The most important thing we can spend on our loved ones is our time. If we could spend on our children half the amount of money and double the amount of time that we currently do, they would be much better off.

A father said to me recently: "With the lifestyle that I lead, the pressures in the office, business trips, social commitments, plus some time at the gym to keep in shape — where do I find time for my children? It just doesn't exist!"

My response was that in our busy lives today there is only one way to make the time for things that are important to us and that is by employing the "Jar Parable." Let me explain.

We have some stones and pebbles that we wish to put into a jar — some large and some small. If we first place all the small pebbles into the jar, the big stones will not fit. A better way of doing it is to put the larger stones in first, and then let the small pebbles work their way in around them.

If spending time with our family is truly important to us, then our family should be the largest stone amongst all the stones and pebbles that we're going to fit into the jar. At the beginning of the year, month, week and day we should take this large stone of time — time for our family — and designate certain hours and certain days in our diary and calendar. Now the stone is in the jar; these hours no longer exist, they've been dedicated to the family. Then we can proceed to insert all the little pebbles (they may be quantitatively bigger than the "large stone", but in terms of our priorities they're the "little pebbles") — business appointments, shopping, leisure, etc. — around the large stone. We will find that, to our surprise, all or most of them will also fit.

I have heard of people who complain on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time with their family. I've never heard of anyone saying that they wished they had spent more time in the office.