This is the second of three articles dealing with positive changes that will create new insight and keep you out of Harm’s Way as you drive toward the Retirement Highway.Â The first of the three articles dealing with retirement and life changes was in the January/February edition. Â The three articles were written to help keep the driver safe and on the correct road.Â The first task was called the Graph of Life. The graph was to help a driver develop a positive attitude of life. The second task dealt with seven areas of self-discovery; the third phase dealt with defining values that are foundational to one’s life.
When the first three phases are completed they will guide a person to maintain a safe direction on life’s highway.Â Once a person has taken the off ramp on a new direction, it is very necessary to watch for hidden corners, sharp curves and roundabouts.
Roundabouts are a new phenomenon in the US’s highway system.Â They are used to slow traffic down, to help the motorist go in a new direction, or to rejoin the normal flow of traffic. We are going to do the same thing; we are going to do a roundabout and search for a new direction. Since roundabouts are circles we are going to use the circle as a coaching device.
Picture roundabouts in a pie shape with all the slices being of equal size and shape.Â With this pie we can divide it into fourths, eights, sixteenths and or thirty seconds. We also realize that since we are human we cannot make every slice really equal but that is okay; that is life!
I want to make sure you have a good visual of the example.Â It will help to picture being up in a helicopter looking down on the roundabout. It is in the shape of a circle or pie.Â You can see that it is divided up.Â It almost looks like a pinwheel with each section being a different color and design making it a nice looking mosaic.
I would like you to think about all the different aspects of your life.Â When I say aspects I am meaning all the plethora of activities, hobbies, commitments, involvements, obligations, and people involved in ones life.Â I want you to make a list of these. You need to list anything that might take a slice of you.Â Anything that you do, think about excessively, or are involved in that eats up your time and should be listed.Â Include all individual family members.Â List each one separately; list all pets, friends, clubs, and dreams.Â Also, please list any dreams and goals that you harbor.Â These are very important because dreams and goals consume an individual’s time. Oh yes, do not forget to put sleep on the list.
We all realize that we only have twenty-four hours, 1440 minutes, a day and that there are 365 days a year.Â No matter what we do, that is all the time we have. It is therefore important that we use our allotted time wisely. Now that we have a list of our involvements we need to count them and figure out the percentage of time spent on each area listed.Â Make one list using the percentage of time allotted to each daily and one list for the amount of time used in one week. Use this list to make a daily percentage chart and also make a weekly percentage chart. I realize that each day changes as to its demand on our time but if you can get an estimate, that will suffice.Â I think you will be surprised as to how your allotted time is spent.
The next step is to slice the pie with the items you have on your list.Â Name each slice of pie using all of the items. For example, one slice would be for each of your children. You might also have a slice for each pet.Â If you go to school then you need to include class time and on another slice you would put homework.Â If you do work at home that is related to your job then place that home work as another slice.
Once your time allotment pie is finished you have an interesting taste of your involvements.Â The next step is to make another pie with the slices equal to the amount of your time involvement. The object of this graph pie is to have a visual as to how you are using your time.Â Since we all have to sleep that slice will take up a major portion of our time as would eating.Â I think it will surprise you as to how much time is given to certain demands and slices.Â It is understandable that each day and each week will and can be different with the slices in constant flux. Your next step is to evaluate the results.
The final phase of this process will be to determine what is important on the list.Â You might surprise yourself as to how much time you are giving to some items and how little time you are allowing for other items. If you are having problems in one area of your life, the pie graph might illustrate that you are not giving it the time required.Â One of your children might be having problems at school and needs your help, and your time graph shows that you are not giving them the time they require.Â Because of this visual you might need to reorder the time allotment graph.
Make a new pie graph allotting a different percentage of time in certain areas.Â If there is an area that is in desperate need of time, your new graph will show it.Â Once your new graph is done, you can now work at making it a reality. This visual will be very useful when you decide to make time priority changes. If you can place colors on the different items it will make the spread sheet much clearer. It is important to realize that change is hard but very important. This is the hard part but doable. You can put this on a spread sheet then change it each week.Â Print one out for one week and see how it works.
When you retire or change jobs the pie graph will have to be reworked and redrawn to fit the new demands. When retirement arrives there will be a larger segment of time available for other items on the list.Â We all know that change is scary but with the help of a pie graph the mystery is not so intimidating.
If you really want to get instant feedback on your pie graph, share it with your family and business associates allowing them to give input on areas that they feel you might need to spend more or less time on. They can also make a pie graph to see how their time is managed. It will be interesting for both of you to be involved in the selection process.
These articles will help the retiree define the commitments and prepare for the next individual steps.Â Each person needs to be their own “Rainman.” You need to be seeking out ways to improve your situation.Â This improvement can take many forms: health, wealth, communication, self knowledge, and goals for the next season of life.
In the first article we evaluated the possible changes that will come with retirement or a sudden job change. Â Now we have examined how to use your time productively. The final article will center on specific steps involved in becoming an Administrative Determinate using this knowledge.