The Early Retiree’s Weekly Schedule

“But what will you do all day?” they ask when they hear you are going to retire early.  “I could never retire, I would get so bored” they proclaim.  Thank goodness there are tons of employers in this world who will gladly tell you how to spend your free time if you let them.

Don’t get me wrong – I get bored easily.  The prospect of sitting in a waiting room for an hour without any source of entertainment or external stimulus scares me.  It’s even scarier if I’m forced to watch day time TV while I wait.

Fortunately we live in the twenty first century, a glorious time filled with entertainment overload, instant digital connections, and unlimited choices of pastimes (indoors and outside).

 

The Weekly Schedule in Early Retirement

I thought it would be fun to look at a typical week for me because it might help others figure out how they can fill their free time.  The schedule also shows the diversity of daily and weekly activities for me.  No two days are alike, and each day typically has a mix of a lot of fun, a moderate dose of physical activity and a small dose of work.

I don’t adhere to a strict schedule since my only recurring time constraints are the morning and afternoon kid drop off/pick up times.  In other words, I know where I’ll be around 8 am and 3 pm each day, but otherwise my schedule varies a lot day to day and week to week.  This past week was pretty fun, partly because Mrs. Root of Good is on her sabbatical right now so it’s like a test run of early retirement for her too.  I loosely modeled this schedule on what we did in the past week.

early-retirement-daily-schedule

Download this weekly schedule in Excel spreadsheet format (.xlsx)

The legend at the bottom of the schedule breaks out each activity into five categories: Work, Meals, Physical, Fun, and Social.

On a weekly basis, I’m spending my time as follows:

  • Work – 13 hours
  • Physical Activity – 18 hours
  • Fun – 35.5 hours
  • Social – 7.5 hours

I tend to spread the work out so I’m not working too hard on any particular day.  On most days, I’m not spending more than an hour or two on activities that I define as “work”.  In addition to housework and yard work, I’ll spend a few hours each week on “personal finance” which varies week to week but includes paying bills, managing my credit card hacking habit, and checking on our cash flows, spending, and investments.

Personal Capital saves a ton of time since I can check on cash balances at multiple banks and brokerage firms in one place, and get a quick overview of when bills are due.  I can check my asset allocation and see if any dividends are waiting for me in money market accounts.  I’m no day trader and typically go months without buying or selling anything in our investment portfolio until our investments deviate significantly from our asset allocation.

Physical activity varies a lot by season and daily changes in the weather.  Winters in North Carolina are chilly and summers are hot and humid.  But even on cold days, it’s often nice on sunny afternoons (with a coat of course).  On hot, humid summer days, the mornings are usually the best time to enjoy outside activities.  After I quit working, I started walking for short errands instead of driving like taking the kids to school and going to the grocery store or library.  This increased weekly physical activity while also saving a few bucks on auto costs.  My new shoe costs probably went up though.

I put “adventure time” on the schedule and this is intentionally vague and open ended.  Sometimes we’ll hit the road for a walkabout, visit the park, library, and community center, stop at a restaurant, and get back home a few hours later.  Or we’ll walk the 3.5 mile round trip to drop the kids off at Grandma’s house.  Or drive to one of the city parks or nature preserves and enjoy a fun afternoon exploring along trails and creeks while hoping to see some deer, hawks, or fish.  Other times we’ll attend a festival in downtown (living in the city, there’s always something going on downtown).

Fun and social time add up to 43 hours per week.  Early retirement is like a full time job where tasks consist solely of having fun and socializing.  Everyone has their own definition of fun and their ideal level of socializing each week.  I like a lot of solitary activities but also enjoy the company of other people.

I like to read, write, research, learn, relax, enjoy the outdoors, play video and computer games, and watch documentaries, dramas, and comedies on Netflix.  Throughout the week I try to get in a little of each of these activities.  I rarely do any of these things for more than a few hours at a time, and if I tire of one activity I’ll move to something else more enjoyable for a while.

Sometimes I’ll get really passionate about a particular idea and spend a few days absorbed in that new project.  I’ve done that with vacation planning, learning photoshop and foreign languages, and even learning how to blog right before I started Root of Good.

So far I haven’t experienced any boredom in early retirement.  But if I do, my first action will be to search for new activities to jump into.

