Mayo Jar + Golf Balls + Coffee = Happiness

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Mr Organised sent what I am going to share with you to me in an email recently.  I DON’T read those long-winded joke type emails that my dear friends send me, usually they are deleted straight away as I just don’t have time (thankyou anyway for thinking of me 🙂 ).  However, hubby said this email is worth the read and I completely agree, I am thankful that I read it, the message is that good that I want to share it with you.  Have you heard the story of:


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students, if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked The students again if the jar was full.. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced Two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents Into the jar, effectively filling the Empty space between the sand. 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 – family, children, health, Friends, and Favorite passions things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

‘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 important to you.


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

‘Take care of the golf balls first — The things that really matter.  Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. ‘I’m glad you asked’.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’

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Fi November 1, 2011 - 6:27 AM

I love it! I guess you could also sub a nice wine for the coffee 😉

Anonymous November 1, 2011 - 6:49 AM

I like this but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

Jesslouise November 1, 2011 - 8:58 AM

Absolutely so true! Thankyou!

Lisa Warren November 1, 2011 - 12:53 PM

That is fantastic! Definitely a good philosophy for life.

Claire @ Claire K Creations November 1, 2011 - 1:48 PM

I love it! I read a similar thing for getting your ‘to do’ list done every day. It said to do the big rocks (big tasks) first then focus on the little things.
I like it relating to life better.

Renee November 1, 2011 - 9:36 PM

<3 it! gonna find a way to pretty it up and frame it!!!!

Renee November 1, 2011 - 9:36 PM

pretty meaning typed or written or something the message above is beautiful all by itself

Norlin November 1, 2011 - 9:44 PM

Such a lovely message that rings true. I think I’m going to share this message with my friends. 🙂

Anonymous November 2, 2011 - 7:27 AM

Wow,the way some peoples mind work is amazing.
What an excellent analogy…wish I could come up with something so illustrative and clever lol!!

Bell Harlow November 21, 2011 - 7:12 PM

If you like this you should read 7 habits of highly effective people. One of the habits in this book is big rocks small rocks, very similar and goes into more detail about how to identify what are your big rock and small rocks. Very helpful book for the work place and home. 🙂

Min Whitehead April 20, 2012 - 10:03 AM

Thank you so much katrina yourwritings today have been even bigger blessings than normal. I love your daily tasks – they have moved me from feeling like a completely hopeless home,children, hubby life organizer to one that is getting there still. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone in forgetting the maintainability tasks eg. wiping skirting boards or knowing the best way to clean an oven. Given we have 6 children ranging in age from 21yr to 3yr one (especially me) would think I should have household organization under control – but NOT A CHANCE!! Howeverfrom now on I am not going to get upset at about rarely getting to my sand coz my golfballs come first – especially our 3yr old who has chronic medical conditions.
Thank you again I am off to pull out the blankets and roll our little boy up (oxygen tubes and all) up in them pretending he is a speeding sausage roll – then I will hang them in the sun. lol
warmest regards

nd88 April 20, 2012 - 10:30 AM

I have been looking every where for this! Although the one I read had beer instead of coffee…which I like better..haha

Renee M April 20, 2012 - 11:35 AM

So true, you tend to forget about things in life and what your priorities are. Loving your daily tasks, working towards a much calmer and organised household. Thank you

annie g April 21, 2012 - 5:57 PM

i love the idea hat you are taking the week-ends off and taking care of golf balls. thank you, i always enjoy your e-mails, may not do them all, but they do remind of the little jobs that get forgotten.
cheers annie g

Dalmey August 13, 2012 - 4:50 PM

i like this and thank you to my gud ‘ol frend who thought to share this with me,  Life is full of trials and tribulations,  we tend to feed off the small things in life but really this msg says it all,


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