Recently retired? 5 Smart ways to be wise with your time


Do you ever find yourself saying, ‘Now I’m retired I’m busier than ever’?’ If so, perhaps you could do with some help to make the most of your after-work life.

Here are five simple and smart suggestions on how to be wise with your time.

1. Start right – or retrace your steps if you need to

Managing transitions – like moving away from full time work – are rarely straightforward. That’s what Michael Watson says in his book ‘Your First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter.’

In it, Michael stresses how important it is to nail down your expectations, goals and dreams as soon as you can. And he recommends some kind of timetable as to when you hope to see them happen. Its all too easy for your time to just be taken over with other people’s expectations.

2. Decide what’s most important

Be specific on your priorities. For example –

  • Nurturing your relationships
  • Keeping healthy and fit
  • Financial security
  • Fun
  • Helping others
  • Starting something new or rekindling an old hobby

If you are stuck for inspiration, there’s lots of suggestions for you on our New challenges webpage.

3. Create habits that’ll result in these things actually happening

Moving from one way of life to another calls for working out some new routines to replace the old. Perhaps things like –

  • Adding regular dates to your diary to spend with your partner and planning time with friends
  • Starting a realistic regular exercise plan
  • Keeping track of money and working out your budget
  • Having an adventure once a week
  • Committing yourself to activities at your church or some local volunteering opportunity
  • Joining a choir, signing up to a course, learning a language…

If that might mean doing something fulfilling as a volunteer check out the AfterWorkNet webpage on Serving.

4. Manage your time rather than letting your time manage you

If time management is second nature to you then skip this one. But if you are like most of us it is worth heeding the wisdom of the ‘retirement analysist; Bob Lowry.

Bob tells how he first started his retirement by making extensive ‘to do’ lists. He’d programme 15-30-minute time blocks for various tasks and activities, including his afternoon nap. But the pressure to deliver on his made-up schedule was too much and was he found he was doing most of it just to tick it off the list!

When he tried the opposite – just going with the flow and planning nothing – there was no structure and he didn’t know what to do.

Finally, Bob found a happy medium, using schedules and lists when that helped but feeling free to change his plans – because now his time was his own.

5. Keep things under review

Consider putting a time limit both on those things other people ask you to commit to and the ones you decide yourself to give a go.

Situations change. You may find you don’t like what you’ve got into. You may prefer to do something else with your time. There could be new responsibilities, health challenges and opportunities that face you.

That’s why agreeing on a specific date to review the situation when making a commitment is a wise move.

And think about a personal six-month review of how your time is being spent – maybe with the input from someone close to you.


Celia Bowring

Celia isn’t retired yet – although she’s recently changed from being office-based to working from home, so working out her own use of time. Celia writes the CARE Prayer Diary along with many other resources. She also chairs Pray for Schools. And loves being a hands-on grandmother!


  1. This looks like just the kind of thing we could benefit and hopefully engage in as we retired last year from teAching. Thank you for thinking of doing something like this. Sounds great.
    Kath x

    1. There are some great ideas on the website Kath. For example the work of Open the Book and Pray for Schools. May God guide you into much fruitfulness – perhaps in totally new areas.

  2. Would like to know more bout this please in the Swansea area I am a hands on grandmother but I do have plenty of free time and would be very interested in getting involved

    1. Hi Gloria. Perhaps you could show the website to your church leader; they may bee inspired too! meanwhile do have a good look through the website – there are loads of ideas to pray about. God bless you in your grandmothering!

  3. So great to see this new initiative Celia. It has been about 15 yrs since I was part of CARE NI. Are you still involved with. Living with Leadership? I loved those meetings! Terri

    1. Hi Terri,
      Thanks for the encouragement about AfterWorkNet.
      CARE in NI is going from strength to strength and we’ve just appointed a new Director – Tim Martin!
      Living with Leadership no longer exists but I’m glad you were blessed by those times for ministers’ wives to share together.

  4. AfterWorkNet looks like it has the DNA of a very valuable channel and tool for those moving into the Creative Years. Am right behind you all. Am gathering material for a book on these special years. Very exciting… Go for it.

    1. David, a book on the subject sounds great. If you are interested in contributing a blog for us do contact us through the website.

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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