Hang on to your marbles!

Bowl of marbles

How a jar of marbles can help us work out what is important this year.

Bowl of marbles Of course, as it’s the New Year a lot of us are thinking about our goals, but I challenge you to back up a bit first. Spare a few minutes to think about what really matters in your life.

I do this using my jar of marbles. I think marbles are lovely, and really clever… all that glass swirling inside more glass! I have a jam jar filled with a mix of large and medium marbles and I have three of those lovely great big marbles.

I like to hold these three big marbles and to each I allocate something very important. One might represent my family, one my work and the other my faith. I can hold these in the palm of my hand. If you are familiar with the work of Covey, you know what is coming next. If I shove all the small and medium marbles into the jar, then there is no room for the big ones – no space for what really matters. And, of course, if I put the big ones in first, then I can fit the smaller ones all around them.

I like to think of the jar as my day and the marbles as the things that I have to fit into my day. So, if I don’t put enough priority onto my ‘big marbles’ then they don’t get into my day. So maybe I don’t phone my daughter, don’t get those invoices done or make time to pray. So I have been trying to get the big marbles in first and fitting the smaller things round them.

Of course , I don’t necessarily phone my daughter when I first get up, but I don’t let other things get in the way of the really big stuff. Once I have these priorities sorted I can set my goals and hold myself to account against those goals.

I’m just off to think through what I want to achieve in the next few months. I’ll let you know next week. Please share your thoughts below!


Marion Foreman

About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.

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