Managing Your Time - Do You Schedule or Go With the Flow? by Bob Lowry
Time management during retirement is an important topic. For some of us, we like to go with the flow. Our day evolves with minimal pre-planning. What fits our mood or suddenly becomes available is what is do. Certainly, the basics happen on a regular schedule. But, overall, our daily calendar is a minimalist's dream.
Others would find that approach bothersome. Time is a priceless resource. We don't schedule every minute of the day, but we have certain activities and goals that make the grade. Letting things simply unwind would never cross our mind.
I am an interesting (some might say, odd) mix of the two. After 17 years of retirement, I have tried all sorts of approaches to my day. My natural tendency is to schedule everything: alarms that tell me when to take pills, when to go on a walk, when to water the pots, write a blog post, food shop, Even nap times have been determined ahead of time.
I tried the unscheduled, "what will be will be," approach. Except for a doctor, barber, or repair people visits, I woke free of anything specific to accomplish that day. Not surprisingly, that was a bust. It drove me crazy. I'd realize it was late afternoon and I hadn't done anything "productive."
Now, I am four weeks into an experiment that is an attempt to blend the two. Since my energy and productivity are highest before lunch I do things that require functioning brain cells or energy: writing a blog post, working on my next book, or food shopping with Betty. I don't schedule specific times, just certain activities.
The time from lunch to dinner is for things that require less of me: reading, working on a hobby, yard work, Twitter promotion. This is also when I give myself an energy kick in the butt by going to the gym or bike-riding. Again, I don't set a timer, rather just hope to accomplish each by dinner (notice how everything is determined by when I eat!)
After dinner, I leave free for some time watching Netflix shows with Betty, more reading, listening to music, and time with a different hobby. Occasionally we have a concert, play or other activity that requires leaving home.
So far, so good. I don't feel either over or under scheduled. I don't feel "unproductive" or wasteful of my time. I do think it makes sense to match my energy level with what I do and when I do it.
What about you? Are you a believer in scheduling your day, knowing that once gone, time is gone? Or, did you leave that approach back at work when you walked out the door? Now, each day is a buffet; you will choose what is best for that day and your mood?
I am a month into my latest attempt to make the best of use of my satisfying retirement - not too late to take a great idea from you and give it a try.
By Bob Lowry