A common question I get in early retirement is “what do you do all day?” or “what is your daily schedule?” People wonder how much of regular routine I have – especially what time I get up. I have to admit that after two years on this FIRE lifestyle adventure, I still really haven’t developed much of a daily routine.
SLEEP SCHEDULE – I try to get up between 8a-8:30a, but sometimes I sleep a little less of a little longer (especially if I was up past midnight the night before). I might take an afternoon nap 1x-2x a week, but not everyday like Snoopy. I go to bed anytime between 10p-12:30a – depending on what I did that day or have scheduled the next day. When I worked, I used to get up at about 6:30a – that takes major effort now!
MRS FIRE STATION – My wife generally gets up a little before me on weekdays and runs to the gym for a class (or two) and has coffee or lunch with friends afterward. We don’t have a joint weekday morning routine, but usually meet up in the early afternoon. We both think it works well to have separate activities/interests in the morning so that we are not together 24/7. She’s invited me to her gym classes, but I generally keep fit other ways.
HARD SCHEDULE – On a weekly basis, the only ‘hard’ schedule I have is dictated by organized activities. In the spring & summer, I play softball on Wednesday nights. In the fall & winter, I’m in a curling league on Thursday nights. I play tennis 1x-2x a week and usually schedule that as a repeating appointment. I also have some board meetings that are scheduled way in advance – they have a monthly or quarterly cadence to them. Our investment club meets every 6 weeks to hear pitches from new companies.
FLEXIBILITY – I also keep a relatively busy ‘soft’ schedule – things I plan out more loosely and keep more flexible. This includes any other appointments I have, such as lunch with friends, doctors & dentist appointments, occasional consulting work, book club, or happy hour meet ups.
PATTERNS – Social activities work well when I get them scheduled into a repeating pattern like meeting a friend for afternoon movie every other month, crashing a dive bar every 4th Tuesday with a buddy, or playing tennis with an old colleague every Thursday during the summer. Having a pattern – even if it’s not exactly at the same time/date, or even if it gets skipped now and then – keeps the schedule full of things to look forward to.
CHILLAX DAYS – I usually have at least one day a week that I keep pretty empty. That’s good for getting a lot done at home, running errands, or just having a ‘down day’. Having one day a week like this is great – even if what day of the week it is changes pretty often. There are always museums, libraries, parks, and new stores to visit if I want to do something after all. A couple weeks ago, my wife and I took off for an impromptu weekday road trip in our convertible when we saw the weather was going to be great the night before.
WRITING – Even writing these blog articles is a bit catch-as-catch-can. I publish every Monday & Thursday morning, but I typically write them only a day or two before they go out. I write down story ideas/titles as I think of them, but I don’t flesh them out until I need to. I find if I work ahead a week or two, I start to feel a little disconnected from my thoughts. The only time I work ahead is if we are traveling.
ADVICE TO STAY BUSY – A lot of people seem to worry about staying busy in early retirement, but it’s not too much of a problem based on the conversations I have with folks. One simple piece of advice I share with people is to make plans for one future social activity each day. Oftentimes, these get scheduled naturally, but I also make a point to connect with someone and arrange plans whenever possible. If you make plans once a day, almost never a day will go by without something to do!
How organized / routinized is your day? What tricks do you have for the FIRE lifestyle?
Image Credit: (c) PEANUTS, United Media
11 thoughts on “Daily Schedule in Early Retirement?”
Hey, Chief! Great post! Filled with helpful perspective, personal experience, and practical tips. I boil down to three big buckets: Quotidian (regular and important); Monumental (rare and vital); Opportunistic (Serenditpitous and revitalizing). Though I still maintain a calendar, it’s now more about seasons and days rather than hours and minutes. The most common question I’m asked by those still working is: “What do you do with yourself?” My first answer: “I live.” In all our academic and career years, one’s personal identity was inextricably bound with what we did. Now, all is determined by who we are. It is indeed a major sea change in life. Your posts help people navigate by example.
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Thanks, Bowmanifesto! We’re traveling with a group right now and getting a lot of questions on our FIRE lifestyle. When asked how we spend our time I say “I do as much as I want, and as little as I have to!” 😉
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Sounds like a nice schedule. I’m about a year away from making my own.
Do you have time to schedule a day at the MN State Fair? Planning a blogger / FI meetup on opening day, 8/23. 5 pm at the beer garden. Hope to see you there!
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Sounds cool – I will try to make it. I have put it on my calendar!
I’m a big fan of not having a routine, and if I must only a temporary one. So for example when I have an apartment renovation/ fitting to do I was scheduling meetings after 11am to avoid rush hour and stressed people completely and have a lunch break catching up with friends or family and would try to finish all necessary meetings before 3pm, again to avoid rush hour. In the afternoon I would typically go for a run in the forest or a round is Squash/ tennis before meeting family in the evening. I would go for an hours long walk or take the city bike to travel around unless I knew I had to buy materials for the Reno. Generally every month I made it a point to go travel two weeks to another country to visit a new city/ a new region. Sometimes I liked it so much I would stay a couple weeks longer (I love Portugal and Spain!). Once I ran out of apartments to renovate (and my passive income increased :-)) I started traveling more exotically and set myself a few projects generally to build a new business or learning a new hobby/ language. When I worked hard before I used to dream of longer term travel – I am living that dream now. Haven’t been happier and healthier since FI.