On My Own Schedule

This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and works as a financial advisor retired at 34. He is married, has three kids.  Robert and his wife then plan to return to school and become teachers, eventually living and working overseas.

I had to stop in at the bank yesterday, and I realized that one of the awesome things about being retired is: the bank being open only while most people are at work is no longer an issue. I can just pop in during the middle of the afternoon when I’m out with my daughter. So after preschool at the YMCA and then reading at the library, we stopped at the bank.

I saw my banker and chatted for a few minutes. He likes to tease me about being retired, because it messes with the applications process for bank accounts, investment accounts, loans, you name it. For example, I had to send a copy of my retirement letter and a copy of my prior employer’s termination letter which gave “retirement” as a reason, just to open my investment accounts. My banker asked what I like about having a free and open schedule.

The best thing, of course, is that I have plenty of time to do what I choose. As I mentioned above, I enjoy taking my daughter, who is too young to be left on her own, to play at the YMCA. I also enjoy swimming there, for my own exercise. I enjoy going to the library and reading books to my kids. I enjoy writing here and on my own blog. I enjoy managing my finances for myself, and not trying to squeeze it in over a lunch hour (half-hour, really) at work. The downside, clearly, is that some weeks I don’t feel particularly ambitious. It’s happened before that I arrive at the end of a week without a clear feeling that I’ve accomplished anything.

I also enjoy being able to set my own schedule. It’s very rare that I have to respond to the constraints of others. I don’t have to catch a specific bus, in order to make a specific train, in order to get to work on time, like I used to do. I need to get my kids to the school bus stop on time, but I can also choose to drive them to school. When I choose to attend a school council meeting, or a community meeting, or a fundraiser, I can arrive when I choose. That’s why it’s important to make commitments carefully, to ensure that I keep them. I try to be completely honest with myself about what is important to me, important enough that I will choose to show up, even if I feel busy or tired that day.

In the end, my schedule is mostly made up of things that fit with my priorities. I feel strongly about public education, so I spend my time at school council and association meetings. I feel strongly about reading, so I spend my time at the library. I feel strongly about being healthy, so I spend time staying active (swimming, mostly). I fit each of these into my schedule each week, working other things in as I feel able.

How do you manage your time, especially the time you’re not at work? Will that change as you work less, or stop working?

5 thoughts on “On My Own Schedule”

  1. Once I stopped working full-time in 2001, switching to part-time, I became able to do my usual weekend errands during off-peak times such as midday weekdays (and not during the lunch hour). This included going to the bank and doing my food shopping when few people were at those places. The bank in particular almost always had more employees than customers at these times, so I would deposit checks at the teller window because (a) I don’t trust ATMs to handle deposits if I can help it, and (b) some idiot was hogging the ATM making 3 or 4 transactions, so no time to be saved there.

    Other errands I would run which had little activity midday weekdays are the post office, library, and shopping malls. Sure beats going to those places on Sautrday when they are very busy.

  2. I had several months between jobs, and have to admit I was not as productive as you. I don’t have children, so I didn’t have that need to get up in the morning the same way! 🙂 If I can start working less, or working independently, I’d plan to spend more time with family ( live closer now), try to read more, and find meaningful outside activities.

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