July 5, 2016

Retirement Lifestyle: Saving Time and Energy

retirement advice

Do you always seem to be playing catch up? Do you end your day with a longer list of things to-do than you started? Are you stressed by how you spend your time? Looking for a way to be more productive with our time is a continuous battle. Here are some steps you can take right now to help regain control of your clock and allow yourself more time and energy to enjoy summertime. 

Cut back on what you own. Our bigger living spaces and more possessions come with a double price: the cost to purchase them and then the time to maintain them. Adopt a simpler lifestyle and you will free up time previously spent on cleaning, fixing, and replacing. If you simplify enough, you may be able to work fewer hours because you are buying less stuff.

Eliminate major time wasters. Most lists would start with the television. The typical American watches 5 hours of TV every single day. Do you realize that equals 6 days in front of the tube every month. What could you do with an extra 6 days over the next 30? Turn off the television and find out.

Keep a detailed time log. For the next week, write down what you do and for how long. The idea is to get a real handle on where your time goes. Just like you need a budget to control the money you spend, you can’t save time if you aren’t really sure how you are spending it.

Re-think your routines and habits. Every morning I used to begin the day by reading two newspapers. Often that took an hour. It finally dawned on me that morning is when I’m most productive. It was a mistake to spend an hour or more on something I could do later in the day. Changing that one habit has made a huge difference in what I accomplish before lunch. How much of your schedule is habit instead of what is most productive? Pull out your time log and look for anything that might produce better results if you make a change. I am down to one newspaper and read it in the afternoon.

Consolidate your errands. If you make several trips in the car to run errands you are wasting money and time. With a little planning you may find you can do it all in one trip instead of several. How about waiting until tomorrow? What about running errands three days a week instead of six?

Go on a diet an Internet and social media diet. It is likely your time log will show that you’re spending large chunks of time checking your e-mail, Facebook friends, tweets, or just surfing away on the Internet without a real purpose. If that’s the case, go on an electronic diet. Ditch the mindless wandering from site to site. Realize a tweet can go unread for more than a few minutes. E-mail doesn't spoil, so check it later. Spend time at the sites that are important to you or help you solve a problem. Just like you lose weight by cutting calories, you gain time by cutting back the time you waste on the computer.

Do some chores at different times. Some of that time you are not spending in front of the TV or computer can be used for doing chores usually reserved for weekends. Just 30 minutes a few nights a week dedicated to chores will save more of your weekend for relaxing, having fun, or being with family and friends. Grab back your weekends.

Learn to say “No” to some of the requests for your time. It is good to help others who need you, just not to excess, Learn to say “Sorry” to stuff you really don’t want to do. Be a bit choosier about the volunteer work you accept. If someone is overusing your generous nature, become unavailable. Understand you are sacrificing your time to give someone else more time. Some sacrifice is good. Too much is probably not.

Time is the single most valuable resource we have. It is irreplaceable. It is priceless. We can’t increase it, but we can make the most of what we have. What you do with your time can be the difference between a satisfying retirement and productive life, or one that is constantly stressed and unfulfilled. What is your time plan?


  1. Well, I only started feeling that way (always playing catch-up, feeling stressed, having longer to-do lists) when we started downsizing and cutting back on what we own! Hopefully, there's peace and contentment at the end of the process.

    1. You will find the downsizing does pay off, eventually. Trust me, you and B will be happy with your decision.

  2. I think being over-committed and too busy is a habit and mindset that we get into (and that may be rewarded/required) during our working years. I would add one more suggestion to your list: Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes per day to just sit and do nothing. (This may seem counter-intuitive, but it will cultivate the habit/mindset of relaxation and meditation.) -Jean

    1. You are right about the quiet time. I try to do that every afternoon around 4pm, with a glass of wine and my thoughts.

  3. Interesting post. I'm finding now that I'm retired (about seven months in) that I am not accomplishing as much as I thought I might. We worked really hard in the gardens in spring and early summer, and I have a few inside projects to start, but the heat of summer (nothing like yours, but still...) makes it harder for me to tackle them. A cooler, crisp fall day will motivate me, I'm sure.

    The internet is definitely a black hole, and I have tried to cut that back lately. I'm reading more (real books) and also have been meditating more regularly, which has been great for mental health. I've consciously tried to avoid committing to a lot of activities until I figure out which ones really matter to me. So far it's reading, writing, spending time with family and spiritual growth. Oh, and exercise 4-5 times/week. That has become strangely addicting, which is a good thing.

    1. Your progress toward satisfying time management is right on track. The first year of retirement is about finding a balance.

      I used to be too comfortable with excessive Internet use. That has been replaced with my reaching for the smartphone too many times a day.


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