Many people I know would answer this question with “not often enough”. Me included.

A common misconception is that there is not enough time to do everything you want to do. However, the reality is that time is abundant. The real problem is that it is too easy to waste time through procrastination or doing things that don’t really matter.

It is what we choose to do with our time – the actions we take and what we prioritise – that will determine the lives we lead.

Here is a wonderful story that illustrates this point:

One morning a professor of philosophy stood in front of his class and wordlessly began to fill a very large and empty mayonnaise jar with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor picked up a box of tiny pebbles and tipped them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly allowing the pebbles to roll into the open areas between the golf balls before asking the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

Next the professor poured a box of sand into the jar filling up all the remaining space and once more asked his class if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.” The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar. The students laughed.

Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The ‘golf balls’ are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends and your passions. In other words, all those things that if everything else was lost, and if only they remained, your life would still be full.

The ‘pebbles’ are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car, holidays, etc. The sand is everything else, all the small stuff.

Now if you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued,there is no room for the ‘pebbles’ or the ‘golf balls’.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important to you. So pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness, play with your children, take care of your health, make time for your friends, and go out to dinner with your partner because there will always be time to clean the house and fix the car.

Set your priorities and take care of the ‘golf balls’ first, for they are the things that really matter. All the rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and asked, “What does the wine represent?” The professor smiled, “I’m glad you asked. I was also showing you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.”

The important thing is to understand what our “golf balls” are. They are our motivators and should keep us from getting distracted by less important matters. By following our passions we will achieve greater success and have no regrets.

The iconic movie star, Ingrid Bergman, once said “I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.” Not bad advice…