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How to Create and Manage Your “Bucket List” Before You Kick

How to Create and Manage Your “Bucket List” Before You Kick
Create and Manage Your Bucket List

There’s a new movie out promoting the idea that we should all be jumping out of airplanes, eating caviar and visiting the Wonders of the World before we finally croak. But is preparing a bucket list full of cliché items the right thing to do? Is it productive?

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star in The Bucket List. It’s a hilarious flick about two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. The movie is generating all sorts of interest among the millions of people who have dream lists. Bucket List items include all the usual things that one would expect to find in a Hollywood dream list: skydiving, driving fast cars, indulging expensive tastes. It includes visiting the usually considered ultimate travel destinations like the Great Wall, Great Pyramids, Taj Mahal, etc.

The movie’s premise may resonate with many, but it is a flawed one unless the “bucket list” is created and managed in a way that reflects our individual true passions, interests and desires.

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If you are going after the bucket list items, but going through long arduous processes to get to the items, than what the heck are you doing? What’s the point? Isn’t that like playing golf in the rain where you are walking around 99% of the time getting soaked and only 1% of the time swinging at the ball? Wouldn’t it be better to golf on sunny days and find other things to do on rainy days? Wouldn’t that make the whole golfing experience a better one? This is similar to people who hate their jobs but continue in them anyway, while always looking forward to weekends and the occasional holiday. How do they justify it? Are you among them?

A bucket should not be full of impulsive stuff that we pick up as we go along through life. It shouldn’t be like grabbing a chocolate bar off the display rack. Nor should it be filled with stuff that other people talk and dream about unless it truly resonates with your aspirations. Chasing other people’s dreams would be like having a hole in your bucket.

The most satisfying things to go into the bucket for most of us are those that are part of a larger context. For example, visiting the Great Wall as part of supporting a family member or friend competing in this upcoming summer Olympics in Beijing would likely be a more meaningful experience than buying a package Great Wall tour from a travel agent. Developing that larger context or framework is something that can and should take careful and thoughtful consideration. It often takes hard thought and hard work to develop.

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Here are our suggestions for creating and managing your Bucket List:

1. Make sure you get satisfaction and joy from your day to day stuff. Don’t suffer the 99% to get to the 1% you enjoy. Make the whole experience an enjoyable one.

2. Don’t buy into your ideas and turn them into goals right away. Mull them over. If you weigh them carefully, you’ll probably find you can improve, replace or cancel them while enhancing your overall life experience.

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3. Make a plan and enjoy the process. Planning is not optional. It is a generally accepted as being a requirement by most of the experts in the field of setting and achieving goals.

4. Review list items often to make sure you still want to do it. The bucket list should be open ended. Maintain enough flexibility that you don’t become a slave to your own list. Make sure you keep working on adding new items while completing others.

5. Find ways to make each goal more meaningful. Include dimensions of quality within the items on your list. If you involve like minded people in group activities, you’ll likely get much more from the experience than if you don’t. For solitary pursuits, take steps to ensure you get the most from the experience.

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6. Document and share your goals for added enjoyment. If life is worth living, it ought to be worth writing about so commit some of these planning steps to writing. Writing the stuff down is a proven technique for turning goals into reality. Sharing them with others helps to cement your commitment to the goals and to bring others into the process. Don’t involve pessimists or nay-sayers in the process.

7. Don’t get obsessed with big “retail” goals. You are not required to share your secret fetish goals, or any goals for that matter, with others if you don’t want to. One strategy is to identify public and private goals and only share the public ones. Keep quiet about the private ones. Financial goals are often ones that are wise to keep private. But do celebrate your private accomplishments as you would your public ones. Don’t worry about it if they aren’t big or flashy.

8. Ensure your goals are consistent with who you are. Or reshape them to suit your style and preferences. For example, introverts and extroverts alike can enjoy a certain travel destination like say the Eiffel Tower, yet experience it quite differently.

The bottom line here is that you should find meaning and happiness in everything you do. Don’t get hung up on trying to compete with Nicholson and Freeman to get through their Hollywood list before the bucket tips.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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