Are you keeping an eye on your bucket?

Bucket No….not that bucket!

Many of us are burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.  Our companies have been “right-sized” which is a nice way of saying — same amount of work, fewer people to do it.

We’re trying to keep up on the trends and changes in our industry, use social media to create a personal brand (and grow our companies) and stay connected to our customers.

Then, there’s that little thing called new business.  We’re all trying to hold and grow our market share, our market presence and build the brand.

Oh right…don’t forget about the charity boards, volunteering at our kid’s school and just managing our personal lives.

And we’re on call 24/7.  Our devices makes sure of that.

Whew!  No wonder we feel like we’re running on empty much of the time.

So here’s my question for you.  How do you re-fill your bucket?  How do you make sure you have enough in the tank to keep going?  How do you stay physically, mentally and emotionally replenished?

Here are some of the things that work for me, but I’m looking forward to hearing your tips and tricks.

I serve others:  Part of the reason I volunteer my time and share my talents is because it fills me up to know that I am using my gifts the way I believe God wants me to — in service of others.  I only volunteer and sit on boards for organizations that I genuinely believe in — and care deeply about.  That way, I can take immense pride in the work they ultimately do and my small role in it.

I have professional support squads:  I learned a long time ago that I needed to bond and hang with other business owners who understood my worries, pains and joys.  Through the years, I have either created or joined a small handful of groups that serve as my sounding board, my safe place to vent and my think tank.

But…perhaps most of all — they are some of my biggest cheerleaders.  They believe in me and my abilities and when I am feeling like I can’t quite cross the finish line — their encouragement helps me push through.

I’m a dad:  First and foremost — at the core of my being, I am my daughter’s dad.  Having declared her as my absolute priority helps me find balance and give me permission to never miss a play, or pick her up after school and hang with her rather than schedule yet one more meeting that day.

I travel:  My job affords me the opportunity to get on a plane and go somewhere at least once a month.  I know for some people, traveling is a huge hassle but I like it. I’m rarely gone for more than 3 days — but in those few days, I am gloriously alone.  It is more than a rare treat.  It is absolutely replenishing.

I create an oasis where I can: I know I’m not going to get big blocks of “me” time.  I’m not going to sit and watch an entire baseball game without multi-tasking or just do nothing for a couple hours.  My life isn’t structured that way.

So I take little mini-breaks where I can get them.  Music is healing for me, so I will often turn off my phone’s ringer, really crank up my car stereo and just let the music fill me.  I’ll take the dog for a walk just to breathe in the fresh air and get some think time in.  Or I’ll watch some ridiculous show on VH1 to laugh with my daughter.

It’s hardly perfect.  And it’s probably not enough.  But those are some of the ways I stay sane and re-fuel myself so I can keep at it.  How about you — how do you make sure that your bucket is full?

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13 comments on “Are you keeping an eye on your bucket?

  1. Karin H says:

    Hi Drew

    (It seems some find your post/blog a way to fill their bucket ;-))

    Mini breaks – yeap, pondering freely about what has happened during the day (which often turn into a bit of day-dreaming, letting thought flow anywhere they want to go), what could happen today etc. Music in the background to “keep the focus”.

    But mostly – and I’m aware I’m rather fortunate in this – doing what I like to do, what I know I can do best and trying to learn more (when/where possible from others). Little steps of success (even if only I see them) refills as much as the loudest applause from others.

    And then when you read a book (reading Drive by Daniel H. Pink at the moment) that kind of phrases almost exactly what you kind of knew all along, spurs you on again to learn and implement even more 😉

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. spa nyc says:

    Unfortunatly not enough , but constant exersice is also a key to keep yourself sane , I would say jogging makes me relaxed ,no vacation time yet though

  3. Drew,
    I do centering prayer each morning as part of my exercise and prayer time. That fills my bucket up or helps me be present when my bucket is not full.

  4. Alone time is so important. It’s a great idea to spend an hour a day with no phone, no computer, and no noise. An hour doesn’t seem long, but most people today find it very difficult to do, as we are overwhelmed with stimulus at every turn.

    Service is great too. Nothing is more fulfilling than feeling like you made a difference for the better in some way.

  5. Tracy says:

    I try to make sure I sit down to have a decent breakfast every morning, before work. It’s usually not a full meal, just something healthy and flavorful. I find that actually sitting to eat, rather than eating on the run or in the car, allows me to slowly “rev up” the body and mind before charging into the day.

  6. John Gillett says:

    All excellent ways to fill the bucket…I’d like to add music to the list…playing or listening to music not only soothes the savages, it lets an overworked brain wander in a fresh environment.

    Even 5 minutes of the right music can charge me up for hours.

  7. John says:

    Yes, many people don’t keep an eye on their bucket – we tend to schedule the least amount of time for ourselves. Looking after yourself should be a priority, I like your tips here. If we were a little more selfish every now and then we would have more to offer others.

  8. All excellent suggestions — thank you.

    Wouldn’t you think it was intuitive for us to be sure we kept our buckets full — so we could accomplish more? Why do you suppose so many of us struggle with maintaining an effort like this?


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  10. Maxiosearch says:

    Great article!

    My idea is, keep both phisically and mentally healthy or you will not be able to fill your pocket neither pay your bills. Relax from time to time. Keep a good time management strategy and a working system that let you achieve your goals on budget. Delegate tasks (essential), you can’t do everything!

  11. “You can’t do everything.”

    Amen to that! And yet, we try and try and try. Few learn this lesson. How did finally learn and adopt it into your work/life?


  12. Jake says:

    Yup, that’s how our life is.

    But I have one rule when comes to doing a lot things. I prioritize relationships more than anything else.

    Next is my “relaxation-time” is non-negotiable. If I schedule a trip with my families, it will never be postponed unless a tsunami hits the office or the pope calls me for a important meeting.

    Leave time for myself to think. This I think is the most important replenishment I need. In this time for myself I communicate to myself and most specially to God and make plans for the future.

    Very Good topic Drew.

    By the way, can you maybe share in your future post something about how company culture affects a business.



  13. Great post!

    Really interesting! as a parent it is always difficult to get the right balance between your work life and home life! its important to get it right!

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