The Secret to a Happy Retirement? A Schedule

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This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.

Before retirement, life has a predictable routine. Work takes priority, and oftentimes everything else is scheduled around it. From laundry to mowing the lawn, many people plan and keep a routine so that everything gets done.

After retirement, there’s nothing but time! So, it might seem that schedules aren’t crucial. But a routine might be as important as ever, and for several different reasons.

A Schedule Can Help You Use Time Wisely

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Have you ever had a day off and lots of things to do, but by the end of the day you seemed to have accomplished nothing at all? Expand that into years – and even decades – and it’s easy to see how too much time on your hands can lead to being less efficient and letting things slip through the cracks.

With every day to yourself, there’s always another hour (and another day) to put off what could be done right now. Unfortunately, that can lead to laundry piling up, missed appointments, and a kind of low-end chaos settling in where there used to be a structure.

Keeping a Routine Gives You a Comfort Zone

Senior friends playing cards
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Some people get up every day by 8 a.m. and have coffee on the terrace. Others like to sleep in a bit and have brunch at a coffee house. Whatever way you like to spend your mornings, afternoons, or evenings, keeping a routine makes you feel comfortable.

Predictability can help you avoid stress, at least to a certain extent. When you know going to bed at night how you’ll spend the next day, there are fewer things to worry about. Just be sure to leave room for some spontaneity. Too much predictability can be boring and can potentially be as stressful as being disorganized.

Planning Ahead Saves Time

Senior couple riding bikes
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Want to make the most of your retirement time? Keeping a routine can be a real time-saver. Staying organized helps you remember where things are, and also helps keep smaller jobs, such as tidying the kitchen, from piling up. Schedules also save time when you know where and when you’ll shop each week.

Decisions and options are good. But sticking to a schedule for everyday activities means there’s less time spent deciding on the little things and more time to ponder over ones that are more important or more fun.

Schedules don’t have to be rigid to work. If you don’t want a clock telling you when to wake up in the morning, then, by all means, don’t set the alarm. Having a general routine for how you spend your days doesn’t mean you need to stick to a regimented plan without deviation.

Make Time Management Part of Your Retirement Planning Process

Happy retired couple
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It can be difficult figuring out just what to do with your time once your “9 to 5” job is over. Retirement is a major life change, and not all of it is fun. But with a schedule, you can help avoid the boredom and restlessness that comes with switching from a busy life to one where busyness only happens because you want it to.

As you think about your retirement plan, make sure you consider how you are going to spend your time.

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