What happens if something breaks around the house or another emergency arises?  I’ll be working more for a short period of time and have to cut out some of the fun time during the week.  That probably means less time surfing, blogging, and watching Netflix.  I’m loving the flexibility of my schedule because it allows me to cope with unexpected issues as they arise and doesn’t mess up my schedule for the whole week since I know I can always have tons of free time after a couple of days.

 

The Working Man’s Weekly Schedule

Here’s what my weekly schedule looked like when working.

full-time-work-schedule

All the fun stuff is crammed into a tiny sliver of workday evenings plus a few hours each day on the weekend.  Working late, traveling for work, or kids’ school activities in the evening meant nearly zero fun time on those days.

If something broke around the house or on the car, that meant more work and would squeeze out most of the fun time for a day or two.

That’s pretty much why I chose to exit the rat race as soon as I could.  This schedule has way too much red and not enough blue.  Yet people voluntarily subject themselves to this schedule for decades at a time.  Go figure.

 

Returning to our youth

Kindergarten was a lot of fun.  I don’t remember learning anything because it seemed like we floated from center to center doing fun stuff all day.  Looking at the daily schedule for the kindergarten at my kid’s school, I see a lot of parallels to my own daily schedule.  It’s a mix of fun stuff, casual learning, and “work” in the form of math, writing, and reading.

I assume it’s no accident that reading happens very early in the day, writing happens in the middle of the day, and math happens late in the day in order to mix the hard work with the fun so the kindergartners don’t get burnt out by day’s end.

The kindergarten daily schedule for those that adore routine

The kindergarten daily schedule for those that adore routine.  I miss finger painting.

Moral of the story: even if you don’t copy my early retirement schedule, consider adapting the kindergarten class’s schedule for your own purposes.  Mixing in a little work with the fun provides challenges to keep your mind and body sharp without any unnecessary stress or performance expectations.

 

 

What does your ideal early retirement schedule look like?  

 

 

88 comments

  • Most of the small number of people that I have told about my early retirement plan ask the question about getting bored as well – it’s like they are fearful of the freedom to choose how they spend their time.

    While some of them might look at your schedule and think it looks boring, I personally think that it looks brilliant. I look forward to having a similar schedule for myself in about 7 years!

    • Awesome, good luck reaching your goal in 7 years! After a decade or two of working, I think humans start to love the structure that the chains of work provide. It’s a routine. You go in, you are important (maybe), you see your “friends”, people listen to you, etc. You finish the day, maybe accomplishing something (maybe not), then go home.

  • Awesome, thanks for sharing your schedule.

    I don’t think it will be too hard to fill up a day once I leave the work force.

    Cheers!

  • Oh man, that sounds like a very fun schedule. I do admire that you are still willing to schedule things, even in retirement.

    I also do not understand the question “what will you do all day”. When someone asks that question, I believe they inherently show to you they lack creativity or ability to think for themselves. You can do so much with free time that retirement provides, including spending time with family, reading, learning new skills, traveling, exercising etc..

    • The “what will you do all day” question leaves me with the same impression – do they lack the creativity to find exciting ways to fill their days? I can think of a lot more exciting stuff than sitting in meetings, catching up on email, dealing with office politics, etc.

  • I just want the freedom to do whatever I want. 🙂

    • Sounds good to me! I don’t stick to any real schedule, but this is about as close as it comes to describing what I end up doing in a typical week.

  • Great to see that it is easy to fiull up your day when you are retired. It is indeed something that keeps me busy as well. I have the need to be busy, working on stuff… But that does look to be an issue looking at your schedule.

  • Wow, your schedule does tend to resemble that of a kindergartner’s. That’s amazing! You seem to do a fair amount of reading. Do you have a “book list” or something you’ve read recently? Thanks.

    Eric

  • This is such an inspiring post. I would love to have a schedule like yours one day. Being able to work on things as you like instead having to “work” all day would be wonderful. I think the key in early retirement is to keep yourself occupied.

    • Thanks!

      I love waking up in the morning with absolutely nothing to do all day, yet somehow manage to stay busy and engaged at whatever I do and never finish everything I wanted to by day’s end. Luckily there’s always tomorrow.

  • Vawt @ Early Retirement Ahead

    Looks like a schedule that is just up my alley! I think the reprioritizing of tie from work or commute to time with kids is one of the single biggest factors in racing towards financial independence for me. thanks for sharing. (also, gald to see video games are on the list, I get probably 1-2 hours a week these days and I need more!)

