The story of the mayonnaise jar below does the trick. I can't claim it's mine, or that it is new, and it has been sent to me on more than one occasion so I may even have used it in La Femme as a Femme Point ... anyway, it goes like this:
A professor stands before his philosophy class and, wordlessly, picks up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. He then asks his students if the jar is full. They agree it is.
The professor then picks up a box of pebbles and pours them into the jar. He shakes the jar lightly and the pebbles roll into the open areas between the golf balls. He asks again if the jar is full. The students agree it is.
The professor next picks up a box of sand and pours this into the jar. Of course, the sand fills up everything else. He asks once more if the jar is full. The students respond with an unanimous “yes”.
The professor then produces two cups of coffee from under the table and pours the contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laugh.
“Now,” explains the professor, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favourite 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, 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 so pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
“Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house. Take care of the golf balls first. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raises her hand and inquires what the coffee represents. The professor smiles.
“I’m glad you asked. I added that 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.”