For many people, retirement is a chance to finally do things they have always wanted to do but had to postpone before they have the freedom of retirement. You might have a vision of the ultimate retirement lifestyle of getting up at any time, no alarm clock, no morning rush, and no daily schedules, just relax and enjoy your day.
But with no direction or discipline, you will soon find out that your days and weeks will pass without doing what is meaningful. The next thing you know a few months have passed and you have no idea where the time went and what you did with your time.
A successful retirement lifestyle should consist of a mix of activities that provide physical activity, mental stimulation, and socializing with others.
If you add to this mix the household chores such as cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, and house maintenance your retirement life might look overloaded again. That is why you will need some form of a time management system to arrange these activities and find time for it all.
Here are a few important tips to help you organize your time in retirement.
Make a Schedule
Sit back, relax, and do nothing all day is still a dream of many future retirees.
Just remember that if you sit around watching TV or surfing the internet for a few months, your health and fitness level will deteriorate quickly.
This is why starting retirement with no plan or schedule could hurt you in a long run. There is no better way to plan for retirement than to have a good understanding of how you will spend your days and weeks.
Time management in retirement does not mean blocking every minute of your day. It is more about establishing goals and priorities and then making sure that you accomplish what you set out to do.
- First, organize your activities and household chores on a daily or weekly basis.
- Second, use an online calendar or a planner to keep track of your activities and tasks. Many people will have a list of things (a bucket list) they want to accomplish once they stop working. It is a good idea to spread them out over some time, rather than trying to conquer everything at once.
- Lastly, make a list and set reasonable and manageable goals of when you want to have items completed. It might be helpful to divide them into categories such as this week, this month, and this year.
Find your rhythm
It can be hard to structure days in your early days of retirement. After decades of working and having your days structured from morning to evening, it is easy to get overwhelmed with so much free time on your hands.
To establish your rhythm, start your day with purpose and write down two or three things you want to get done that day.
Here is an example of a few activities to keep on your calendar:
- Cleaning the house
- Preparing a meal
- Working in a garden
- Meeting up with friends
- Writing in your journal
- Reading a book
- Going to the gym/ taking yoga class/ working out
1. Establish your morning routine.
Your morning routine looked the same for the last 40+ years – you would wake up, do some personal hygiene, get dressed, have breakfast (or not) and go to work. Once you are retired, you need to reinvent that part of the day.
There is so much proof behind why your morning routine is important.
Your morning routine sets the tone for the day. A good routine gets you on track from the moment you wake up and puts you in the right frame of mind. If you get following a healthy routine every morning you will get a lot of optimistic energy moving around you.
Morning routine examples:
- Wake up
- Breathing exercise
- Have a healthy breakfast
- Enjoy a gourmet cup of coffee or tea
- Listen to a good music
- Read a book
- Write your thoughts in a journal.
2. Makes your evenings purposeful.
Evenings could be the most difficult part of the day.
People usually start feeling tired from their daily chores and responsibilities. That is why it is important to make your evenings purposeful. With no discipline or direction, you will discover that you spend most of your evenings on a couch watching Netflix.
You should simply write down a few things you are going to do every evening. For example, if you like to read or write, you can schedule a daily reading or writing in your journal time from 7 to 8 pm every day. I like to cook, so I can schedule preparing a meal from 6 to 7 pm every day.
There are so many other options:
- Work in a garden
- Water your flowers
- Take a daily evening walk after dinner
- Meet with a friend
- Listen to a podcast
- Sit outside to watch a sunset
It is also okay to do nothing and watch TV. But you are better off spending your evenings outdoors than indoors because it will give you more energy and motivation for new things.
3. Combine structured activities with free time.
If the idea of maintaining a daily schedule does not appeal to you, you can establish a less time-based approach.
Start your mornings by writing down two or three things you want to get done that day. Then, once you have done those two or three chores, you can spend the rest of the day doing whatever you want.
You will probably end up with a mix of structured activities, free time to spend however you like, and to-do lists.
4. Limit your time watching TV.
Just do your best to limit time mindlessly watching TV or browsing the internet.
Decide how much time you will allow to do passive activities and do your best to stick to it. For example, you might allow yourself only 30-minutes every morning and every evening to check emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media channels.
Add something new to your life
Retirement is the ultimate time of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Most of us spend our lives dedicated to duty – building a career, raising a family, and taking care of grandchildren or parents. And unfortunately, we often put our dreams on a shelf.
But retirement is a perfect time to explore something new.
Go back to school. There are so many educational classes, both in-person and online that can help you grow your mind, meet new people, and stay relevant to the modern world.
Public universities often offer special tuition discounts for seniors. If you are not interested in getting a degree, try taking classes at a local community college. Choose a subject that you have always wanted to learn more about.
But if you want to gain more knowledge for free and from the comfort of your home, I recommend listening to podcasts on a topic you want to learn more about or even watching something on YouTube.
Engage yourself in new culture and language. Traveling is one of the most popular ways to do this. It can teach you the new and insightful things and open windows to diverse experiences.
Spend time on your hobbies and interests. Fill up your time with what makes you happy. Think of the activities you would do all day long and use your time in retirement to enjoy those activities.
If you do not have any hobbies or interests you are passionate about, try picking a new one from the list below.
Here is a list of interests and hobbies to help you think about new possibilities for retirement:
- Design and remodeling
- Cooking/ baking
- Decorating and DIY projects
- Painting/ reading
- Playing musical instruments
- Singing/ acting
- Pet care/ animals
- Teaching/ mentoring
- Traveling/ learning a new language
- Sports/ fitness
- Learning new technology
Learn how to slow down
It is important to establish a healthy balance between work and relaxation.
Once you stop working you do not need to follow your working schedule and pack your days with tasks to the brim. Being constantly busy does not mean achieving any sense of fulfillment. You do not have to be busy every minute of the day. Stop putting pressure on yourself and learn how to slow down.
I know that for some of us it is hard to relax. You might not need to set a schedule for everyday tasks. Instead, just finish a few chores when you are ready and take the rest of the day off. Be flexible and allow yourself to move activities and tasks from today’s list to tomorrow or next week. In the end, it will all get done.
The main thing to remember is that you can be more productive and energetic when you are physically and mentally fresh. So set aside enough time in your schedule for rest.
- Get sufficient sleep at night.
- Take breaks between tasks, especially when you are doing physical work.
- When working in front of your computer, take 5 to 10 minutes breaks to stretch and move around.
- Set a timer on your phone or computer to alert you when you have been online longer than a specific time. Then, shut it down.
How do you organize your time in retirement? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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