Replacing Your 8

For many of us, dreaming about the time when we will no longer have to put in eight hours at work each day is one of the best parts of working. Instead of waking to an alarm clock every morning, making that daily commute, and spending every minute on someone else’s time clock, we’ll be living the retirement dream!

The idea of being able to just relax and the freedom that comes with doing nothing and being responsible to no one is definitely alluring. Especially after you’ve put in 30, 40 or more years in the workforce. Most new retirees do go through a honeymoon phase, where they feel like they are on a ‘permanent vacation’. According to the research, it typically lasts from 3-12 months.

But if you haven’t planned for how you will spend those eight hours formerly taken up by your workday, you’ll likely suffer what I call ‘drift.’ You’ll begin to fill your days with idle busyness – spending time on social media or watching TV, cyber-loafing, window shopping or just puttering around the house without really accomplishing anything.

Activity without purpose eventually causes boredom and malaise.

Without some structure, your days become weeks, weeks become months and before you know it, a whole year has passed and you don’t feel like you have much to show for it. Activity without purpose eventually causes boredom and malaise. And eight hours a day, or 40 hours a week, or 2,080 hours a year for 30 + years can start to feel like an eternity.

We crave meaning in our lives and purpose for our actions. Without it we can become lost. In fact, a significant proportion (up to 41% in one multi-country study) of retirees who do not have a well-developed plan for their life end up unhappy, and even clinically depressed within two years after they retire.

How will you replace your eight and the daily activities that filled your workdays to ensure you maintain a strong sense of well-being in retirement?

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