In today’s fast-paced world, it’s increasingly common to lose sight of our priorities and let time slip away, leaving us with a constant feeling of not having enough hours in the day.
Have you ever caught yourself running on autopilot, merely navigating through the motions of everyday life? Meanwhile, the very things you yearn to do, learn, or experience consistently take a backseat, forever waiting to be pursued.
My late-grandmother used to say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper… the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes by,” and it certainly seems the older we get the more that rings true.
I believe that we are all guilty of having a list of things we keep saying we will do someday, but then never actually get around to it.
What’s on your list?
Maybe it is to travel more, learn a new language, run a marathon, start a business or simply spend more time with your loved ones.
If this is the case, then now may be a good time to find a fresh perspective and adopt a new approach to optimizing and prioritizing the things that truly matter in your life.
Recently, I stumbled upon a fascinating concept called “time buckets” while reading Bill Perkins’ book, “Die with Zero: Getting All You Can From Your Money and Your Life”.
As he puts it, time buckets are a proactive way to plan your life, as opposed to something like a “bucket list” that is more of a reactive effort in a sudden race against time.
In short, time buckets provides a framework for organizing and prioritizing the activities, experiences, and relationships based on the seasons of your life.
Just like a bucket contains items that share a common theme, a time bucket groups together activities that align with your goals and values. By allocating your time into distinct buckets, you can gain clarity, focus, and a heightened sense of purpose.
You can also expand the concept a little further and think of how your time buckets may overlap with the time buckets of your friends and family.
To illustrate personally, currently both my wife and I are in our 30s, our daughter is 5 years old, and both sets of our parents are in their 60s. When we zoom out, we see that the next few years are going to be critical for building memories together. The last thing we want to do is to let life run on autopilot so to speak while these precious years slip away.
One example that Perkins’ shares from his book is that when he turned 40, he took the initiative to arrange a heartfelt gathering, bringing together his closest friends and family. Despite the considerable financial burden, he generously covered the expenses for those who couldn’t afford to attend, ensuring that everyone he cherished could be present on that special occasion.
Would it have been wiser to postpone the event until things were more ideal?
In Perkins own words, “I have absolutely no regrets about the insane amount of money I spent on that one week – nor the fact that I didn’t wait until I turned 50 to have the party of a lifetime. In fact, by the time my 50th rolled around, my dad had died, and my mom’s health had, unfortunately, declined substantially.”
By being proactive and intentional, he was able to create that cherished memory that he could relive with his loved ones for years to come, becoming what he calls “memory dividends”, experiences that keep giving in the form of fulfillment from your memories over time.
The framework of time buckets and memory dividends can also apply if you have children.
For example, think about the memories that you want to create with your kids when they are at various ages.
I’m already looking back and cherishing the memories of playing on the floor with our daughter during tummy time when she was just a few months old. Those days have since past.
Currently, I am enjoying teaching her how to swim and appreciating the fact that she wants me to cuddle up and read to her three books every night. I realize that these days will also soon pass.
And as the years go by and she continues to grow up, I want to be able to look back and cherish the memories that we had together during the various seasons of her childhood.
So, if you have children, be sure to take a little time and think about the experiences you want to do with your kids in the next year or two before that time in their lives passes.
Assessing our goals and living with intentionality is a fundamental aspect of time bucket planning. By carefully evaluating our aspirations and values, we can make conscious decisions about how to allocate our time. Instead of drifting through life, we become active participants, shaping our experiences and maximizing our potential.
Investing in challenging activities and acquiring skills that have a lasting impact is another aspect of time bucket planning.
For instance, learning a new language such as ASL (American Sign Language) early in life can have a powerful long lasting impact on the trajectory of your life. That was certainly our experience. Learning ASL in our 20s eventually led us to adopt new careers and to find work that we find fulfilling, enjoyable, and meaningful.
To try out the concept of time buckets for yourself, consider doing these 2 things:
- Design experiences for different life stages: Create opportunities for meaningful connections and memorable experiences by proactively planning trips, parties, or events with friends and loved ones. Don’t wait for traditional milestones to bring people together.
- Optimize the balance between work and personal life: Reflect on your own life and strive to strike a balance between work, leisure, and personal fulfillment. Identify the experiences you want to have in different stages of life and actively make choices that align with your goals and values.
As you consider your own goals and aspirations, think about how you can be intentional in fitting them into your life. Evaluate their significance and the impact they can have.
By incorporating your goals into specific time buckets, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to pursue them actively.
Remember, being intentional with your goals not only adds purpose to your life but also opens up new avenues of growth and fulfillment.
So, as you embrace the concept of time buckets and live with intentionality, make sure to consider the importance of aligning your goals with your time allocation.
By doing so, you can create a life that not only reflects your values but also brings you immense satisfaction and long-term impact.
As we navigate the intricacies of life, the concept of time buckets offers a fresh perspective on how we allocate our most valuable resource: time.
So, let’s live intentionally, forging meaningful connections, pursuing our passions, and creating lives filled with purpose.