  • We get the “what will you do all day?” question all the time, and always laugh — we will NOT have trouble filling the time! 🙂 Love seeing your schedule, and actual time to get outdoors (and maybe to play a video game or two).

  • Thanks for sharing your schedule. It looks packed with fun and interesting things! When I transitioned into semi-retirement and took on part time consulting projects, I found that I now have more time to read, exercise and engage in social activities with friends. When I was working full-time in a very demanding job, I had no energy and felt tired and stressed all the time. I now play group sports four times a week for 3 hours, cook at home and experiment with new recipes and I am having the best time of my life!

    • That sounds awesome! I didn’t really mention it much in the article, but we’re able to cook a lot more now that we have more time too. Yesterday was lasagna and artichoke dip (partly because I love those dishes and partly because we’re emptying the fridge, freezer, and pantry before heading out of town for 7 weeks 🙂 ).

  • I’d argue you could (budget allowing) outsource 10 of those work hours. I get the waking the kid and doing the ABCs and 123s. However, everything else could be outsourced or automated. Do you enjoy those tasks and don’t mind keeping them on, or was it a tradeoff (retire now, do some work myself) decision?

    • I’m not sure how much time I would really save and it would probably cost more than the $20/hr price tag I put on my time (which equates to about $30 per hour gross earnings). For example, it’s a 15 minute job to load the dishwasher and unload it once it’s done. It has to happen sometimes 2x per day, sometimes only after 3 days. I don’t know what it would cost to have an on call house cleaner to outsource this task, or whether I’d have to go to a daily or 5x per week cleaning service. The upside would be that a housekeeper could spend a couple extra hours throughout the week to knock out the laundry and miscellaneous household cleaning.

      And when it comes down to it, I’d rather work 10 hrs/wk at my own pace to make sure everything gets done correctly versus spending a few hours overseeing the work and running errands to drop stuff off and pick it up (like car repairs or laundry). None of the tasks are that bad (except maybe mowing grass in the middle of July in NC 🙂 ), so we DIY for now. We didn’t explicitly budget for lawn care, housekeeping, etc but could pretty easily work it into the budget.

      I find that when I have all week to complete the 10 hours or so of “real” work, it’s not really a chore. I might spend an hour or two fixing something and then get that “job well done” feeling of accomplishment. Then have the rest of the day to do purely fun stuff. I actually enjoy strange things like troubleshooting appliances and miraculously making them work again (must be the engineer in me!).

      There’s also the physical activity component of doing housework and yard work. Mowing 1/3 of an acre is a very solid workout for a couple of hours. I’d have to replace that activity with some other physical activity or suffer a net loss in physical activity.

      So to be more succinct, I don’t dislike the tasks enough to outsource them, but there’s also a strong element of keeping it simple and not spending money on the services.

  • Is your son extraordinarily self directed? I only ask because the various blocks of time dedicated to blogging/internet surfing seem like they would be “fun” aka checking on child’s mysterious silence every 2-3 minutes, which eventually would yield playing with cars and trains. Or maybe there’s a big development gap between 2 and three years old.

    • There’s a huge developmental gap between 2 and 3. 🙂 That’s probably the best answer. Our little guy can play by himself for an hour or more sometimes. He also knows how to use tablets and computers to play games or watch his favorites on netflix/youtube. That didn’t happen 1 year ago.

      Although after putting together the schedule, I realized my fun time might not be as efficient as I described it, because there’s plenty of checking up, getting caught in 30 minutes of building something with legos or staring at bugs outside plus the normal parental duties of feeding, watering, and assisting with bathroom time.

      But yes, I get plenty of long blocks of time where I’m reading a book or playing a game and Mr. RoG Jr. entertains himself.

  • If you are a self-motivated and have even a little entrepreneurial bone in your body, then being bored will never be a problem. I find that some people have to be motivated by someone else (i.e. employer) and those are the types that would get bored. I myself would have so much more time to pursue my hobbies and passions that they would just replace the time I’m at work. And who knows, one may even yield some sort of income down the road! Great schedule sans video games (I just never got into them 🙂 ).

    • I tend to have more ideas to keep me busy than time in the day. And I’m with you on the self-motivated / entrepreneurial comment. I’ve always had a knack for coming up with ways to stay busy and sometimes make money.

  • Great idea keeping a loose schedule DURING retirement! What a wonderful way to see how your days are spent, especially in comparison to how they were spent when you worked. I very much look forward to having a schedule like this and am glad to see it’s working so well for someone else.

