

That's just in your head!

Probably, the world will survive.

Harv and anyone’s 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 Harv notes that 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 that fact


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…

Harv suggests that you 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, according to Harv… 

Learn how to spin plates better!

The best way Harv knows to spin all the plates is with the Big Rocks Strategy.

It’s something Harv’s been teaching forever, but he didn’t make it up.

Harv 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.

Harv doesn’t remember the guy who made it up and in fact, he’s not even sure if the person he would give kudos to made it up!

Harv really doesn’t know who made it up but he admits that he didn’t make it up okay, and he’s been using it…

And he’s been teaching it with reference to the people who made it up.

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

But let’s assume he did make it up because Harv uses 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…

Harv explains that you’ll separate your business stuff into ‘strategic on the business’ and ‘just in the business’ items.

Here’s what Harv suggests 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, Harv cautions.

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, Harv adds that 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.”

Harv has 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 Harv trusts that 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 whatnot, 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, Harv adds, after his own morning meditation and yoga, he usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to journal on what’s going on for him in his life.

That scheduled journaling, Harv emphatically states as a fact has saved his life.

He elaborates on how it allows him to put on paper what’s in his heart and if you’d like to know why Harv prefers writing by hand on paper…

And why, at Harv’s company, they do all of their live teaching on flip charts instead of going digital, here’s the reason he learned many many moons ago…

Digital writing is read with the head.

Handwriting is read with the heart.

Because Harve learned that 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 to 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 Harv insists that you 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 Harv has a big decision to make after he’s journaled about it, he starts a letter to himself, and it goes…

“Dear Harv.

This is a message from your higher self…”

And he doesn’t think, he just writes…

And he’s in SHOCK at how brilliant his 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 Harv admits that he doesn’t get to meet up with that One all as much as he’d like to but he wants you to know that YOU have the same One!

And ALL of 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, says Harv.

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.


Harv is highly recommending, he’s not telling you what to do, but he’s recommending that everybody use the ‘Big Rocks Method’.

He’s also highly recommending that you take time for ‘Strategic Thinking’.

Harv’s definitely 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.

Nobody knows better when will suit you, so Harv recommends that you just pick a day.

Do it whenever it works for you!

But guess 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, says Harv.

Next Steps

Create a work-life balance, and start making some changes in your life right now, by setting up your Big Rocks Calendar so you can create better balance in your life and career.

Because you desire to start and finish everything you do strong...

Practice using 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...

Because your time is something you will never get back, and how you spend your minutes and hours today can leave a legacy of wealth or poverty - it's your choice.


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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 a 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 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.

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Rated 4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 3 reviews)
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Avatar for Jaden

Have so much clarity now!

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Now I can have a much easier and simpler day and not have to take on loads and loads of work!!! Very helpful!!

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Noemí Gilda

Aprender a manejar los obstáculos que se me presentan [Translated from Spanish: I love these points to start my daily growth and to organize myself from waking up early.]

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Tengo que dominar las piedras que se me presentan en el camino y seguir lo que el corazón me dicta y utilizarlo con la mente.

[Translated from Spanish: I have to master the stones that come my way and follow what my heart tells me and use it with my mind.]

Avatar for Ralph

My big rocks first!

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This article helps me understand what my big rocks are and how to prioritize them.

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