Prioritizing My Time

Prime-Time-Clock-by-zoutedrop-Creative-CommonsWhile procrastinating my blog post about BBST Foundations course (I’ve been on two of them and will compare them), I thought I could write a bit about how I prioritize my time.

Big Rocks

We all have 24 hours to spend. Every day. The way we use those hours, varies a lot though. A while ago I was listening an Udemy course about time management and it had a part where the presenter filled a glass jar with big rocks and sand. Moral of the story was that we should fill our life with big rocks (things that are important) first and only after that with sand (which represents all the little things). You can find similar video if you just google “big rocks time”.

Big rocks of my life are mainly:

  • Time with family
  • Work
  • Sleep

I think it’s good to open up those a bit.

Time with family

I have a fiancee and 3 years old son. When I get home from work (basically 4pm always), I spend time with them until our son is sleeping. When I say I spend time with them, I truly mean that. I don’t watch TV, use my laptop or play with my phone. When you have 3 years old son, being mentally engaged is important. Same applies to fiancee also.

Exceptions are really rare. I mentioned BBST Foundations courses. All the time I spent on those courses, happened when I was either at work, or when our son was sleeping.


With work I mean working 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. That’s it. I’m quite strict about not doing overtime. Sometimes (like 2-3 times a month) I will be one hour longer at work, but those are rare.

We had a conversation about this last week on our Helsinki Software Development Lunches (we go have a lunch at Helsinki center and discuss about software development – anyone is free to join). There was a developer who said that he has also really strict about 40 hours per week rule. He said that he has been pushed on working overtime, but he has asked the underlying reason for something being really important and urgent. He continued that if there’s a life threatening situation or company is in bankrupt next day – then he can be flexible. How often this is the case though?


I need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. This is something I take also quite seriously and plan my activities so that it will be possible to sleep this much. Usually on weekends I will sleep longer, but I feel that 7 hours is enough during the week.

The Little Things

Those big rocks are something that are essential part of my life and will be affected very rarely. Sure, there are situations where I’m not entirely with my family after work. I might be making food, going grocery store or other similar things that needs to be done. Fortunately my son can be part of many of those. Depending on his mood.

As much as I would like to develop myself as a tester, I don’t want to do that by affecting big rocks. This is one of the reasons why majority of my learning happens while I’m at work, driving to work, putting my son to sleep (which requires just physical presence) or at the evening when I have a bit of my own time. I can’t even remember how many videos I’ve listened while driving to work. Videos from BBST to Oredev, Eurostar to TED Talks and Udemy courses to all kinds of Youtube talks. When I put my son to sleep I often read books. A while ago I read Jerry Weinberg’s ‘The Secrets of Consulting’ and ‘Are Your Lights On’.

It’s Not The Distance That Kills

I’ve seen several close people overworking and paying the price for it. Some are not here anymore and others, well there’s not much left of them. I’m also hearing these kind of stories while working and thinking that I’m not going to walk those paths. Because of these reasons, I’m strict about keeping the work hours on a level that will not affect negatively the whole. Work is only one part of the whole. Even though I love what I do and aim to become extremely good at it.

How about you? What are your big rocks?