Commentary

July 26, 2013

The Bucket List: Part 2

Lt. Col. Susan Dickson
189th Airlift Wing

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — It seems that everyone has a Bucket List these days. You know, the list of all the things you dream of doing before you die or “kick the bucket.”

There are websites and books dedicated solely to help you formulate the perfect list. Maybe you want to swim with dolphins or stand on the equator. Some folks want to see the pyramids or visit Stonehenge.

Other dreams are a bit simpler – get a tattoo, learn CPR, go to a Hog’s game. It doesn’t really matter what’s on your list. The point is you don’t want to leave this Earth without doing a few amazing things. So how do you ensure that doesn’t happen? You make a plan. You make your Bucket List.

But here’s a catch. According to the latest American Time Use Survey (conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average American spends 8.8 hours per weekday at work. That’s 44 hours a week. Two thousand two hundred and eighty eight hours a year.

Consider our profession, and I would venture the number is even higher. Compare that with the 2.5 hours per day we spend on “leisure and sports,” and an important question rises to the surface. Why don’t we spend more time planning for the biggest slice of the pie chart? Why don’t we have a Bucket List for our professional lives?

I think we all know that life can pass us by if we don’t make plans – that’s the whole idea of the Bucket List. Don’t let your professional life pass by either. Start your plan now. Make your Bucket List – Part 2. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Choose a mentor. Don’t wait around to be mentored. Think long and hard about who you want to be professionally. Find that person who emulates the skills and leadership style you want and ask for their advice and guidance. Then turn around and do it to somebody else – see #2.
  2. Take time with a younger troop. Life is busy. Work is busy. Try your hardest to never be too busy. Dedicate time to spend with your subordinates or co-workers. Believe it or not, you have something valuable to pass on.
  3. Give back. Make a plan to start or continue your charitable giving. The Combined Federal Campaign and Air Force Assistance Fund are a great place to start. Maybe you’d rather give time than money. Look out your window – volunteer with youth, coach a team, or join a professional group.
  4. Focus on fitness. There’s no time like the present. Make a goal to better your last score by 5 points. Shoot to max out one event. If you’re already a fitness guru, share your gift with coworkers – run with them, challenge them, support them.
  5. Prioritize PME and school. As painful as it can be, be proactive. Seek out in-residence slots. Know when you’re eligible. Know your deadlines. Be the master of your education and be ready when an opportunity presents itself.

We all need a Bucket List for our professional lives. A well thought out, organized approach to your career just makes sense. We all know that you’ll never reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going. So make travel plans to visit Stonehenge, but log on to Virtual MPF as well. Think about it. I’d hate for your 44 hours to pass you by.




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