Have you ever heard this analogy aimed at helping you prioritize your daily activities. My wife heard of this and taught it to our two sons and to me as well.

The walnuts represent the important priorities in life, like maintaining your physical health, your mental health, keeping in touch with family and friends, learning, perhaps those items on your personal bucket list or even the really important things at work.

The rice represents all the routine tasks that have to be done or those activities that we pile on top of ourselves. Sometimes we make these seem more important than they really are, and they can take on a life of their own. I doubt that anyone on their deathbed said, “You know, if I could do it all over again, I would have cleaned out my garage more often,” or “I would’ve checked email more often,” or the infamous “If I could do it all over again, I would’ve spent more time at the office.”

Have you noticed that we never seem to have time for the walnuts—the important priorities in our lives. We have elevated the routine tasks to the top of the list and fill up our days and nights with getting everything done.

So, if you take a jar and fill it ¾’s full of rice and then take about 6-8 large walnuts and put them on top, it all doesn’t fit. Just like our lives, the walnuts fall out of the picture.

However, if you fill up the jar with the walnuts first, keeping your priority items your priority, then you can pour the rice all around the walnuts and it all fits together.

Figure out what’s really important to you and make time on your schedule for them first. Fill in the extra time with all the routine stuff. You’ll be surprised and what you can get accomplished and how those routine things still get done.

By the way, I know that one of my sons, who is now 34 years old, still has his jar with the rice and the walnuts that my wife made for him. He puts it out on his kitchen counter wherever he lives. What a great reminder!

Take a moment and share how you’re approaching this.