Does an age arrive when suddenly we have lots of free time & we don’t know what to do with it? Having read hundreds of thousands of responses to my blog posts I can say this: Most are loving the lives they’ve created…but life is busy in our fifties & beyond! Maybe the expression should be: ‘Retirement years’ abhor a vacuum!

For most of our lives, we’ve operated in two modes: work & rest. Free time was and still appears to be something that maybe we get after everything else is done. Time seems tied up as we keep performing to maximum overload. There’s nothing wrong with this if we like it…but everyone benefits from ‘me-time.’ It’s ok to slow down, regularly, and make yourself a life priority. Here are a few areas we can set some new grays in our schedules vs. the black and white of work/rest.

– Exercise is not another job. It is how we clear our heads, increase motivation, build energy & improve our likelihood of a longer, healthier life so we can better enjoy our time. Whether a walk, a class or a visit to a gym, exercise is just as important as any work task.

– If we’re being enlisted to help others, which could still be homework or other tasks, declare a deadline. For example: I’ve always said my homework help stops at 8pm. This let everyone know how they would have to manage their time if they wanted to get my help. Setting time limits works with many other demands, too.

– Play time is not just for kids. Setting dates with ourselves & others helps everyone plan. My parents went out every Friday night for a pizza & to split a beer. When they came home they went straight to their bedroom & none of us 5 kids bothered them. This showed us all how they prioritized alone-time. We learned, this was the night to feed ourselves and make our own plans. Whether it’s seeing a friend, a dinner date, a stroll through a park, a massage, music events, a museum trip…whatever. Setting a set time to do whatever you want and planning it as a priority is important.

– Define life-work boundaries including when you will or won’t check emails & take calls. Not sure how? Imagine you’re passionately making love. Would you stop to check your email? Doubtful. Take the visual further. Is it ok to interrupt your meals? Take time away from family? We all need to define our home boundaries or life gets too crowded.

Free time isn’t a left-over that maybe we get after everyone else has had their fill. We’re entitled to a healthy piece of our pie of life!

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