When I talk with people about their retirement plans, it seems this is what many of them long for. Unscripted days. No crises to deal with, no unproductive meetings to attend, and no decisions to make or issues to resolve. Their view is that of an ‘endless weekend’ to kick back and enjoy themselves.
But be careful what you wish for! Day after day with no structure will likely lead to boredom, lethargy and a wondering about that age-old question, “Is this all there is?”
Retiring or beginning a phased retirement brings many changes to your daily routine and you’ll likely have your own pent-up list of things you’d like to complete or experience from projects to travel.
While I wouldn’t advise hard-charging into your new free time, I’d suggest that it’s important to establish a structure to your days and weeks that suits your needs and preferences.
People long for unscripted days, but they should neither err on the side of too much aimlessness or too much rigor and structure. It’s important to balance structure with flexibility to allow for spontaneity and enjoyment.
My friend is embracing retirement and with his full calendar chuckles at the term ‘unscripted days.’ He still has his 1-year and 5-year goals with plans in place to achieve them. Importantly, he fills them with his priorities – not his employer’s – which allows him to structure his days in the way he sees fit to make the most out of this chapter.
Some helpful tips to add more structure? Establish a healthy morning routine with exercise or meditation. Schedule activities related to church or hobbies or your family and friends. Prioritize projects or travel excursions and create plans and timelines to address them. Stay connected with former co-workers and others to engage socially and embrace other perspectives.
By structuring your days, you can make the most of this new phase in your life. Scripting your days has benefits – and you can always build in some free time – you’ve earned it and a certain amount of unscripted time is indeed in order.