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Time Management For Retirees
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Plan Now For The Last Third Of Your Life

We spend the first third of our lives just growing up, being educated and choosing a career. At this stage were not too concerned about time management. Our focus changes during the second third of our lives. We hone our time management skills as we pursue our goals. We concentrate on getting organized, improving personal productivity and achieving significant results in our chosen profession. Some of us are so concerned with the efficient utilization of time that we use time logs, multitasking, personal organizers and PDAs in an effort to achieve more in less time. And, of course, a few of us go overboard and put our health and happiness at risk as we juggle a multitude of priorities, extending our working days and putting our lives completely out of balance.

But then something strange happens to many of us during the final third of our lives. During the retirement stage, we seem to forget everything we learned about time management. In fact a few of us don
t even plan for retirement in the first place. We make a sudden transition from employed to unemployed with no idea of how we will spend the rest of our lives, other than some fantasy thoughts about playing golf every day and taking it easy. The problem is, it takes money to play golf. It also takes good weather, good health, and good friends. And theres nothing easy about taking it easy when we have no plans.

Ted Engstrom, in his book, Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (Zondervan, 1994,) referred to a Harvard University study that showed that early retirement actually lowers one
s longevity. 7 out of 8 men studied who retired at age 65 were dead by age 75. Retirement does not mean withdrawal from the human race, just the rat race.

I have spent a lot of time with retirees in the years since I passed retirement age, and have witnessed a wide range of situations and attitudes. Some individuals who had obviously not planned at all are having financial problems and don
t know what to do with themselves. Others feel a successful retirement is one in which you are able to keep busy. Others complain about the poor hand that life has dealt them, lead a sedentary lifestyle, always hang around people their own age or older, and get their kicks out of criticizing others.

But I have met others who have more than just activities or hobbies in their lives; they have meaning in their lives. They get up early and check their schedules. They have part-time jobs or second careers. They do volunteer work, plan activities with other people, choose to have a positive attitude, participate in the lives of their children and grandchildren, engage in regular physical activity, and yes, even take vacations.

With life expectancy continuing to increase, some people are spending a third of their lives or more in retirement. That
s too much time to waste. If you leave full-time employment, take your time management skills with you and leave the stress behind. Set personal goals, complete with deadlines and schedules. Continue to use a planning calendar. Schedule self-development activities. Youre never too old to learn. Spend time with younger people; if you dont, your wisdom will die when you do. Keep exercise as a priority. Make up for the years you have been procrastinating. Read the books you never got around to reading. See the sights you always wanted to see. Mend broken relationships and make new ones.

If you are still active in your career, plan now to ensure your retirement years will live up to your expectations. Plan more than simply finances. The important part of retirement is how you will be spending your time. Take inventory of the parts of your current job you like and those that you don
t like and plan activities during retirement that incorporate the enjoyable parts. You will still need a sense of achievement, self-fulfillment and personal growth once you are retired. This may involve going back to school, starting your own business or doing volunteer work.

Life is composed of activities, not just time. Plan now for the memories that you will reflect on later.


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