Prioritizing Your Rocks

Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Prioritizing Your Rocks

You are likely familiar with the Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand story and demonstration.

No? Let me quickly explain:

Our demonstration includes a jar, rocks, pebbles, and sand.

The jar represents your life - the 24 hours that each of us has each and every day.

The rocks include the important stuff - spouse, family and friends, pets, hobbies, health, and the things that bring each of us joy.

The pebbles include the things that we have to focus on such as career, making sure your house is maintained, your financial life, etc. It even includes marketing such as your campaigns that bring you future business! These things are not as important as things you designate as your rocks, but they are still things that give your life structure.

The sand is all the extra stuff - watching TV, social media, and (I would argue) some of the real estate business stuff that is essentially unstructured and isn't really helping you get to where you need to be. It fills the time and makes you feel good about doing something, but it isn't the most effective use of your time or money.

The rocks, pebbles, and sand all need to fit into the jar as they represent what fills the day. If you pour the sand into the jar first, there isn't enough room for many rocks or pebbles. However, if you put the rocks in the jar first, then the pebbles, and finally the sand, there is enough room because the pebbles and sand work their way around the rocks.

This demonstration is a metaphor for life and what we choose to fill our life with - the goal being to make our rocks - spouse, family, friends, hobbies, etc the priority in our precious 24 hours per day. Of course, we have to fit in real estate as well, but that is one of the best and worst things about having real estate as a career - on the one hand, it operates like sand and we can sneak in a business call between running kids to rehearsal and practice. On the other hand, it operates like sand and it can quickly take over your house and home like you just spent day at the beach and now there is sand on the floor, in the shower, in the fridge, on the dog, and in the dryer.

Because real estate tasks can be sneaky and infiltrate our lives, it is important to take a Rock Assessment at least once a quarter. Ask yourself:

  • What are my rocks?
  • How am I prioritizing my rocks now over pebbles and sand?
  • What small changes can I make to do a better job of prioritizing my rocks?
  • What are my pebbles?
  • How am I prioritizing my pebbles now over sand?
  • What small changes can I make to do a better job of prioritizing my pebbles over sand?
  • What is my sand?
  • How can I better control my sand and keep it from taking over my pebbles and rocks?

It is very easy for a busy couple of weeks transaction-wise to turn into a frantic pace that lasts for months. Therefore, make a calendar reminder every quarter or after a very busy time to realign your life and put your priorities (rocks) first.

Ready to edit out some of that sand and get those rocks back into your jar? I will be covering this and more at my upcoming Amplify class, this October 25th and 26th in Lynnwood.


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Comments (11)

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Denise and thanks for sharing this with us in the Rain.  It is a great blog!  Can I reblog it in a couple of weeks?


Oct 12, 2021 11:28 AM
Denise Lones

Will - Yes and thank you!

Oct 15, 2021 12:22 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

The rocks to sand/water analogy always a good one, no matter what it is related to.  M

Oct 12, 2021 05:43 PM
Denise Lones

Now I'm curious what else you've seen it related to. Thanks Mark - Denise

Oct 15, 2021 12:23 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Denise- while I'm familiar with the story of the rocks, pebbles and sand, you did an excellent job of illustrating it and reminding us all that we do need to step back from time to time and make sure that the sand in our lives isn't taking over our rocks. 

Oct 12, 2021 05:50 PM
Denise Lones

Thank you Kathy - a lesson that can be used (almost) anywhere. Still wondering where else Mark has seen it. - Denise

Oct 15, 2021 12:24 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Oct 16, 2021 05:43 PM
Denise Lones

Well thank you Kathy!

Oct 29, 2021 11:25 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Gmood morning Denise. It is easy to fill the jar. The problem is to assess and prioritize. Thanks for the reminder. Enoy your day. 

Oct 17, 2021 05:17 AM
Denise Lones

That's what this was all about Wayne! Thanks for stopping by - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:25 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Denise Lones ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured this post in her "Ah-Ha" moments for the week as I missed it! Great analogy skillfully explained so anyone can understand. A great reminder to take the time to assess and realign your priorities!

Oct 17, 2021 05:57 AM
Denise Lones

Dorie - Always appreciate hearing from a long-time reader. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note. Best - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:26 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, this makes total sense. The most important things, the rocks, have to be top priority!

Oct 17, 2021 06:49 AM
Denise Lones

But oh the sand tasks are often seductive, but that's the difference between being a top producer and scrambling to get by. Good to see you again Kat! - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:27 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Figuring out want and what you don't cannot be overstated. We really wry oftenforget that we have only one life

Oct 17, 2021 10:36 PM
Denise Lones

Time really is our most precious asset. - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:28 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Denise - the take away is know what your rocks are and give them priority.

Oct 18, 2021 07:54 AM
Denise Lones

Not always easy to identify them without some practice, but here's a tip. If you're avoiding it, it might be a "rock". - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:28 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The Rocks, Pebbles, Sand story has been around many years. As I recall, water was also added to show the ability to add more when one thinks the jar is full. It is a great analogy for how to prioritize your life events.

Oct 24, 2021 09:29 AM
Denise Lones

Juan - You're right, I've seen that before too. - Denise

Oct 29, 2021 11:29 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Denise Lones, And if your exercise continues one more step, there is room for liquids. And there is always a bit of time to have a drink with a friend.

Nov 02, 2021 06:46 PM
Denise Lones

Great point. Quality of life should surround and be a part of every good plan. - Denise

Nov 10, 2021 03:44 PM