Monday, February 17, 2014

A Shedule?? In Retirement?? Me??

This week will be my second week of "having a schedule" (kinda sorta) in retirement. Even as I type that phrase, it causes me to shudder, but there it is.

As I mentioned in another post, I have been doing some reading on scheduling and time management in retirement.  This goes completely against type for me. I am, as regular readers know, an "unscheduled" person.  I prefer to move as the mood takes me and have lots of downtime. I am not one of those who at the end of the day ever feels like she did not accomplish enough, even on the lazy days.

So why a schedule? Mainly, because I wanted to be working with my own body clock and energies.  For example, I've been getting up later at eight nor nine, being a non morning person.  Once I got up though, I was doing the same things that many other folks do-just later. That simply was not working for me.  I needed to figure out high energy times and creative times and go from there.  Second, spring and summer are the busiest seasons for me (both in terms of mini business and personal goals).  Third, I wanted more "creative in my head" time and I needed to try and block that out a little bit..

I'm not at all sure that this is a schedule I am meant to keep.They do say that it takes 21 days to make a habit, so my goal is to try and keep to a sort of schedule until I am in the habit of doing some things in a different way (like walking after lunch).  I want to get myself not to just have "down time" but have specific time to create and originate (I don't do well doing this as I type or sew or create-some folks do, I need to to the sketch, if you will, ahead of time). I wanted to get into the habit of walking or doing yoga in the middle of the day, instead of before or after (until the heat of summer). And I still wanted a large block of time to do, well, exactly what I felt like at exactly that time.

To that end..............I have a sort of, very flexible, retirement schedule for when I am "at home". I'm going to give this a month see how it works for me. However, I'm also not going to feel badly if, as happened this morning, I get out of bed at nine and sit in my pjs with my coke and type.  My general philosophy in life is that schedules are made to be broken and this will probably happen often. This schedule also will get put aside fairly often for other reason-for full day volunteer commitments, every other week day trips, regular travel, weekends and on occasion "just because"!

For the rest of the time, that so called experimental schedule looks something like this:

Early morning (for me) is from around eight thirty or so to ten (give or take). This is the time I feed the dogs and let them out to chase squirrels. I eat (I have to eat first thing in the morning).  I move at my own pace, which is slowly, and some time by the end of that period I hopefully have picked up a tiny bit, decided what to do about dinner, and gotten dressed. During this time I do not check email, read the paper, work out or do anything else.  And I never, ever take a shower as soon as I get up. (Somewhere in this tree is the old mangy squirrel that's the size of a small prairie dog-my pet's daily entertainment)

Later on, somewhere around ten or so I migrate to my blue chair by the window (I must, for much of the day be able to see outside). At this point I have my laptop and journal.  While my energy level is not high, my creative juices are. This is the time when I do my "computer stuff"-check emails, read blogs, do money saving and some money making activities, write an article perhaps. I may work on my online class. It is also  the time I write and plan. I may make a list of articles, design a quilt. I have not looked at email or such prior to this.

Lunchtime is when I schedule some of that "down time".  In between somewhere around twelve and one or one thirty I eat lunch and either take a twenty minute walk or do fifteen minutes of seated yoga. That's it. The rest of that hour to hour and a half I may sit on he patio, play with the dogs, read my newest book, or even take an hour nap (or more). Some days that down time will lengthen and lasts for an extra hour.

Sometime around one or one thirty (you're seeing how flexible this so called schedule is, right?) I begin what I call "project time".  This is the time of day that I actually have the highest energy-which is why although I joke about naps at lunch that time is more likely spent reading and day dreaming than actually sleeping. Between now and  five is when I "do" the many things I do.What that is is not written down, and depends upon me, my mood, the weather and a great many things. One afternoon a week is spent out of the house at a book club, quilting group, bible study or knitting group.  

What do I do during this important block of unscheduled time-well, that's why they call it unscheduled-because I have no idea. That said, this week I will probably:  finish a baby quilt and the table topper and coaster set shown.  I have an infinity scarf about finished and would like to finish it. I want to go to a matinee and eat popcorn and plain m and ms together (my version of snack mix). I'd like to get one wall of my room painted. I have a college to acrylic painting I'm working on. I just downloaded three books to kindle. I have to plan my craft fair display table and background.

The rest of my day is not on my new schedule, unless i have an appointment. Most days, this next time period is driven by pets, family and the necessities of life-dinner gets serious work, the dogs get walked, I watch the nightly news and Jeopardy, we eat, we clean up.

After dinner time?  Well that changes with the seasons and other things. At this time of the year, after dinner evening time includes reading, knitting or writing while watching the Olympics/college basketball/all the new winter dramas on TV or a movie. As the weather warms and the evening gets lighter, that changes to walking around the neighborhood and visiting, working in the yard, and being more active. 

There you have it-the tentative schedule of the unscheduled.  Will I keep to it?  Who knows.  Do I even want to?  Who knows. I do know that by slowing down the first part of my day, and allowing more free and creative time, things are working much better-at least for now.

And so it goes in retirement..........


  1. Being brand new at this retirement thing I am allowing myself to be completely unscheduled and to see where my "energy surges" are.. I am an early morning person, I think I am wasting my energy on emails and internet first thing in the morning--will move that activity to me slower afternoon time when sitting on the couch with a computer makes more sense.

    i love to cook,often putter in the kitchen early in the day. I mosey into my craft room around lunch time.. and often spend an hour or so making cards and collages.. my husband and I are hikers, this morning we will do a new trail he found, maybe from 10-12 then home for lunch.

    The JOY of retirement is NO SCHEDULE but like you, I am wanting to find the best ties of day to use my energies for various activities.I like lots of donw time also-- I love to read and spend a couple of hours every day with a book.. either on my kindle or a real book.LIBRARY TIME is a fun activitiy I enjoy a lot..

    Thanks for sharing! post some pics of your quilts! I'm jealous--I am very unskilled when it comes to needle or thread...

  2. I'm not at all sure this schedule will "last", but if I get a few changes into the routine I will be happy. Today for example, I got up at nine, and at nine thirty am sitting in jammies typing,....having done absoluely nothing.

  3. Barb,
    My husband and I have been retired for almost 8 years now, and while there has never been a real "schedule," our days do have structure. I need that in order to have a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day. Down time is also a necessity, and without it I tend to loose my way. My mantra has and always will be "Balance."

    Thanks for sharing how you approach your retirement days.

  4. Since I started back to work part time at the church my schedule has suffered somewhat. I am hoping to be able to get back on my type of schedule soon. I would love one like yours....Something to work towards.

    God bless.


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