    • Yeah, it’s a very loose schedule. 😉 Today (Tuesday) started out like the Tuesday in my schedule (4.5 mile walk to drop off the kids at school then go to the hardware store, with a detour through a trail in the woods along a lake where we found a dam covered in graffiti and some angry geese), but it’s ending more like a Monday. And our Wednesday on the schedule will be our Thursday and Friday this week (swimming in the AM). Our Saturday will follow Sunday’s schedule.

      Gotta keep it fresh each week. 🙂

  • Love it. I’ll probably have a little more structure in my days than Mr PoP in FIRE since I tend to want to do things that are pretty weather-dependent. (ie need to be outside in the early mornings most of the time). But Mr PoP prefers much less structure. He just likes to make a list (of fun and work) and cross items off as he accomplishes them in whatever order strikes his fancy that day.

    • Whatever works, right? 🙂 I think we’re more like the latter in practice. This week we don’t have a lot of planned activities other than swimming Thu and Fri mornings and a family/social event Saturday afternoon and evening. The rest of the time will be filled with adventure, lots of fun stuff and a little work. A little structure is good, but too much is just like work.

  • Outstanding article. I like the graphical representation of the retired versus work schedules since a picture truly is worth a 1000 words. As for being bored, it hasn’t happened in the 14 months since I retired, either. Between fun, working out, doing jobs inside and outside the house, there are not enough hours in the day. And as for outsourcing, I prefer to do everything I possibly can; tired of hiring people to do bad jobs when I can do some things better myself.

    • That’s the same conclusion I’ve reached regarding outsourcing. Small stuff that’s easy to DIY, might as well do it myself. Big stuff – probably worth the time and effort to get a pro and spend the time overseeing the contractor. Just fixed our A/C (blown capacitor) in about 1.5-2 hours time (including an hour of watching random youtube videos and reading HVAC forums). $25 for the part vs. probably $80-100 for a service call, $100 labor for the repair and grossly inflated markups on the part itself and possibly being scammed or being the target of unnecessary upselling (“get this service done now while we’re out here and you won’t pay a 2nd service call charge, and if you don’t get it done we won’t warrant today’s repair”).

      I think I found a good HVAC guy (referral from a friend/neighbor that’s a retired HVAC guy) but I had a really bad experience in the past the one time I picked a “qualified HVAC tech” from our electric company’s prescreened service provider list (had to show him how to read the pressure charts in my unit’s documentation…).

  • I’ve been RE since 5OCT2012 and haven’t experienced boredom yet.

  • I love the variability and openness of the schedule. It’s a pretty stark contrast to my work days.

    It’s also worth noting how much of my weekend time is devoted to taking care of all the things you are able to leisurely spread throughout your week.

    • Yeah, it’s the weekends while working that take a beating. I could manage 5 days of work but it’s a little disheartening to reach the weekend and realize you have another full day or two of work at home to take care of.

  • A couple things sprung to mind that you didn’t really talk about that would be interesting to discuss… First, I hear from ‘retired / non-traditional entrepreneur’ folks that having an ‘office’ is awfully nice (and tax deductible!). I suppose, if you really don’t plan to do anything but be with the family and / or relax, it’s not a necessity – but what is your opinion? Second, having just come off the Memorial Day weekend (extended by a bit of heavy weather here in Houston), I found myself looking pretty unstructured and unproductive by days 2, 3, and even frustrated on day 4. I realize that this is mostly because I’m not retired, however, I just seem to get so much more done when I feel pressure and time constraints. It was how I was in college and still how I am now 19 years later – or at least that’s how I feel (going in to work on 4 hours sleep because I really needed to finish what I started). If I know that there is always tomorrow, why go to all the trouble to ‘finish’ anything? And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, my lifespan might be spared an extra decade or two, but you’re also only young once. My 70 y.o. Dad is enjoying life as much as ever (volunteering in Haiti, adventuring to the Antarctic), but he’s not the same ‘driven’ guy he was at 40, and being driven when you are amenable to it can produce some incredibly impressive results.

    • 1. Home office – Not necessary but nice. I have my “blogging computer” that is a desktop with 2 monitors and it’s where most of the writing happens. And I have a file cabinet for personal and biz stuff which has a “Root of Good Accounting” folder in it for hard copies of stuff. So much of what I do is digital that I don’t feel that home offices are a requirement, but it’s nice to have a quiet(er) place to camp out if the kids are going crazy.

