How To Turn Leisure Time Into Work In Retirement

Looking forward to leading a more leisurely life in retirement? Of course you are! Even if your retirement plans include some type of work activity, you’ll  enjoy having more control over your time and schedule. As a result, your life will definitely feel more leisurely. Make it your intention to keep it that way. It’s easy to turn leisure time into work in retirement if you aren’t thoughtful about what you’re spending time on.

Everyone has a different idea about what their retirement should look like. For most, it represents a break from work and daily routines. The variety of activities that people engage in are what make retirements unique and meaningful. As your full-time career takes a back seat, you’ll spend more time on leisure pursuits.  And those activities can easily take on a work-like quality if you let them.

If you approached your work life with high energy and felt the need to always be busy and productive, making the adjustment to a less intense, retired life could be difficult at first. You may enter retirement with the same expectation to be productive and feel driven to achieve. In fact, your ideal retirement could involve taking on as many new activities as possible. Volunteering, joining groups, part-time work, exercise, and household to-do lists can quickly fill your time.

If this sounds like you, your initial retirement life will make you feel successful since you’re so involved and feeling productive. No one will call you idle with this type of schedule.  There’s no doubt that it’s important to have a variety of activities to get involved with once you retire. But as you dive in to these new activities, think seriously about if you’re actually enjoying them or not. Are they adding to your life or just filling up your time?

Being busy just to feel as though you’re productive is not going to give you that meaningful life you’re looking for in retirement. It’s one thing to enjoy the volunteer activity you signed up for and to see the value in what you’re doing. You feel appreciated for your contributions and see that your time is going towards a good cause. It’s a whole different dynamic when what  you volunteered to do begins to feel like work.

Don’t get so wrapped up in doing the activity that you ignore the importance of actually enjoying it.  Yes, you’re busy and productive.  But is fun? Pay attention to the overall rewards you’re getting. Don’t turn leisure time into work in retirement.

In this example I referred to a volunteer activity. The same logic applies to any new project or group you may choose to participate in after retirement. You may have been waiting forever to pursue your passion for music or to join a sports team. If it adds value, great. Keep with it. But don’t fall into the trap of continuing on just because it keeps you busy.

Here’s the thing, many of us like to say we’re busy because it makes us feel like we’re valuable and contributing.  Finding new ways to feel useful in retirement can be a real struggle for many retirees who always defined themselves by their work. Once their work goes away, their overall sense of self-worth can decline.

It’s comforting to say that you are continuing to be “busy” in your retirement.  It makes you feel like you are adding value and makes you feel useful.  Just make sure that whatever activities keep you “busy” are actually contributing to your life and not just filling up time.  If you follow an activity even after you no longer enjoy it, it will begin to feel like you’re back at work again.

You’ve waited a long time to retire and pursue activities that are meaningful to you. Enjoy all the variety and freedom this time brings and make wise choices as you begin to add new events to your life. This is your time. Move on and try something new if whatever you first select doesn’t turn out as you expected. Don’t turn leisure time into work in retirement.

The Retirement Style Blog routinely discusses a variety of retirement transition issues. For a full framework of retirement resources, please visit our Retirement Success Series. To speak with a certified retirement coach about your personal needs, please contact us.

Recommended Posts
  • Norm

    Great suggests. Love to see and hear more.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
3 ways your spiritual life enhances retirementHow to Finally Put Yourself First In Retirement