As is often discussed here, one's happiness in retirement as well as one's longevity may be correlated with how one spends that time. Lying on the couch all day watching TV might not yield the best outcomes. For some, an Alaskan cruise might rank high on the list.
It occurred to me that the BH community, planners all, could offer feedback on a structured approach to deciding how to spend this time. The rubric I'm envisioning is roughly analogous to what we try to do with an Investment Policy Statement -- externalize the "rules" for decision making so that impulsive behavior can be checked.
In brief, I'm borrowing from metacognition - thinking about thinking - to define the rules for deciding how to decide where I spend my time. Here is what I came up with and I would really love feedback!
If fulfillment in a task can be measured in terms of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, at retirement, the burden of defining these shifts to the retiree.
When one is working, Autonomy is generally constrained by the conditions of employment, for example, the schedule on which one must show up. Mastery is about the progression of a career: at some point one attains and applies it. And Purpose is, to some degree, about the alignment of one’s values with the mission of the organization: does what I do have meaning?
One of the privileges of a well-funded retirement is freedom: I can decide how to spend my days. Given that freedom, how do I decide in a principled way? Here are some thoughts about what might guide those decisions:
- Relationships Does it strengthen these, and if so, which ones?
- Health Does it support this - physically or mentally?
- Relaxation Is it downtime or strenuous / stress inducing?
- Values Is it in line with my values?
- Service Does it help others or just myself?
- Challenge / Growth Is it challenging? Does it stretch me?
- Frustration Is it hard to progress, such that it may be emotionally draining? Or: might it become political?
- Cost Is it expensive?
- Time Is it expensive in terms of time required?
- Risk Is it dangerous?
- Entertaining* Is it an enjoyable experience generated by others?
- Fun* Is it an enjoyable experience generated by me?
- Utility Is it productive in some beneficial way?
For example, I might apply this to a activity like Hiking with a Friend, as follows:
- Relationships Yes, I'll be spending time with a dear friend.
- Health Yes - it's exercise and also an opportunity for mindfulness
- Relaxation Depends on the hike -- can be strenuous!
- Values Yes, it promotes contact with nature
- Service Not really of service to others, unless I stop and make pitcairns
- Challenge / Growth Yes if I take on progressively more challenging trails/distances
- Frustration No
- Cost No, if I hike locally
- Time Yes, it can be an all day activity.
- Risk It can be if I take more technical trails
- Entertaining No
- Fun Yes
- Utility No