structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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gips
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structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by gips » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:28 pm

Hi,

retired 1.5 years ago, started strongly on a number of goals around improving my health, travel, online classes, non-profit volunteering and two new hobbies. I met a lot of these goals, most notably around health (lost 15 pounds, improved strength and cardio system), took three classes, but haven't been motivated lately and have been considering a great offer to go back to work.

Perhaps I need more structure in my life: rise at 7am, breakfast, workout from 9-10:30, 11-1 online class, lunch, 1-2 finances, 2-3 hobby, 3-5 volunteer, etc.

wondering if you structure your time in retirement?

best,

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KlingKlang
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by KlingKlang » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:54 pm

To each his own, obviously some people are happier when they have a schedule to follow than others. Congratulations on meeting so many of your original goals.

The rigid schedule that you propose sounds like more work than going to work would be to me. You might as well accept that great offer and get paid for keeping to a schedule.

sport
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by sport » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:12 pm

I find such structure to be an imposition on my freedom to do whatever I wish whenever I wish. I also want to be free to not do anything productive when I feel like it. I enjoy not having my time structured.

Spirit Rider
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:38 pm

Nope, no daily structure. I retired so I didn't have to be on a clock.

I tend to just have a weekly list of people, places and things, but the days and times will vary.

Then I have a longer term "we'll see" general agenda/goals.

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Hyperborea
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Hyperborea » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:22 am

I have some items that I want to do every day and some that I want to do every week. I schedule them somewhat roughly to make sure that they happen. Everyday I practice my music for a few hours. Every week I have a set number of gym days and those happen to a rough schedule. Other than that it's pretty lax and even those "scheduled" items move around for various reasons. I also keep a list of tasks that I want to achieve in the near term and tick them off when completed and add new ones as they arise.
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:54 am

It's an interesting topic. I had thought of posting something similar, but now this one is here.

When I was working, my days were very structured. I got up at the same time, arrived at work about the same time. I had a toasted bagel M-W, and yogurt with fruit on Thursday. I brought lunch and had it about the same time M-W, then got Chinese takeout on Thursday (the reason for less starchy breakfast). I had times for fruit snack, chocolate snack, afternoon cup of tea. Then I went home about the same time.

On days when I didn't work, almost none of that applied. I got up whenever, maybe didn't shower until the afternoon, ate whenever. It was the anti-work program. I always knew I was going back to the structured life eventually.

Now that I'm retired, I'm trying to bring together a blend. More structured than off days, less structured than work. It's still in process. Bagels are back in, but so far yogurt/Chinese are out. I'm thinking about that.
Last edited by Earl Lemongrab on Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

1year23
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by 1year23 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:58 am

I find that I am happiest when I have a structured day ahead of me. I make a daily schedule every morning while enjoying my cup of coffee.

2015
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by 2015 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:55 pm

I don't know if I'd call it a structure as much as a naturally-occurring rhythm. The day is usually broken up by the studying/reading I do every day at my favorite cafe, always around the same time. Gym is 3x a week. Still go to the store on Mondays and bunch errands on Saturdays, out of habit more than anything else. All of this just fell into place on its own and I'm content with it. I seem to always be busy accomplishing something, which is I find quite energizing.

GCD
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by GCD » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:20 pm

I'm on more of a schedule than I would prefer. My kids are still in middle and high school so we have a morning routine and afternoon routine. After school activities, etc. that put me on the kids schedule as a chauffeur.

I'm unlikely to have a set routine once the kids are out of the house.

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Sandtrap
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:59 pm

This is an interesting and very applicable topic.
Thanks for posting it. :D

Some random thoughts and meandering.

My retirement "transition" took 7 years, and counting.
As a workaholic, Type AAA, businessman, I was compelled (word?) to continue acquisitions and felt very uncomfortable liquidating holdings without replacing or upgrading the asset.

I think it's a matter of redirecting one's interests and lifestyle toward a different comfort zone in retirement. A mix of what is familiar and what is new.

But, perhaps a bit tougher for those that preferred complete immersion in career and profession, and the comfort zone of that structured life. :shock:

For example: I have an older brother who was supposed to retire from private practice (MD) after 40 plus years, but ended up recently taking on full time work at a small community hospital in the country. He's still doing what he loves but with less stress.

And, for myself, I know I can't play golf and "goof off" 24/7. It's just not me. So some R/E holdings and a little business things still exist to keep my brain intact. DW loves retirement and has a great structured routine. Myself, I still miss work, but not the stress/drama parts. Everyone's different.

I would suspect that many here are methodical and deliberate, logical and analytical, and thus comfortable with structure like myself (with a healthy dash of autonomy). So this is an interesting topic.

Does the "accumulation phase" switch turn off or have a "glide path" until it dims out? :shock:

aloha :D :D
j

2015
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by 2015 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:26 pm

Since retirement, I've become more adept at accumulating small moments. Today, studying while drinking my favorite coffee in my favorite cafe, I disappeared for a moment staring out the window at the Los Angeles rain. There isn't a spreadsheet in the world or any amount of identification with work that could compare to that momentary experience, which I purposely slowed and stretched out. I reminded myself to soak in (apologies) that most beautiful moment, because this was what life and retirement were truly about. Someone, somewhere, died today, and they will never get the chance to experience a rainy afternoon again.

nbseer
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by nbseer » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:38 pm

I go to the gym every other day... alternating with long bike rides when the weather is good. Other days, lunch with DW, bowling with father, food shopping etc. I guess that could be considered ''structured'.

