I’m grateful for over 30 years (on and off) of employment with H-E-B Food/Drugs for many reasons. Besides working with awesome Partners (employees throughout Texas and Mexico), I’m especially thankful for the learning and training opportunities that proved so beneficial in life.
Learning and teaching Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma was especially rewarding.
Even today, years after my early retirement, I use these powerful techniques at home, in the RV and with projects.
Eventually earning Six Sigma Black Belt accreditation, I gave presentations across the country at various professional conferences.
At H-E-B, all of my Facilities Management regional offices (for retail stores, gas stations, manufacturing, real estate properties and warehouses) and their field Partners were trained. Some became belt holders of various degrees.
The results in productivity and value were amazing, saving millions of dollars over the years. Efficiency was the name of the game, by destroying waste along the way.
As an introduction to many classes and seminars, I’d present the substantial visual lesson from Stephen Covey’s First Things First “rock parable.”
With a large jar on a table, surrounded by various sizes of rocks, gravel and sand, I’d begin.
“Your life and work has big rocks and little rocks. The size represents the importance and, essentially, what should be prioritized. They all have to fit into your jar.”
I’d pour the little rocks in first and could easily get them all in the jar.
Next, I tried the big rocks, they wouldn’t fit.
Scratching my head, I’d suddenly come up with another idea. This time I put the big rocks in first. Guess what happened?
The little rocks naturally fell into the remaining space allotted. I’d follow up with small bits of gravel and sand, representing inconsequential things people worry about, dwell on or spend far too much time on.
The moral of the story: Always take care of the most important stuff first. Always the big rocks! You can fit nearly everything else (that might be valuable and needed) later.
There are many ways to make sure your big rocks stay front and center.
One popular method is the Eisenhower Box or Matrix. I believe in it so much, that my children, now adults, use it naturally in their own homes and careers.
To use it, mark a piece of paper into four equal boxes or quadrants. Write or separate what needs to be done into one of the four boxes. Quadrant 1 will be top left, Quadrant 2: top right. 3: bottom left.
Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important
Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not important
Quadrant 2: Important, but not urgent
Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
It becomes clear “urgent and important” items are your immediate priority.
We get into the most trouble when we confuse “urgent, but not important” with “urgent and important.”
Live as much of your life as possible in Quadrant 2 activities: Studying, planning, vacationing, reading, exercising, taking your vitamins and medications properly, nutrition, mitigating, improving, resting, learning, organizing and getting rid of waste, etc.
The most successful and happiest people realize that things are always urgent, but if they only focus on the urgent (or what some may consider urgent but in reality, it’s not), the important will never get accomplished.
A common mistake people make in their planning, work and projects, is spending an inordinate amount of time on little rocks.
Imagine how much better your life, travels, and experiences could be if you weren’t so enamored with the bits of gravel. At a certain point–sooner than later–spending your time more on the little rocks, gravel and sand will give you significantly diminished returns.
That inordinate amount of time can have devastating effects on your “big rocks.” Sometimes it’s better to attend to your true priorities, arrive safely on time or accomplish an important goal, than having a perfect little rock.
In future posts, I’ll present valuable Quadrant 2 type examples and information you can use at home, in your RV, workshop, or office to improve your life.
Follow me here to more tips, hacks and good information.
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Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.