Curley’s New Year’s Resolution advice: Fill up your third bucket
My dad has this thing called the three bucket theory. I don’t know if he made it up or not, but this is how it goes.
You’ve got three buckets and 24 hours in a day. You should fill the buckets with eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work and then eight hours of something else. That third bucket, that’s the one you need to fill with hobbies and interests outside of sleeping and working. You know, sailing or woodworking or dog grooming – my knowledge of this stuff is limited. Think of the theory like the Pennsylvanian’s version of Henry David Thoreau’s aphorism: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them.”
If you have disproportionately too many hours in the middle tub, you end up having an empty, or near-empty bucket somewhere else. Then, when you “retire,” you turn to the third bucket and ask, ‘Well, what am I interested in?’ Too often the answer is “nothing,” because you have filled the middle bucket with nothing but work. That’s why the 8-8-8 gives you a balanced life and will help you find work more rewarding.
My third bucket? I don’t have one. In fact, I sold that third bucket and took the extra money I made so I could have a bigger middle bucket. Between the radio stuff and my auctioneering gig, I work 70 or 80 hours a week. This is why my list of hypothetical hobby ideas ends at dog grooming.
My advice: if your job bucket is not satisfying, you’d better get a nice sturdy third bucket and fill it with something else. That’s what I’m trying to work on in 2017.
Then again, I just read about how the Russians invented the idea of retirement as a way to get old people out and new blood in, even though most studies nowadays show that if you retire too early or retire at all, you’ll end up dying.
So, my revised advice: Keep hammering away, nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, all the way through until finally you pass away on the job. And then later retire.
That way, you’ll end up yelling at co-workers for not filling up the copier.