      2. Productivity – It all depends on what your goals are. If it’s “enjoy life”, then do what makes you content. I’ll sometimes “set a goal” of sitting down and reading a book for 2 hours. Because that’s exactly what I want to do at that moment. Once you’re retired, there just isn’t that much work that you have to do (13 hours per week for me, and less in the winter when yard work disappears).

      I think it takes around 6 months to fully decompress from the need to feel productive (in a work-related sense with metrics, performance goals, objectives, KPI’s, etc). Toss that garbage out since you only have to do what YOU want to do. I struggled with that (the blog filled that “need to be productive” slot in the early days of my ER). Mrs. RoG struggled with it in the first part of her sabbatical. Now, I don’t really care if I didn’t “do” anything all day because those are often the happiest days. 🙂

      The big stuff (overseas volunteering, visiting Antarctica, etc) has to be planned for or it’ll never happen. There’s always tomorrow but you might not be physically able to do as much at that point. If accomplishing big stuff is important to you, then maybe make a bucket list and try to check off at least one item every year. I’m hoping to make one major long term international trip at least every other year, for example.

  • Hi JustinROG!

    Wow man… I adore your schedule. Games, Netflix, Surfing & Blogging? Sounds like the perfect life. I initially thought “Adventure Time” meant you were watching that cartoon tv show, and I must admit.. You would’ve gotten a couple bonus points for that.

    Retired at 33 seems so great. I can relate to the people who wonder what they’d do, I’d love to semi-retire, work independently eventually. Write blogs, program apps, write a book, etc. So much time to do so much, yet a 9 – 5 usually has many of us locked down.

    Best regards,
    Dividend Beginner

    • Long term, I might dabble in programming and write a book. I’ve played a little with some different languages and programming platforms and online learning resources but never got very far (yet). Maybe when I have more time. 🙂

  • Your new schedule is much better than your old one. Nice going!
    I bet your days just fly by because you’re spending so much time with the kids. That’s how I feel. This long weekend was way too short.
    Today we went for a 2 hours bike ride/ingress game. It was a lot of fun, but the little guy complains a lot more now a day about being tired. When he was 2, he never complained…

    • Sometimes it does fly by, but then I think about all the stuff we did in a week and it seems like a really full schedule. We’re ticking off the days till our Mexico trip and those days are disappearing rapidly, although I think we’re basically ready other than packing our bags.

      So you’re doing ingress now? Cool. I still play it occasionally. I have my own portal in our neighborhood park that I try to keep Green all the time. Are you blue or green? 🙂

  • Sign me up. Although it will take me a little longer to get there, but I am RSVPing now.

  • My ideal schedule looks a lot like yours. Can’t wait to be retired.
    I don’t even have time to netflix in the evening nowadays!

  • That is a great use of time my friend. I cant believe you do so little blogging, and your blog is very good. All the fun activities replaced the work activities, now that’s genius. Good luck.

    • Sometimes blogging morphs into surfing, so there might be more time spent on the blog than I show. When I write a typical article, I spend 2 to 8 hours depending on complexity (although half that time is often me researching things I benefit from too like the recent ACA income limit/subsidy article).

  • Ha, just came back from our holiday and we had a very similar schedule during most of it. This was a family centered holiday, so not much sight seeing and more visits to friends and family, lots of walks, bicycle rides and boating.

    We mentioned to various friends what we are planning to do in about 7 years, and they react exactly as you noted. However, when you ask them the question if they prefer work over a holiday, the answer is simple. Then mention that they should see FI as a permanent holiday and it starts to make a lot more sense to them. But then the “how do you do it” often comes up.

    Another questions I tend to ask is if they prefer work over spending time with kids/friends/family, that usually is a no-brainer as well, but actually taking it to that level is still met with resistance. It seems that most folks like the idea, but are not sure if they actually want to get there, apparently its complicated ;-).

    • Work would have to be pretty awesome for me to enjoy it more than spending time with friends or family or engaging in other fun activities I enjoy. Maybe your folks’ reaction stems from never having much completely free unstructured time in their lives.

  • Aah envy! So does your Reddit time count as surf? I just wanted to say I appreciate your posts on the financial independence sub. You are always very patient and helpful. I discovered this concept for myself last Sept and my whole outlook has changed. I’m 39 and about 5 years out from FIRE. I was thinking we were 25 years away but blogs like yours have opened our eyes to the possibilities, so again, thanks.

