WELLNESS & SELF-CARE · April 30th, 2018

Put the Big Rocks First

by Turpin Mott


Today, we all move at light speed. We’re plugged in at every moment of every hour, rushing to get everything done. We rarely take the time to stop and ask ourselves: Is what I’m doing having a positive impact on my team? Our business? Our WHY?

There will always be more than you can do in a day. That’s why knowing what your “Big Rocks” are is important. Big Rocks are those major tasks that when completed will have the biggest impact on your team, pet resort or hospital. They are the projects that will create an environment for your entire staff to be their best selves.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
—Lao Tzu

Everyone’s Big Rocks are different depending on the evolution of their culture. The important thing is to make sure you know what you are creating and why it matters. Once you define that, you’ll have a guiding star that you can always use to bring you and your staff back to what is really important.

Here are a few guiding steps for getting the right stuff done:

1. Make a list.
Begin each week by writing down all the tasks you want to complete.

2. Keep it short.
Identify 4 to 6 tasks as Big Rocks — things that will impact your culture.  Complete these before moving on to the next ones. You can add more later as you begin to understand your process for accomplishing these Big Rocks.

3. Assign dates to your Rocks.
Take out your calendar and write down when you will begin working on the individual Rocks and how much time you will spend on each. Schedule them when you’re least likely to be interrupted. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the tasks. Be realistic. If you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a task in one sitting, book a few time slots.

4. Leave space in your calendar.
A full calendar results in self-criticism and depleted energy. We all know that unexpected tasks and interruptions come up, so anticipate this and leave space.

5. Take a walk.
If you’ve been working on a Big Rock for more than 50 minutes, take a break. Get up. Go on a walk. If possible, step outside. See the sky. Feel the sun.

6. Celebrate your progress.
At the end of the week, review the Big Rocks you’ve tackled, and celebrate your progress. You will not complete every Big Rock every week. Be proud of the baby steps you’ve taken.

Remember: Getting the important stuff done first is what’s productive. You can continue to run around and get a lot of little stuff done or you can choose to do the most impactful stuff – your Big Rocks – and communicate to the people around you that they are important.

p.s. Don’t forget to include your personal Big Rocks!

Turpin Mott


Support Center | Boulder, CO

Turpin officially joined NVA in July 2015 after having worked as a consultant with the company for the previous eight years in a variety of organizational development roles. He has extensive experience in facilitating and guiding leaders and teams to increase efficiency, capacity, and collaboration. He helps create solid foundations for individuals and teams based on accountability, integrity, authenticity, and responsibility which directly impacts the success of the organization. Turpin is also a Combat Action Veteran, having served with the United States Marine Corps in Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He attended Louisiana State University.

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