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You Can't Water a Garden With an Empty Bucket

‘You can’t water a garden with an empty bucket’. What does this mean to you? Read on to learn the 5 questions to ask yourself so you know how to fill up your bucket.

Self Care for Women

Women who are around me hear me say this all the time – ‘You can’t water a garden with an empty bucket’. What does this mean to you? I use it as an illustration to get the point across that women are taking care of work and everyone else and fitting themselves into the little, tiny cracks of time that are leftover – if there are any. So how lush and gorgeous is the garden that gets watered with an empty bucket? Not! How well can you take care of the important people and tasks in your life when your energy bucket is bone dry? Not well, at least not for long. When you are considering your own energy bucket it’s important to know what fills it up and what depletes it. Read on to learn the 5 questions to ask yourself so you know how to fill up your bucket.

1. What brings you joy? How much of what you do during your day brings you joy? How often do you purposely add joy to your life? For some, work is joy, but for most it’s far from it. Make a list of what it is that brings you joy – a child’s smile, dancing, coffee with friends, sex. Keep it handy, so if you get really overwhelmed you can have a quick reminder. Joy puts energy in our bucket.

2. What’s your natural energy level? For a woman who is more active in her energy, having a lot of quiet down time may actually deplete her bucket. If you think of it like a spectrum, with naturally low energy as a 1 and naturally high energy as a 10, where do you see yourself? Answer this question as you truly are not how you want to be.

3. What is your current pace? Now that you know your natural energy level, evaluate the pace of your current energy output. Use the same 1 to 10 scale. Are you a natural energy 4 going at the pace of a 9? Or are you a natural energy 9, going at the pace of a 4? Work on getting your pace oriented towards your natural level of energy. We talk a lot about women being way to busy in our world (which is true), but you can also get too bored. Neither extremes put energy in your bucket.

4. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does being around people energize you or deplete you? If it energizes you then you essentially are an extrovert. Extroverts fill their bucket by being around people. Introverts generally recharge by being alone or with one other person. So, if you’re an introverted women who works with a lot of people all day, getting some serious alone time will help to fill your bucket.

5. How are you maintaining your machine? Not your car, your computer, or even your IPod – but, your body! Your body is a big part of your bucket and it needs proper care and feeding in order to do its best job. It’s amazing to me how many women I work with who don’t eat breakfast. And, who don’t drink water during the day because they don’t want to take the time to go to the bathroom. What about sleep? Getting enough? Probably not. These are the basics. You can get 100 pedicures to take care of yourself, but if you’re constantly dehydrated and your brain isn’t getting proper nutrition, then life is still going to seem hard. Make a true assessment of how you’re doing in the care and feeding of your body.

Everyone’s bucket is different, which is why I’m giving you questions to ask yourself rather than the top 5 ways to fill your bucket. However, if you’d like some more specifics or new ideas on how to get energy flowing into your bucket, then check in at my blogArticle Search, http// where I’ll be regularly posting some very specific bucket filling ideas.

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© 2005 Catherine A. Bruns. This article may be reprinted in full with the following attached: Life Coach Catherine Bruns coaches women to success in their personal and professional goals. For more information visit

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