7 Ways to Manage your Calendar in Retirement

When we’re working our days are pretty much set. We know what time we have to get up to get ready and get to work on time. In retirement, however, we don’t always have to be anywhere at any certain time. My fear has always been that I would waste the day away figuring out what I wanted to do and then, if not careful, I would waste an entire week or even a month of my life.

The importance of goals

Whether you consider yourself a goal setter or not, you have lived your life by making and attaining goals. I know this because otherwise you wouldn’t have the luxury of being retired now. You had a goal to start school, graduate high school, to go to college or earn a vocation, start a family, get those kids raised and out of the house, retire from your job, travel and pursue other interest. You have set these certain goals, you have achieved them, and now you are retired.

But this is by no means the time to stop setting goals. In fact, it’s more important than ever now to decide what you want to do with your years, depending on what God may be calling you to do and what makes you fulfilled and happy.

The beauty of goals

I love goals because without a plan you simply don’t get anywhere. Goals are a road map to somewhere you want to go with your life. Even if you don’t always achieve them, working toward a goal is half the fun and gives you purpose. However, there is something almost magical about writing out your goals that propels them into action and helps you achieve them I didn’t really set goals in my younger years other than I wanted to graduate high school and go to college and I knew I wanted to get married and have a family one day. After college someone came up to me and asked what my goals were and at that time I was at a loss because I hadn’t thought about them any further.

I got convicted and shortly after that I started setting goals and I’m glad I’ve continued that for most of my life. It’s remarkable to look back at previous years goals that seemed so unreachable at the time, that now come to fruition.

An old fashioned typewriter with a paper inside that says "Goals"
Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

How to set goals

I like to set goals in 7 categories: Family, Spiritual, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Financial, and work (for me which is writing.) Your work goal could be a hobby that you want to progress in during retirement.

Under each category I put a dream goal which is something that I would love to achieve, but it may seem a little out of reach right now. Think big, right! A vision goal which is a stretch but totally possible, I then set a five-year goal and a goal for the current year. Goals need to be specific, measurable, have a time limit, be yours, and be in writing. Otherwise, they may never get past the wishes stage.

For example under family one of my dream goals has been to travel the world and my vision is to stay closely connected to my four children and grand children by doing trips and activities together. My five year goal is to embark on one or more of these places within the next five years -a Viking River Cruise, a trip through New England during the fall, visit our national parks, Italy and a Mediterranean cruise.

This year we’ve already booked a Panama Canal cruise and a Hawaiian cruise which were previously on my five-year plan and we’re looking at a family trip to Gatlinburg and a possible New England trip. Obviously, we won’t be able to do everything, but I don’t stress over that. Retirement is no time to stress over what you aren’t able to but to be thankful for what you get to do.

Next, I move my goals into more of a calendar mode where they become tasks instead. I break them down into seasons or 3-month sections, then monthly, weekly, and finally I put my daily tasks on the calendar for that day.

For this season, December through February my family goals included a ski trip with my husband and an upcoming Florida trip to visit my son’s new condo. For the month of January, I had listed that I needed to get on the Princess Cruise app and fill out some required information for our upcoming cruise.

Then I have my weekly tasks which includes things I need to get done this week. this week that includes getting a manicure for an upcoming party and such mundane things as taking a broken shade to get fixed.

Finally, I move these items to my daily calendar. I try to put at least 10 tasks on the calendar each day. Again, I’m not going to stress if I don’t get to them all, because I’ve determined that retirement is no time to stress. But having them on the calendar gives me a plan for the day. Today’s list included spin class, blogging, manicure, taking care of some business, reading and making ice cream. If something comes up that’s not on the list, that’s okay if it’s important or it’s something I want to do. And if I decide I don’t want to do something on the list I can delete it or move it to another day. No judgement, no stress!

Retirement is not a time to have every moment filled, you’ve done that for years, but it’s also not a time to give up on living and chill mindlessly in front of the TV all day every day. We’re happiest when we have a purpose and are working toward a goal. That’s the way we are wired.

What about unhappy times?

Of course, retirement isn’t all fun and games. There are increasing health struggles as we get older, and we all have grief and tragedies at some points of our life. Sometimes our grief is so strong that our goal may be to just get through the day. Or a health issue may consume us. Right now, I’m dealing with a pulled muscle in my back and am in constant pain. It’s not a fun and one of my biggest priorities is finding out what’s going on with it and making it better as soon as possible.

If you’ve struggling with managing your days, try some of these tactics to help you get more clarity of purpose. You don’t have to set your goals and plan your calendar in exactly the way that I do; the main thing is that you set some goals and challenges for yourself- whatever those may be.

I want you to get out there and walk – better yet run- on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands … And mark that you do this with humility and discipline. steadily pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Ephesians 4:1-3 The Message

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