As someone who writes a lot about the importance of change in our lives, I decided to compare what I wrote 13 months ago to how I spend my time today. I would expect to notice some differences but I'm not sure what I will find. That's what makes it interesting. Let's start.
I begin with breakfast and then a quick read of two newspapers. I used to spend a full hour reading the papers but realized mornings is my peak productive time. Now, I scan the papers and am at the computer by 7:00 AM.
OK, I'm off to a good start. I don't read newspapers anymore. That's not quite true. We get the Wednesday & Sunday papers after the company offered them for $50 a year. We use them for the coupons and grocery ads. But, I no longer start my day with two, or even one newspaper most days. Do I miss them? Absolutely not. The news was stale by the time it landed on my porch. The advertising content was far in excess of the editorial content. The weather was a joke. How someone can be so wrong with a 7 day forecast, every single day, is beyond me. The local news section was mostly obituaries. No, I don't miss the ritual of a morning paper. That part of my retirement lifestyle has changed for good.
From then until lunchtime I write, work on this blog, read other blogs, deal with e-mail, maintain my Twitter presence, and run any essential errands.
This is essentially the same for some days of the week. though the time I spent with the newspapers is now spent with a laptop. After a quick check of the news and stocks, I begin going through e-mails. Several are the Groupon-type offers. Others are comments for the blog, requests to review a book, and, on average, 5 new Twitter followers. I must admit I am spending less time reading other blogs because this blog and writing my next book are taking up more time.
Two mornings are now taken over by out-of-the-house activities. On Mondays I volunteer at the prison ministry office for 4 hours. Wednesday morning begins with a Bible study at a friend's house with 8 other people. These commitments were not on my schedule a year ago.
After lunch is a 30 minute nap. That short break helps me maintain my energy for the rest of the afternoon. After the nap, three or four days a week I go to the gym. Like a nap, this is important to me. It helps me maintain my weight, gives me more energy, and helps keep my knees, hips, and back from causing me problems. Maintaining my health is worth this time and money investment.
This remain pretty accurate, though in all honesty three days a week is much more likely to happen than four. While my wife is often too busy for a nap, I will pay for it later in the day if I skip that 30 minutes of down time.
Then, back to the computer to answer e-mails and more writing. I try to quit by 4:00 PM. Guitar practice, a glass of wine, and it is time for an early dinner by 5:15 PM. My evenings usually include a movie, fiction reading, a little more computer work, and off to bed by 10:00 PM.
Now, afternoons tend to be when I am more likely to read other blogs I enjoy rather than in the morning. But, the writing is part of that time. I have also decided to complete household chores during the week so weekends are free for fun and family. I was finding Saturdays and Sundays were nothing but lawn work and other chores, so that changed a while ago.
I rarely do much writing or computer work at night any more. I am more likely to spend some time with the guitar, reading, and Bible study than I did a year ago. The amount of TV watching has dropped, though Netflix can be seriously addictive. Some readers have turned me on to British shows, like Doc Martin and Foley's War. I watch too many episodes in a row, I admit. Two nights a week I have commitments that take up most of the evening. Both are new to my schedule from last year.
Weekends are mainly reserved for family time and something special with my wife. I work as a mentor to recently released prisoners so some time each weekend is given over to that. I try to complete most of my chores during the week so Saturday & Sunday are kept as open as possible.
As I noted, this is more likely to be true now than it was 13 months ago. During certain times of the year, the amount of yard work, gardening, and maintenance can spill over into weekends. But, I'm making a concentrated effort to not let that happen.
In summary, my overall daily schedule is pretty close to the one I followed 13 months ago. Frankly, I am a bit surprised. I thought I'd see more change. I am busier than I was one year ago after the growth of the blog and adding several volunteer and church commitments. Seeing my Dad once a week after Mom's death last December is part of my week, too. I think I am a bit more productive with my time. But, apparently, the pattern I have established is working well. My journey toward a satisfying retirement continues.
Whether you are retired or not, it is your turn. Think over the last year or so. Have you seen any major changes in your day-to-day schedule? Has something happened in your life that has turned out to be good, or bad to your productivity? Have you taken on new commitments? Has the economy altered your day? I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts. Like everyone else, I'm anxious to know, "what do you do all day?"