  • I fit exactly into that second chart – it’s sad. I really like the look of the first one! When I picture myself early retired, I’m gardening, riding my bicycle, running around a big yard with some dogs, learning (always learning!), spending days at the beach, or weeks camping through some mountain trails, traveling the world, maybe taking a ride into space (okay, maybe not that last one..unless I go all end-game S. R. Haddon for it, maybe..). Of course, in most of these imaginings, I’m still my 28-year energetic youthful old self. 🙂

    Quite honestly, RoG, I feel like things have only gotten serious in the past few months for me in regards to early retirement. I’ve been reading blogs for years and I’ve been thinking, “Oh, yes, I’m saving, of course, I’ll get there!” but I feel like only lately has it actually really clicked inside my brain that I’m treading in still waters. I’m putting 10% in my 401K, and that’s about it. It depresses me a little to think that with my lofty goals, I still just *didn’t* get it all these years, up until about March (however, I did pay off a 6.8% student loan last year; woot!). I think it’s clicking very recently because we are buying our first house, and I’m wondering if I should aggressively put all my money to paying the mortgage off (3.625%), paying off my two student loans (1.95% and 2.5%) or just shoving as much of it as I can into a few funds to grow. I guess this is all a part of growing up and things definitely got real! I’m getting wordy – what I mean to say is, I hope that by December of this year, I am able to save at least one whole paycheck, between 401K, IRA, and taxable accounts (I’m not sure if I should count paying off loans/mortgage as savings – I can see it argued both ways).

    So thank you for continuing to write about your adventures and journey through early retirement. I sincerely enjoy reading about it! It is such an inspiration, a great motivator, and I grow a little bit every day from it.

    • Glad to serve as inspiration while you craft your own FI plan!

      As for the pay off debt vs. save debate, remember that accumulating wealth starts out slow and you have a long climb ahead of you to reach the summit of FI but you can enjoy the journey as you get closer to your goal. I wouldn’t pay off the student loans at 2.5% or less. The mortgage at 3.625% is a closer question. You’ll probably beat 3.625% in investments over a decade, but you might not over a shorter period of 3-5 years. The math says to invest as much as you can at a 7-8% expected return and pay as little as possible on the 3.x% debt. But emotionally, paying off debt can help you feel more secure knowing you owe little or nothing on the roof over your head.

  • I love, love, love this post! My husband and I are almost FI, but plan to work for “fun” if we choose to in the future. Your schedule shows that everyday life isn’t glamorous, but it’s what you want to do and that’s the point! We have three kids, 13, 8, and 7 so I’m sure ours will look something similar (with lots of travel, which is our passion!).

    • That sounds very awesome! Once you free yourself from the requirement to work, you can do pretty much anything you want, which includes working for fun (something I haven’t ruled out in the future!).

  • I never understand why people think we’ll be bored in early retirement! The only time I’m ever bored is when I’m at work! I look forward to a similar blend of different types of activities. An ideal day for me would be spent partially outside working on homestead projects (gardening, hiking, repairing stuff, chopping wood, etc) and partially inside writing. Sounds like you’ve got a great schedule going on!

  • Nice visuals! I would, however, argue that some of the nasty red work in the schedule would (at least for me) change to an the enjoyable light blue color if I didn’t have the day job. That is to say, I like to clean the house/do house projects when I have the time and energy. It’s no longer work, it’s satisfying.

    • I feel the same way. I don’t mind most of the work except maybe vacuuming, cleaning sinks, sweeping, that sort of thing. And mowing the lawn when it’s over 90 degrees.

      Personal finance – well, I kind of like it. 🙂

      Teaching ABC’s, it’s called parenting and was a choice.

      Dishes aren’t bad at all since it’s only 5 minutes to unload and 10 minutes to load and I often do one or the other while I’m waiting on the kids to put their shoes on or waiting on the coffee to brew, so it would probably be unproductive standing around time anyway (worse to me than actually doing something. 🙂 ).

  • Amazing to see the contrast in those two schedules! That beautifully color balanced schedule is absolutely something to aspire to! It really does seem obvious comparing the two side by side that life isn’t meant to be all work and no play…

    • When you reduce it down the the most basic level, the chart with all that red reminds me that modern day Man hasn’t evolved much since the days of the cave man. Now we’re chasing zeros in spreadsheets at a desk or driving to/from work in our cars most of the time instead of chasing prey. Definitely nice to have the option to go to the schedule with not a whole lot of red (with some of that able to be outsourced if we got really lazy 🙂 ).

