As you grow older, it becomes more important than ever to use time to get what you want out of life. Time has value that diminishes with every day. Time wasted in useless or unsatisfying activity can never be recaptured.
Unlike the world economy, politics, the stock market, or health, how time is spent is something over which there is control.
Through 2015, I’ve been struggling to manage a time-crunched lifestyle. Earlier in the year, I decided to use the ‘rule of 2’ to deal with a schedule of activities that was overwhelming and unsatisfactory.
The ‘rule of 2’ meant that I would not participate in more than two activities outside of the house on any day. I decided to count gym time as one activity which meant that on days when I spent the morning at the gym, I would schedule only one other activity — either in the afternoon or the evening.
I did this because I had so little free time. Commitments were limiting my retirement happiness. It felt like the same vicious treadmill experienced during career days. I looked through my schedule and resigned from boards and committees. I learned to say ‘no’. I set limits on my time.
The ‘rule of 2’ was to allow more time for writing my blog, for hobbies, for hanging out with my husband or my grand-daughter, and, for just goofing off.
In response to a good suggestion from a reader of this blog, I also evaluated the commitments of every week and tried to limit these to a certain number in the week. The reader, suggested a total of five or six commitments each week. I haven’t achieved that number but I do try to have at least one day with no scheduled activity.
Getting what I want — Next Steps
Although I’ve made good progress with the ‘rule of 2’, I continue to struggle with effective use of time. I’ve realized that limiting the number of daily and weekly activities is simply the first step in using time effectively.
My next challenge is to streamline daily routines. I have slipped into a comfortable set of retirement routines that need assessment and tweaking. There’s a recent post on this topic. http://postworksavvy/Daily Routines After Retirement/
I’ve been observing which routines bring satisfaction and what I might do to streamline the things I spend time doing. For example, how much research needs to happen before I begin writing a blog post? It’s too easy to spend hours reading background information on a topic for a post without writing a word. This cuts down the time available for the creative aspect of writing.
I’m taking a hard look at morning routines of drinking my coffee while writing my journal and playing with the cats. I know that my brain is sharpest early in the morning and I also know that most serious writers begin the day with creative writing time — no emails and no internet research. Notifications get turned off to minimize distractions and multi-tasking is avoided.
I can tweak morning routines to incorporate writing my blog posts while drinking my coffee. Too often my relaxed morning routines extend for one or two hours, thus making the rest of the day a big rush. The cats don’t mind hanging out in the computer room as long as they get head nuzzles and attention. I can limit the time spent on journal writing or leave the journal for later in the day.
Another routine that I’m adopting is calendaring daily activities with definite time slots. If I plan to play the piano or engage in some other hobby, I will schedule it along with an estimate of the time that I’m allotting to the activity.
I’ll also estimate time needed to complete routine household tasks that are easy to avoid. Time allocation was a successful routine during career days when I had to juggle errands and household tasks with long hours spent at the office or traveling.
We know that habits come from routines. Results are produced that affect happiness. I’m making these changes to get more satisfaction from retirement. By further streamlining how time is spent, my retirement pleasure should increase and I’ll be getting what I want from life.
I’m interested in how readers spend their retirement days. Is time management a problem for others? Please let me know your strategies for getting what you want out of life!
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