Did I really want to be traveling eight months out of the year? Would I be happy doing more? Were there things that I could eliminate from my schedule in order to fit in things that were more valuable? As part of this process I made a sample non travel schedule. I also made a list of those things (necessary and by choice) that I wanted to put into that daily schedule.
While I won't share all the schedule with you all in this post(except to say that my day rarely starts till eight thirty or nine), I will tell you this. My priority plan includes unscheduled "down time" every day-some days a half an hour and some days as much as two full hours. This is not reading time, or meet with friends time. It's time that I purposely leave unscheduled. (this is never TV time-I only watch TV at night-even during the Olympics).
What do I do with that time? It depends. Some days I daydream, looking out my window. Some days I nap. Some days I read. Lots of days, other activities break over into that time, and I allow it. Some days I write in my journal (not for the blog, but for me). In the warm weather, I am liable to be on the patio with my feet up and eyes clothes. This is, in it's truest sense, down time or do nothing time.
Some folks prefer to schedule their time. I suspect that those do so may well get more "accomplished" on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I also expect that I may never get all those things on my list accomplished. This is okay with me. I realize that time is finite and that there are experiences to, well-experience.
Here's the thing though. Life doesn't have to be lived at a high energy pace to be lived either fully or fruitfully. In fact, living life in the "now" and stopping to smell the roses (literally) is enriching. Almost every creative idea I have ever had, be it for an article, a creative project, a travel thought, a new baking recipe, or even a new income stream, has come during those "mindless moments".
Don't misunderstand. My days are full, and on some days that down time will be taken over by a projects I simply cannot put down. But on most days, I guard that time. I take my hot chocolate and sit by the window with nothing but a pen and paper, and watch the neighbors, the weather and even the window. I retreat to a chair on the back patio, put my head back and listen-to the neighbor dogs, the wisps of conversations a few patios down, the squirrel in the tree and the circular weather vane on the patio. Sometimes my journal and pen, sometimes a book, which I may or may not read. Sometimes something comes into my head, and I call a friend.
What's important is that this time is meant for going with the flow, slowing down, do nothing time. The rest of my days are spent sewing, quilting, knitting, writing, drawing, walking, cooking, studying, volunteering, or exploring. This time though, is daydream in retirement time.
It's what works for me, in retirement.