  • This schedule is incredibly helpful. I’m still a few years from FIRE, and I’m not even sure I’m interested in the RE part. I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out such a schedule as an abstraction/hypothetical future life. Your calendar has made those imaginations a bit more real!

    As I debate and ponder this issue, I’m starting to realize that the best part of FI is that it gives one enough leverage in many jobs to start to shift towards preferences for creative work and more flexibility. In my own life, I’ve reached the point where I can focus on creating knowledge and working on ideas, and not simply “working” in the less engaged/toiling sense. I think that if we look at hapiness models, this kind of actualization is high up in the “heirarchy” of human existence/hapiness/fulfillment. The ability to have FI allows one to do this in a less fearful/compromising way – basically to live at a level of, “FU, I’m living for me and my family!”

    Based on this, I think the best part of financial independence is the freedom it gives one in HOW ONE WORKS, and not necessarily the freedom NOT TO WORK.

    • That’s the key takeaway of FI. It lets you decide how you run your life without worrying about covering your day to day living expenses. How you spend your time and whether you work and how you work is all up to you.

  • Wow…that work schedule is depressing to look at when compared to the early retirement one. But that work schedule is pretty much what mine’s looks like…except I have a longer commute time unfortunately. Looking at the early retirement schedule definitely motivates me to reach early FI.

    • I don’t know how you guys in the big cities do it with the long commutes. 8+ hours of work and multiple hours of commuting every day. I guess that’s why some big city folks get a reputation for crankiness. 🙂

  • I spend a lot of my time as a caregiver but the sheer joy of not having to commute or go to a job I hate makes retirement a wonderful thing. I have been retired for a year and a half. I have plenty of time to read and get more involved in my photography. I have yet to be bored. I spend less time on my finances now because everything is pretty much on auto-pilot. I do a brief review once a month and take a more in depth look every six months. Retirement is happiness x infinity.
    I hope everyone reading this blog will have the opportunity to experience it.

  • I only run across your site this year and have enjoyed reading your posts. It is great to see people achieve their goals towards FI and early retirement.

    This post really hit home for me – what will my schedule look like once I retire? My life today is much like your past schedule where the bulk of you hours during the week are filled with work. What a concept to flip that schedule on its head for things that are more important than work! 🙂

    I too may be retiring before my wife. Granted I am older, have worked longer, and have made more money than her. I can’t wait!

  • Hi RoG,

    Ah man! That’s a lot of red in the working mans schedule, and probably not enough for some. I sure can’t wait to reach the FIRE schedule 🙂

    I get bored easily, especially at work, so managed this by changing employer or career every few years. Found the concept of Financial Independence last year, re-organised my habits and hammering my way down the path.

    Thanks for the article, a nice huge chunk of motivation gained 😀

    Mr Z

    • Congrats on learning about FI! Kind of blows your mind that FIRE is possible once you really learn about it.

      You’re right about the amount of red. Some people have looooong commutes and work way more than 40 hours. I was very fortunate to have 10-15 minute commutes and rarely work more than 40 hrs.

  • The weekends go to fast and didn’t do much last night was tired from work are often spoken by the 9-5. The FIRE is spoken as I didn’t even know it was Monday and I’m not going to get bored in retirement. I’m choosing FIRE over 9-5 every single time.

  • I’ve heard about them, but I’ve yet to meet a retiree who had trouble filling his or her days. The most common comment is something like ‘I don’t know how I ever had time to squeeze in work!’ I do though have a 50-something brother whose work has been his life, and I wonder how and what he’ll do when he retires. He claims retirement is coming in a few years, but I think he’s the sort who will expire at his desk. Paid employment seems to make him happy, so who am I to judge!

    • I’ve heard a lot of comments along the same lines. I don’t know what I would do all day. However it’s mostly coming from people who can’t retire anyway, so it’s kind of a moot point. 🙂

      As for your brother and his love of work, there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily! I wish I found something I loved doing every day, but it simply never happened. I imagine it’s a great feeling to love what you do and make decent money while you’re at it.

