Retirement Advice: What about work life balance when you retire?

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You stop working.  Do you still need work life balance?

Work-life balance is a hot theme right now. People are recognizing that working all the time and making their professional life a priority can leave them lonely and frustrated. There are many articles about how to put your life in balance with a mix of activities that satisfy your whole belong and leave you happy and full filled. But what happens when you stop working? Does that mean that you can stop worrying about keeping your life balanced? A retired person shifts from trading time for dollars to making a new life without a job. The fantasy is that when you retire, you can do all those things that you never had time for when you were working. You can travel. You can fish or play golf. You can spend time with friends and family. You can have fun. You don’t work so does that mean you don’t need work-life balance.

Even without work, your life can be out of balance.

It turns out that nothing is that simple. Sometimes even in retirement you continue to work because you want more income. Sometimes you discover that you can play too much golf and fishing isn’t as fulfilling as you thought. You learn that there is a limit to the amount of time you can spend with friends and family. You get bored.

The idyllic idea of a relaxed retirement lifestyle where you do whatever you want, whenever you want gets old fast. Important tasks slide and doing what you like becomes a new routine – maybe even starts to get boring. Gradually you understand that your fantasy retirement was just that – a fantasy. You still have important tasks to accomplish but your retirement lifestyle doesn’t seem to make them happen. Time gets used up but you don’t seem to accomplish anything. You are doing what you always wanted to do but without the satisfaction. Your retirement lifestyle is just as unbalanced as the one you had when you were working.

Take control of your retirement lifestyle

In fact, even in retirement you still need balance in your life. Maybe it isn’t work-life balance but you still have different aspects of your life that are important. You need to manage your life so that each of them has a place. Pick the things that are constrained or critical and lock in time for them before you schedule other activities. Schedule time for your grandchildren’s sports. Plan times for family picnics when they are available. Lock in trips and leave time for painting the house or any other important tasks. Whatever is important for you, write it down. Give is a time and date. Make sure that you include the entire range of activities that are important for you. That means the personal ones also. A calendar is a critical tool in keeping your retirement lifestyle in balance, so get one and use it.

In retirement, keeping your life in balance is a continuing activity. Be aggressive in making time for everything that you want to do and locking it into its place in the calendar.

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