Are you making each day count — strategies to ensure you keep growing

We say we waste time, but that is impossible.  We waste ourselves.

Alice Bloch quote

Last weekend I attended a retirement event in honour of the career of a former colleague.  It was a great chance to re-connect with people who I had known during my career.  The reception provided opportunities to catch up with post retirement stories from many retired folks.  In several conversations I heard the comment “I’m so busy;  I don’t know how ever I had time to work”  Many people confessed that they did not see grand kids as often as they planned and that they had not begun their planned projects as they had “no time”.  Others talked happily of trips they had taken and new lifestyles they had created with the freedom of retirement.

It was sad to hear people say that they were unable to move ahead with personal priorities or retirement plans.  As I listened to their stories I realized that it is just as important to stay focused on your life priorities during retirement as it was to stay focused on career priorities while in the work force.  With no job demands it is easy to goof off and forget to take advantage of every day.  It is easy to waste this precious retirement time.

Strategies for Avoiding Time Wasters

None of us want  every minute of every day scheduled but it is important to become aware of time or you won’t notice the days passing nor will you notice how you are spending precious retirement time.

  1. Align your days and weeks with your personal priorities.  Rather than allowing time to simply pass, try to set a few priorities for each day/week.  Some of these will be the inevitable ‘little jobs’ that we must all do.  Keeping an eye on those bigger priorities and regularly setting aside some time to move toward bigger life goals with help to keep your retired lifestyle on track.
  2. Switch off the TV and watch how much time you spend on the internet.   It is easy to let that screen in the corner dominate your day.  It is also easy to sit in front of the computer reading only slightly useful information.  I have never been a TV person but I know that TV can consume hours of time for many people who love their regular ‘shows’.  I confess to spending too much time in front of my computer screen when I want to avoid other tasks.  Instead of screen time, why not try learning new skill or contacting a friend, or reading those books you have stacked up on the bedside table?
  3. Stop spending time with people you don’t like.  In my professional life, I had a opportunities to connect with large network of people — most of these were relationships that I treasured.  I sometimes had to spend time with people whose company I did not particularly enjoy.  In retirement, I have choices.  I don’t have to see people who drain my psychic resources or who use our relationship for their own purposes.  For true friends, I always make time — and hopefully these people will always make time for me.
  4. Link with like-minded individuals.  As you start doing the things for which you had no time during the career days, you will meet new people.  I have been fortunate to find a book club with many fascinating women who are involved in interesting life projects — such as writing novels and memoirs — as part of their own retirement priorities.  These people are wonderful role models and they continue to encourage my humble blogging efforts.
  5. Don’t attend events or activities that are not rewarding.  Saying ‘no’ becomes easier as you get older — especially when you recognize that you will never recapture the time you spent going to a movie you didn’t want to see or attending a meaningless meeting or eating another catered rubber chicken dinner in honour of one thing or another.  I’m learning to assess whether invitations fit with my own priorities before I agree to attend.   Solitude is  preferable  to wasting time at a function of no interest to me.
Realizing that life is not a dress rehearsal often comes too late.   There is no re-play button for the afternoon that you used ineffectively.  You cannot re-capture wasted days or evenings.  When today is gone, it’s gone forever.  Proactively using the hours of each day  to move toward achieving personal life goals will help you describe your retirement in terms of fulfilling your dream and not just spending your time.
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2 Replies to “Are you making each day count — strategies to ensure you keep growing”

  1. Pensioners are so busy because they have the time and money to do so. I’ve come to the conclusion that, because people live much longer than they used to, most of us retire too early in life. The retirement age should be adjusted to modern conditions for people entering the job market. Perhaps age seventy would be a good start, going up by a year every five or ten years perhaps, because medicine and healthy living should retard the ageing process even further.

    1. I agree that we are busy because we have time and money. I’m not so sure that changing the retirement age is something that I endorse. It is such a wonderful gift to have this ‘third age’ when we can seek new horizons. Enjoy your weekend! Jeanette

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