  • Enjoyed reading this post. I am reminded of 2 books by Ernie Zelinski, “The Joy of Not Working” & “How to Retire Happy, wild & Free”. What this post & the books remind me, is that it is good to think ahead & even do some planning for post work life. I have a little less than 4 years till I retire, and I plan to have a schedule not unlike yours, with different pursuits mixed in for each day. As a sometime workaholic, I recognized that I might want to work, so I am 6 months into starting a side gig, that should be a pretty good part time (maybe 20 hours per week) business in 4 years. Although I don’t see a problem with being bored in retirement, as I have many interests to pursue, I do recognize that the switch from having 40+ hours per week basically pre-scheduled, to creating your own schedule, can be maybe a bit challenging, but it sure is a challenge I am looking forward to.

    • You could always program in an hour or so of “schedule management” each week and devote that time to making sure you’re as busy as you want to be. 🙂

      A part time gig isn’t a bad thing if you enjoy what you do (and a stream of income from the side gig means you need less to retire or your portfolio will be safer). I’ll sometimes tell people I “run a website” when asked what I do, since I enjoy running Root of Good and talking about the business and technical aspects if the person I’m talking to is into that stuff at all.

  • Love the post and charts! Just love them. (reminds me of a Tim Urban, waitbutwhy post!)

    Listening to NPR “Dangerous Ideas” Friday. They talked about how now leisure time is more stressful than working. I can see that.

    You seem to be heavily scheduled. They encouraged lots of “do nothing” time. I really agree with that.

    Your time with the kiddos, while fun and rewarding is really “work” time disguised and fun time.

    That and many people really like their work time.

    So the dichotomy between work and nonwork time is not cut and dried. Perhaps you could brainstorm another way of thinking about it?

    One would think that there are times or stuff we like to do that we really, really like and that brings us joy and to increase those time frames or activities while decreasing the activities that are just so so or antijoy.

    I for one, really appreciate our daycare provider as when I was not “working” there was just too much kid time.

    So perhaps you could develop a qualitative scale?

    You might find in the not too distant future that you actually desire to work and find a position that brings more joy to your life than doing dishes, video games, errands etc.. You would have to set the terms of course. Which from your position of strength would not be difficult.

    I recall that you had a really “cat” job that appeared more like fun than work to me.

    I think when people think they would be “bored to tears” not working they are pretty much thinking of the schedule you currently follow. Of course, as always, I could be totally wrong and you could have the absolute perfect deal just now?

    • Most of my schedule is actually “do nothing” time, except doing nothing is whatever I find interesting or exciting at the moment. I don’t follow this schedule that strictly, but modeled the schedule off of roughly what I had done in the past few weeks.

      I think I do have the perfect deal right now and it would be pretty hard to replicate my schedule and the flexibility of the schedule with any kind of a real job. I probably wouldn’t be able to pop off to Mexico for 7 weeks (Mrs. RoG’s somewhat unique ability to do the same notwithstanding). I couldn’t say “hey I don’t want to do anything for the next forever so maybe I’ll work more but maybe I won’t” to any kind of employer (it might even be hard to do that with freelance clients if I wanted to go that route).

      Of course if I ever do get to the “bored to tears” moment, I can always polish the resume and go back to work in some capacity. Just hard to imagine that day ever coming unless the absolute perfect job walked in my front door and offered itself to me. I’d take $100,000/yr to play video games 2 hours per day, for example. So far there’s a strong mismatch between what I would like and what the labor market offers. 🙂

  • Though I don’t think you will ever run short of ideas to be busy in early retirement, I suggest gardening can be a great idea as well !!

    • We dabble in gardening but have little success. 🙂 Our typical busy summer overseas travel schedule also means we are gone during the middle of growing season. Our raspberry and blueberry bushes did well this year though we left for a 2 month vacation (where we are right now) before the blueberries matured fully and before any blackberries ripened. Our housesitters will eating well though. 🙂

  • The whole point of retirement is not to have a strict schedule. When we were on our final year up to retirement, so many people asked what would we do all day, or we were too young to retire. What we do all day is exercise, go out for breakfast, work on investments, sit on our deck and enjoy a nice day…..with an occasional bout of housecleaning or laundry thrown in. The point is, we don’t have a schedule and after 10 years of retirement, I can honestly say we haven’t been bored at all.

    • It sounds like your schedule is similar to mine. 🙂 Just that I laid mine out on the written page to see what it looked like. I don’t follow any really strict schedule, and my evening schedule is sometimes my morning schedule. My Tuesdays are sometimes my Fridays and I don’t get to Monday until Thursday (or not at all!). The only things that have to happen are waking up, getting kids to school, yard work every few weeks, and eating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *