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Finding Your Joy in Retirement: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

leadership transition Apr 05, 2022

- By Sophie Pinkoski

As a new CEO, you went through a rigorous transition period to prepare you for your role. Now that you’re at the end of your tenure, shifting into retirement may not seem as involved in comparison.

Yet transitioning into retirement involves just as much of a psychological shift as taking on those leadership responsibilities in the first place.

You’re used to filling your days with your daily routine, and losing that routine will take some getting used to. This is why being mindful of your time management in retirement is ultimately key to maintaining your mental health and discovering the joy in your new lifestyle.

After all, life doesn’t stop because you’ve retired.

Retirement isn’t an end destination, but a whole new journey to embark upon. Now that you have all this free time on your hands, it’s time to decide what you want to do with it. 

Here are some ways to start thinking about managing your time to maintain momentum in retirement: 

Create a bucket list for your first year It’s easy to get caught up in all of the things you finally have time to do. Narrow down your priorities and set some realistic goals for your first year in retirement to give you something to work toward. This can be anything from traveling to taking on a personal project. The more you prioritize activities that matter most to you, the less time you have for things that don’t matter. 

Balance your to-do list with going with the flow – As a CEO, you were used to meeting strict deadlines. Yet in your retirement, you set your own routine. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t make deadlines you’ve set for yourself. Allow yourself to work on certain things tomorrow or next week if you just didn’t get around to it that day. The good news is, you have all the time in the world now and your activities will be waiting for you when you’re ready for them. 

Stop multitasking – In your role as CEO, you often took on multiple projects at once in constricted time frames. By doing so, it’s difficult to switch off from working mode at the end of the day. With so much free time on your hands now, it’s tempting to fill your days with several exciting new opportunities to keep you busy. But by focusing on one thing at a time, you avoid overtaxing your brain and you can better take in the rewarding challenges these new experiences have to offer. 

Block out your down time – Creating your ideal retirement schedule means being strict with your boundaries and saying no to anything that contradicts your values or needs. By dedicating specific hours in your week to leisure time, you keep those activities sacred and avoid overloading your schedule with potentially stressful commitments that don’t serve you. 

Allow yourself to experiment – No doubt, you had a specific vision of how you expected your retirement to be. You envision spending your days doing all the things you always wanted to do, but never had time for.

Yet when you get down to it, the reality of retirement might be different from those expectations.

The activities you saw yourself enjoying may not pan out. Don’t be afraid to try something else. Through trial and error, you will find what brings you most joy in your routine. You have the luxury of trying on new things–make the most of it! Not everything is going to be for you, but you might find something you love in things you least expect. 

The key to finding your sweet spot in retirement is staying flexible. When you prepare yourself with an adaptable schedule, you can anticipate the unexpected while still giving yourself plenty of time to relax. When you take the time to really think about how you want to build your new lifestyle, you enter your retirement with a better sense of what will fulfill you most. 

Further Reading: 

Adjusting to Retirement: Handling the Stress and Anxiety, Help Guide 

Time Management is Crucial to a Happy Retirement, Forbes 

Retirement Blues: Taking it Too Easy Can Be Hard on You, Harvard Health Publishing 

9 Tips for Better Time Management in Retirement, Kiplinger 

8 Tips for Adjusting to Retirement, VeryWell Mind 

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