I try to do at least one worthwhile thing every day, but most of all, enjoy not being required to go out when the weather is bad.

Pigeon
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Pigeon » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:55 pm

I'm FI but not RE and wonder how I'll fill my time. I think a little structure would be good. A class a few times a week. The gym. Volunteering on a regular basis. But i don't want every minute scheduled. The whole point is gto have fun doing what i feel like doing.

lynneny
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by lynneny » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:41 am

I'm new at this, three months after a layoff took me from an over-scheduled, stressful corporate job to ... nothing. And surprised at how much I'm enjoying it.

The biggest change is that I sleep late every day. I'm not a morning person, and now that I'm finally getting enough sleep, I can't believe how much energy I have.

I do need some structure and get that by going to the gym 4x a week. No car, so on non-gym days, I walk miles doing errands (healthier than subway I used to take). I used to be the person who was too busy/tired/traveling for business to see friends. Now I'm the one who suggests getting together, going to museum, seeing a play, happy hour, dinners. Joined a book club.

I finally have time to help others, so added some volunteer work, and flew halfway across the country to look after an old friend after knee replacement surgery.

It's somewhat random because I plan/need to move to a lower cost of living area around the end of the year, so it's not really important to me to have a daily routine. Mostly I'm just enjoying a big city I love but will be leaving. I'm also spending a lot of time decluttering/fixing up my home to sell later this year.

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cinghiale
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by cinghiale » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:24 am

Good topic. Good, thoughtful responses. Thanks to all thus far.

Most retirement discussions include two important points of wisdom/common sense: Everyone does it differently, and there will be varied seasons in retirement. For the former, it’s a matter of “know thyself.” For the latter, it helps be be open, thankful, flexible, and curious.

I try to find a way to be demonstrably thankful each day. I feel deeply gratified and happy to have retired (right at age 60) while I still have pretty good health and energy and cognitive sharpness. It’s both “positive freedom,” doing the things I’ve put off for years, even decades, and “negative freedom” (hat tip to livesoft for articulating this), the ability to slide right past things in which I no longer want to be engaged. I would also second 2015’s excellent post and perspective.

My first few years out have been the opposite of the OP’s. I wanted nothing structured, and flat-out reveled in the freedom of serendipity each day. Two-plus years on, that’s beginning to shift, but only in small degrees. If there’s advice in all this, it’s this: Don’t impose structure on yourself because you think you should. If you need a little more organization in your days and weeks, fine. But don’t fall for the “shoulds.” If you have been a diligent and responsible worker all through the years, there’s a deeply ingrained sense of all those Stephen Covey attributes. But they should (Hah! That word again!) not not be invited into your retirement until you really, really want them there. Meditate. Cultivate mindfulness. Enjoy the freedom.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

North Texas Cajun
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by North Texas Cajun » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:26 am

I’ve been retired 5 years. I didn’t want a structured life, but I did develop a pattern for my activities the first three years: golf on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; health club on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday; finances and visits with friends on Monday.

Then I got hit with health problems: misdiagnosed prescription drug reactions in 2015; neck cancer in 2016. Recovering from those problems threw off my schedule.

Now I manage a weekday golf league of 30 members. We compete three times a week, and keeping it organized and fun occupies most of those days. My other hobbies - woodworking, photography, and shooting - are unstructured, but consume a lot of my time.

I do find time for naps, which are much more important now than just a few years ago.

Golf maniac
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Golf maniac » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:59 pm

Retired 2.5 years. My time is fairly structured during the week and more unstructured on the week end. This allows me to stay busy and with a purpose during the week and more flexible and spur of the moment on the week ends. It did take me a while to get my structured week set up, about a year. But now I love it and would not go back to work for anything.

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Sandtrap
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:11 pm

Golf maniac wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:59 pm
Retired 2.5 years. My time is fairly structured during the week and more unstructured on the week end. This allows me to stay busy and with a purpose during the week and more flexible and spur of the moment on the week ends. It did take me a while to get my structured week set up, about a year. But now I love it and would not go back to work for anything.
Have to chime in on a username like yours.. . . . .

During an 8 year long retirement transition, I played Hawaiian music with a trio in the Senior care and retirement facilities 2x/month. We had to practice often. It was extremely rewarding. I also played golf with a senior businessman's group at many of the resort courses in Hawaii 3x/week. My business was "winding down" (took years) so that freed up a lot of time. Still worked part time.

The mix of structured and unstructured time (autonomy) was a blessing. I doubt that I would have been able to leave the business world behind and dive into fully unstructured retirement without going at least partially insane, or disturbing others around me with that insanity. :shock:

aloha
j

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Sandtrap
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Re: structured vs. unstructured time in retirement

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:15 pm

North Texas Cajun wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:26 am
I’ve been retired 5 years. I didn’t want a structured life, but I did develop a pattern for my activities the first three years: golf on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; health club on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday; finances and visits with friends on Monday.

Then I got hit with health problems: misdiagnosed prescription drug reactions in 2015; neck cancer in 2016. Recovering from those problems threw off my schedule.

Now I manage a weekday golf league of 30 members. We compete three times a week, and keeping it organized and fun occupies most of those days. My other hobbies - woodworking, photography, and shooting - are unstructured, but consume a lot of my time.

I do find time for naps, which are much more important now than just a few years ago.
+1 on the golf and the "naps". . .photography. . . marksmanship, etc.
Condolences on the neck cancer. Neck fusion surgery wasn't much fun either. Did not cure my hook.:shock:
Senior golf is unique. Watch out for those "foot wedges". :shock: . . .
aloha
j

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