The Pickle Jar Theory Time Management Method

19 Oct, 2022 | Read in 5 minutes

The Pickle Jar Theory is a time management method that will help you manage your day-to-day tasks.


Do you ever feel unproductive at the end of the day even doing some of the tasks? If so, perhaps it's because you don't prioritise your task in a good way. So it allows distractions to prevent you from getting things done.

Now if you're struggling with time management and distractions, you're perhaps wondering what the solutions for this are. Don't worry, you come to the right place. Keep attention because you're about to learn some useful tips for effective time management namely the pickle of jar theory.

What is the Pickle Jar Theory?

The pickle jar theory was created in 2002 by Jeremy Wright. It is also known as the "bucket of rocks theory" or "jar of life theory". This theory is based on a time-management method that ranks tasks and commitments in a specific order of importance.

In general, the pickle jar is an analogy. The jar stands in for an average day and the sand, pebbles, and rocks stand in for routine activities. Besides, some sources extend the comparison by switching water to private life. The jar can be filled with some tasks and activities anyway.

Here are examples of the actions that represent the sand, pebbles, and rocks in our daily activities.

The sand represents small tasks, such as texting your co-workers, scrolling TikTok, creating to-do lists, cooking breakfast, etc.

The pebbles can represent tasks that are more important than the sand. It consists of the tasks that can be delegated to others or delayed. Replying to emails, meetings, etc.

The rocks represent the most important tasks. If we don't finish the tasks, there may be severe consequences. For example, research the topic for a content creator, research the product for a product manager, etc.

Keep in mind the sequence in which you arrange your tasks if you want to properly apply the pickle of jar theory to your life. For example, if you start the day with distractions such as the sand that represent scrolling social media, then fill the jar with pebbles, or urgent tasks that can wait, you will see that it is almost full. So there is no space to put the rocks in the jar, which represents the day's most important tasks. More so, your productive day can end up being worthless.

In this article, you will find about the pickle jar theory and its effective ways in daily life. For brevity's sake check the explanation below.

So how to apply the Pickle Jar Theory in daily life?

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Because we know the value of time management and put the pickle jar theory into real-life activities. Assuming that you're a content creator.

8:00 Sand Scrolling social media and eating breakfast

8:30 Pebbles Checking and responding to the emails

9:00 Rock 1st research the topic for content

9:30 Rock 2nd creating the content

11:00 Pebbles Quick call with co-workers about the topic

11:20 Rock 3rd continues creating content

12:15 Sand Lunch and make a coffee

1:00 Rock 4th Draft content

2:00 Rock 5th Polish the content to go out

3:15 Sand Eat some snacks

3:30 Pebbles responding calls, check the progress team and make sure the content is good for the next day

4:00 Relax and get in touch with family or friends

Woohoo, it seems like you have done many tasks in a day, right?

You can notice that you completed fewer but more important things when applying the pickle of jar theory. You're able to spend the majority of your time on the most important tasks (rocks).

Further, you allocated time for the most crucial tasks in your schedule, the rocks, and made time estimates for them. By removing distractions (sand) and responding to phone calls (pebbles) in a planned way, you're able to boost your productivity.

Remember that the most important tasks should be handled first.

The perks of the Pickle Jar Theory

1. Allocated time

The pickle of jar theory enables you to plan the workday by estimating how much time each task will take. It's simple to set time limits for each and adhere to them once you've chosen your "rocks of the day." This is a major benefit of the theory since it allows you to determine how much time you spend on being productive. Further, it provides information on how much time you waste.

2. Overcoming multitasking

It is well known that juggling multiple tasks at once reduces your productivity. Multitasking may cause you to feel overwhelmed and have a negative impact on both quality and performance. The pickle of jar theory can prevent you from multitasking as well.

If you have a clear understanding of your workload and time estimations, chances are you will overcome multitasking. It helps in prioritising your tasks and focusing on one at a time. You'll be more focused.

3. Get rid of distractions

You can use the pickle jar of theory by scheduling time for your most important projects and preventing distractions. Therefore, the next time you go for your doom scrolling social media at work, consider what successful people have to say about distractions and how getting rid of them is the secret to success and productivity. Although we don't guarantee that you'll create viral content or become the richest person in the world, it will help you accomplish your objectives and improve your time management skills. Wanna try?

4. Avoid procrastination

One of the most effective ways to avoid procrastination at work is to set goals and prioritise your tasks. Setting goals and avoiding instinctive habits that lead to procrastination are both positively impacted by being organised. The pickle of the jar theory has the perk to encourage good planning skills. For your information, your brain receives signals that help it stay alert and assist you in overcoming procrastination when you set goals and time estimates for your tasks.

To sum up

Further, to implement the pickle of jar theory in your daily life, make sure that you also manage the project you have. Using project management tools can complete your time management to be more effective and boost your productivity.

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