There is a precious gift that comes with your retirement. It is time.

The alarm no longer catapults you out of bed each weekday. Stay there till lunchtime and who would know? And welcome to a world where every day is a Saturday.

This precious gift is there for you to use wisely.

One blogger wrote: ‘Retirement means an extra 50 hours or more a week to fill. Work and commuting no longer define our daily schedule. The ‘success’ of our satisfying retirement will depend, in large part, on how we learn to use that extra 2,600 hours a year.’

So how should you use your new-found time – and to what end? It is going to take some serious thought and planning. But at least you have the time to do it.

  • Getting it right from the start

    The following suggestions come from someone who took early retirement three years ago, after 30 years in a high pressure professional career.

    1. Consider taking six months ‘off’ to take a real breather between what ‘was’ and what now ‘is’. This might mean laying down your existing commitments or responsibilities both within and outside the church.
    2. Use the time to allow your brain and body to rest and settle after the rigours of the workplace.
    3. Do something useful, but with a low demand, during this initial period – to unwind and be restored mentally and physically. Cull your wardrobe, organise the garage, catalogue your family photographs, sell the ‘junk’ you have accumulated on Ebay, for example.
    4. Reflect on what God has used you for so far in your work, marriage and relationships, parenting, church responsibilities. And identify – create a list – of the life skills you have acquired.
    5. Think, pray, let Scripture and other people speak to you – to try to determine how God might use your skills and gifts in your after-work world.
    6. Try to perceive what God does not want you to do. If someone says, ‘Now you’re retired and have the time, would you just…?’ be ready to decline gently, agreeing to think, pray and get back to them in a few months’ time.
    7. When the six months is over, use what you have learned as a basis to offer yourself afresh to God and what he might have for you. It may be related to work you have previously done or perhaps completely unexpected new roles.
    8. Accept that your identity is no longer associated with your former work or other role, but as a child of God and a member of his family.
    9. Cherish your existing relationships and make new friends or contacts. Rick Warren says; ‘The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.’
    10. Slow down. Don’t worry about not doing enough and obsessing over time management and productivity. There is no rule that says you have to be busy, driven and always spinning plates.

    From then on in, enjoy each day. And remember there is a better life to come…

  • Managing your time

    Once you have settled into the ‘routine’ of retirement, there are some issues to face that will help you make the most of your time.

    Your goals: The big picture is your ‘bucket list’ – places to visit, things to experience, accomplishments to achieve, and more. But your goals could also include things like finding volunteer role in your local community, getting to know family members better, becoming an expert in something, serving your church, deepening your prayer life, watch more sport on TV.

    Don’t just keep these goals in your head as a vague list. Write them down. Ideally, share them with those closest to you. Number them in priority. And review them every three months to see how you are doing.

    Without doubt, a major factor in using your new time well will be having some passions, interests and goals that motivate you to get up and get going which leave you feeling good when you’ve done so.

    Structure your life: Putting shape to your days and weeks is easier for those born with the ability to make task-oriented lists and work at them methodically. They are the ones who don’t look back at a week or a month wondering why so little that they wanted to happen actually did so.

    Everyone else – probably you – would do well to create a diary and checklist that nails down when in the week they will do the things they desire to do. Of course this is going to be flexible. But without it your time is likely to be filled with things that take you away from what you really want to do.

    Your relationships: By this stage of your life you will know if you are more introverted (drawing your energy from within yourself) or extroverted (getting your energy from other people). In the same way that this shaped your workplace relationships, it will shape those now you are after-work.

    If you are the extrovert type then it will be highly important that you use your time to replace your workplace relationships with new ones. Either by joining something or seeking out family and/or friends who are available to do more things together with you.

How has having more time on your hands worked for you? Do you have a tip or insight to share? Please tell us on our Facebook group. And don’t forget to Sign Up to our blog.


The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife