Earlier this fall, I had an interesting thought: What would I stop doing if I retired at the start of 2024? The idea behind this thought was that there may be things I could stop doing at the beginning of next year even though I’m not yet retiring!
Like many of my thoughts, however, this thought soon began to morph into deeper territory. What do I really think about retiring? Besides those things I would stop doing, what things would I continue doing? Would identifying those things help me gain perspective that I’m on the right path? (Spoiler alert: it did.) And finally, what would I start doing?
A Work in Progress
This is admittedly a work in progress — and for the sake of brevity, I’m not sharing everything. But I’m sharing some of my thoughts because my hunch is that this exercise will be helpful to you as well, regardless of where you are in your career.
Also, let me clarify: When I’m talking about retirement, I use that word in the traditional American way — the thought of stopping my current role/ work. In a sense, I think of it more as a transition in that I would likely transition from one role to another versus stopping work altogether. In other words, when I say “retirement,” I mean that I am no longer doing my current work.
So what’s next? What would I stop, start, and continue?
What would I stop doing?
- I would stop interacting with my professional work email.
- I would delete 98% of my personal emails without ever opening them.
- I would stop getting up before 7 AM.
- I would stop keeping an office at Hoffer Plastics. Instead, I would come in and use one of the remote workstations.
- I would stop keeping a planned schedule, which means that my activity would be run much more by the Holy Spirit than the weekly planner I currently use!
What would I start doing?
- I would take a cooking class with my wife (with a focus on grilling.)
- I would start making time for longer walks in nature.
- I would start spending time with young leaders, asking questions, and focusing on how to build them up.
- I would start walking the golf course more with a caddy to slow down on the golf course.
- I would start taking the time to build into a younger person while playing golf.
- I would start allotting an hour of the morning to slowly read a physical book. Doing this multiple times a week would greatly impact my life.
- I would start popping into my local church with the primary focus on building the young leaders there. How can I encourage them? How can I support or help them?
- I would start being the “supporting cast” and not the “lead” in all areas of my life. As the above indicates, I want to support, build, and encourage.
What would I continue to do?
- I would continue to focus my travel on spending time with Sarah.
- I would continue to read my Bible first thing each morning.
- I would continue to pray nightly with my wife.
- I would continue to work out a minimum of four days a week.
- I would continue to meet with an accountability partner two times a month.
- I would continue to listen to leadership podcasts.
- I would continue to read content that would help me learn.
- I would continue to play golf — the same amount in summer, more in winter!
- I would continue to write this blog.
- I would continue to travel and visit business relationships when invited/needed to.
What I Learned
What did this process teach me?
- I need to create more limits around screen time, given that much of what I’d eliminate is related to email.
- There are easy things I can incorporate in 2024 that would positively impact my life. For example, I can make time now to meet with younger leaders to encourage them. I can also start slowing down by walking on the golf course instead of always riding in a golf cart. Come to think of it, I need to invest more time in walks outside in general, as that emerged as a theme.
- Finally, there are many things I am currently doing that I would continue to do. I should celebrate this.
Now it’s your turn! I urge you to spend some time this week going through this exercise. I think you’ll find that it will help you reap positive benefits going into 2024.