How can a jar ever improve my time management skills? You might be asking yourself right away. Well friend, hold your horses and comb your mullets because your mind is about to be blown. One rock, pebble, grain of sand, and drop of beer at a time. Who doesn't love beer?
“I know it is important, but I truly don't have any time for that!” Yes, I know you've bitten your lips more than once after regurgitating this phrase. I have too. It is the one feisty predator that menaces us, Modern Artists, on a daily, weekly, yearly basis. That one bastard: time.
We want to start that e-commerce shop to sell our prints, or rather embark on that Skillshare that will finally teach us how to make wooden gnomes for our grandma's garden. Perhaps we want to finally learn Esperanto because hot damn, we never know when the next global language tectonic shift may occur. Who knows? There are needs and wants of all shapes and colors. But how do we find the time to actually do?
A harsh acceptance: you already have time
Aha! I said it. I repeat this to myself constantly every time my brain shuts down into busyfication mode. You already have time, that is a fact. Therefore you don't need time, so let's start by dusting off that shelf and acknowledging la veritè. Swoop, swoop.
“But Marco, I swear, I don't have any! I must take my hedgehog for a walk in the morning, prepare me some good Aunt Jemima pancakes afterward, catch up on the daily news to make sure I don't stay behind on Kim Jong-Un's latest world domination attempt...oh and the cacti! Must water those too.”
I get it, I get it. You're busy. I'm busy too. We're all busy. Busy is a modern society ailment depriving us of living life at its fullest. Busy is the lie we keep telling ourselves to prevent us from taking action or doing what is truly necessary. It robs us from being pragmatic and it, counter-intuitively, our time.
The good news is: you don't need more time. What you need is to prioritize. Prioritize your work, your leisure time, and your non-negotiables. Prioritization leads to effective time management skills. Prioritization is the nemesis of busyfication, the cure to what you thought to be an incurable disease.
How to manage time like a jar—or a pro
Ok, now that we understood that time is already there waiting for us to come knock, knock, knocking o it's door [ay, ay ay!]. It is time to dissect into the nitty-gritty of how to manage el tiempo effectively, orderly, and rationally, with the help of The Jar of Life.
“A jar is going to solve all my life problems, for real?” Nope. Definitely not. But it is going to help you take a step back and reassess your daily activities. What are you focusing the most amounts of energy onto? And is it truly worth it? Or perhaps it would do a greater good if poured somewhere else? Those are the kind of questions that The Jar of Life is going to help you answer.
Improving your time management skills will cause a compounding effect of good Karma as you realize you can do more in less time, and be happier along the way. You'll feel fulfilled, accomplished, moving forward instead of zig-zagging and beat-jumping. The jar will help you understand the critical things that make you content. That which give your life true, juicy, meaning.
How does it work
To start, we need some basic ingredients [don't worry, it's a mental exercise, no need to get Art-Attack with it]: 2 glass jars, a handful of rocks, handful of pebbles, handful of sand, and one good German beer. The objective is to fill the jar to the brim without it overflowing, overstacking, overnothing. Clean cut at the top.
You start by pouring the sand in, followed by the pebbles, wait for them to settle at the bottom and immediately realize the jar is almost full. You try to drop the rocks in, pushing them against one another to make them fit. No luck. You try to reposition them, take some out, squeeze others in but nothing. Nada. The jar is full to the top, and there's the beer sitting around...what with the beer? I think I'll drink it.
This time you start with the big rocks first, they click-clack their way to the bottom of the jar and settle there. Now it's time for the pebbles, they fall into place finding space in between the gaps left by the rocks. Then you pour the sand in which easily slides through the cracks, the jar isn't even full yet. Lastly, the beer! Which instead of chugging it you pour it gently and let it drip to top the jar. No mess, no overflowing or stacking, the jar is full! Great success.
So..what is the message here folks?
In life, like in this jar, we tend to wrongly prioritize our key-happiness activities (the rocks). We spend too much time on the banal (the sand, pebbles, and beer—I love beer) whilst we navigate through our material realm in auto-pilot mode. Do the chores, walk the dog, drink the coffee on the terrace, be busy, busy, very busy, watch the Star Wars marathon for the 5th time, sleep, repeat. It's a toxic loop of livelihood-systematization numbing us.
The Jar of Life teaches us one valuable lesson: we can make time for all that matters to us by simply removing the clutter, the extra. Identify what your rocks are and start by fixing them into your calendar. When that time of the day comes, drop everything, and dedicate your entire humanity to it. Limit distractions or annoyances. Turn off your phone, put the angry hedgehog away. This is your sacred happy time, treat it like such!
After you take care of the rocks, then make space for some of the pebbles, sand and beer. But watch out! Don't over do it, or else you'll rapidly recoil back to the old habits.
What are your rocks? I'll share mine with you:
- Exercise—above all. It's the one habit that keeps the balance even and my life aligned. I live by one rule: life may be crumbling into pieces, flaming asteroids showers diving form the sky, Tiger King running for president, whatever it is—Don't. Stop. Exercising. Ever. Period.
- Family and friends—my pride and joy. I live to laugh and laugh to live. Sharing with my loved ones is what keeps my creative and wellness tanks at full.
- Help—anybody in need. I learned this from my parents and other relatives who are passionate givers. Lending a hand just for the sake of making somebody else's day a tiny lil' bit better is inexplicably rewarding.
- Create—anything. Whether that be a drawing, a song, a mural, a digital collage, or a comedic sketch. Spraying the world with my creativity and means of self-expression brings me infinite bliss and gratification.
- Hobbies—music mainly. I thrive for the rhythms, the melodies, the arrangements. Playing music is one of my go-to forms of meditation. I wouldn't swap it for a million dollars.
Lesson being, you could strip me away from everything else I've got, yet give me a jumping rope, a cousin, a blank Photoshop document, and a guitar—and you can rest damn assured I'll be batshit happy.
So once again, what are your rocks? Let me know in the comments!