Getting the most out of the freedom of retirement
Create your ideal weekly schedule, 7 days, all 24 hours of each day. No boundaries — you are not limited by the skills you have today: for example, if you think you’d like to spend 2 hours a week painting, but you don’t know the first thing about painting, schedule it. Want to spend a day a week on the golf course but don’t even own a set of clubs, book it on your schedule. This is your ideal schedule.
Make a list of what you scheduled: separate your activities into categories:
1) I already do this (even if you want to alter it a bit, such as do it for a different length of time, or more often, etc.)
2) I can start doing this (I don’t have to learn something first)
3) I can schedule the first steps of this (sign up for a class, schedule an appointment with someone you need guidance from, read a book about it, etc.)
Next, make a list of the pre-steps from 3): what do you need to buy, who do you need to call, what do you need to do before you could schedule time to actually do this?
After you make your list, make a new weekly schedule that incorporates the items from 1), 2) and 3) in new detail. Your list for 3) ought to be broken into steps you can put on your schedule. When are you going to go buy paints, for example?
Are there things you can put on your real-life schedule to get your started, even before you transition from full-time work? If you are already pre-retired or fully in your post-work period, this is your real-life schedule — this is your new commitment to the beginning of a more fulfilling downshifting.
Continue to plan for your week ahead (even scheduling your weekly planning session with yourself), adjusting the schedule as you transition the pre-steps from 3) into the actual activity itself (Maybe your pre-step was to contact a college, and you had an hour set up on your schedule to research classes and sign up. After that, it will be time to schedule the actual classes on your calendar, and after that it will be time to do the thing you went to class to learn!).
Anytime that you find you didn’t accomplish what you scheduled, reschedule it. Move it, but never just cancel it or dismiss it.
If you struggle to take steps in a new direction, despite wanting to, it’s worthwhile to continue to make a schedule of your week as it is. The repetition of planning the same thing over and over (things that aren’t fulfilling you) will often prompt you to, at some point, insert something new: baby steps are progress, too.