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?
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