Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Working…

Relax After WorkingI thought it might be time to take a little break from the serious stuff and discuss something a little more fun.  In all reality, this articles relates to the entire point of this site and what I’m trying to accomplish in life.  Early retirement is extremely important, but if you don’t know why you want it, you might not enjoy the free time when it happens.  So without further ado, here are the…

Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Working…

Playtime with my Daughter

At the time of this article, my daughter is just turning five.  Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely spend a good amount of time hanging around and enjoying playtime with my daughter.  As any parent of an only child can attest to, that kid wants to spend every waking moment with you (for now!).  And, as a family, we try to go places together as much as we can – camping, vacations,  etc.  In fact, we have a vacation to Sesame Place near Philadelphia coming up shortly for her birthday.

The problem is that’s not good enough for me.

I want to be with her more often.  Work isn’t necessarily in the way of this directly because she’s at daycare/school while I’m working.  However, while I’m working, I can’t get some things done during the day that then need to be taken care of in the evening (paying bills, etc).  Because of that, if my wife and daughter decide to go for a walk or go to the pool or whatever, a lot of times, I usually have to take a pass on it so I can get other things done.  This is not a “woe is me” type of paragraph and is just a fact of life… BUT that’s a lot of time that gets freed up when you don’t need to work a 9-5 job.

You might argue that every kid needs to learn to play by themselves to learn their independence and I do agree with that.  However, there is part of that balance that I’m a little short on.  My daughter can be very independent and I like to let her learn and do her own thing, but I want the opportunity to spend as much time with her now while she wants to since I know that in a few years that will start to subside.


I’ll be the first to admit – I don’t exercise as much as I should.  In fact, mowing the lawn and yard work tends to be the bulk of it for me on most days.

Am I going to blame this on my job?  Yup.  Ok, maybe just sort of.  I hate exercise.  Even if I wasn’t working and had the time, I’m really not a “go-to-the-gym to get a good workout” kinda guy.

However, I would definitely start walking and bike-riding more.  Those are things I do enjoy, but just can’t find a lot of time to make happen.

I also enjoy more strenuous exercise like racquetball.  I can only really enjoy some good cardio if it’s something fun like this.  Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find racquetball courts around here.  Also, just because I stop working won’t mean that everyone else does as well, so I’d still have to coordinate games around other people’s busy schedules.

Martial Arts

This would help out with the exercise portion of things.  I took Taekwondo for a short while as a kid and then a semester of Ishinryu Karate in college and really enjoyed it.  Similar to racquetball, I find this to be something fun so that makes the exercise portion of this a little more tolerable to me.

Additionally, it never hurts to become versed in self-defense.  It’s too late to become familiar with this after something bad happens.  You just never know when you’ll need the knowledge and the instinct.

Re-Learning to Play the Piano/Keyboard

When I was younger, I took piano lessons.  I didn’t take the lessons long enough to become really good, but I know a few songs and how to read music.  However, after that short bit of time, I stopped.  I still have a nice Roland keyboard, but it doesn’t get much use (with the exception of my daughter jamming out!).  With practice though, I bet I could become good – and when I say good, that’s what I mean… I don’t think I have the knack to become great at it.

However, to even become good, you need to practice.  And, unfortunately, I just don’t have a lot of time for that right now.  I’ve always regretted that I never kept up on this and I would love to get back to learning and practicing.

Sleeping In

Ok, so this might get old pretty quick, but I would love a week or so of good ol’ sleep and laziness when I first retire.  Us working-class people can get pretty burnt out over all the years of working.  A vacation always helps, but usually you end up with too much you need to do during vacation that you don’t get to just relax and enjoy it.  Or you waste a couple of days before your vacation rushing to try to get all your regular chores done so you don’t have to do them later.  Hectic… yuck.

I just want a good old solid week to do nothing but sit on my butt.  Maybe binge with some Netflix viewing to see all those movies and shows I’ve wanted to watch but could never get to.


I guess after catching up on some rest, I better start doing something productive… back to the grind, so to speak.  I actually enjoy writing – I’ve written and published two books already and it’s the reason I write this blog.

I’ve started this  site with the whole intention of having a venue to continue writing once I’m done with the 9-5 job.  My goal is to be able to continue writing and still be able to help others over the long haul.  The difference is that I’ll be able to do this on my own schedule and hopefully be able to make it more of a part-time gig doing it.


So that’s my plans on what I want to do once I retire.  What about you – what would you spend your extra time doing?

Thanks for reading!

— Jim

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13 thoughts on “Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Working…”

  1. A week of sleeping in?! LOL. We’re planning on a year! Though maybe we’re more sleep deprived than most. We’re also night people.

    Your list looks great. Like you, we want to play more piano, and get out on the bikes more. We also want more time for creative stuff like painting and writing, lots of time for reading, and many hours spent outdoors.

    1. I love the year of sleeping – that would be impressive! See, now you made think of more outdoor fun that I didn’t put on the list like camping, which is a favorite of ours! And, maybe we’ll have to put on a concert sometime together once we’ve both had some retirement time on our side! 😉

  2. Jim,

    Looks like we have a lot in common. I definitely feel like I should be spending more time with all three of my kids, especially instead of working. That being said, I’m definitely glad to have a job that lets me work from home so I can at least see them more often.

    The problem is that I’m usually shooing them out of my work area rather than freeing up time to spend with just them. We do it about once a week now and really, it should be daily or as close as possible.

    Recently, I just started getting more sleep. I’m not sure what triggered it. I think it’s the fact that I’ve been cleaning like a madman with all the birthdays going on in my family around this time. It’s inadvertent but very welcome. It’s made me think that I should stop going on walks so much outdoors and just plug my headphones in and clean my house three times a week. Better than just walking as it includes bending down to pick things up, plus it’s great for zen as it will remove distractions from the house. Plus, it means I can get rid of crap I don’t need more often.

    Also, I would like to get into martial arts if I can ever make the time.


    1. I hear you… I’ve spent some days working from home and it definitely is a tough balance where you want to hang out with the kids (or kid in my case) but you know you need to get your work done. That actually bugs me more than anything.

      Ah, I do remember a clean house – you’ll have to give me instructions on how to make that happen again! But I do know what you mean about events like birthday parties. Somehow you always figure a way to get things in shape again when an event is about to happen!

      Good luck in making retirement happen and finding the time to get done everything you want to!!

      — Jim

  3. I could write a very similar piece, and title it “Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Blogging.”

    I try not to let my online time interfere with all the important activities you bring up, but it’s tough to juggle it all, especially while still working. I’ll let you know when I’ve got it figured out.


    1. Haha, blogging does require a lot of time, doesn’t it?! It’s definitely a challenge to try to juggle everything going on in life – I’ll wait for you to figure it out and let me know the secret! 🙂

      — Jim

  4. Interesting. I played racquetball for several years and recently stopped to take up martial arts! Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to be exact. Insane workout. Actually wrote a post on my site about similarities between BJJ, Stoicism, and FI if you’re interested!

    And I’m also similar to you in that the type of exercise has to be fun or I won’t stick with it. Treadmills? Not a chance!



  5. Read more books, watch old movies, learn to play tennis, go back to uni, travel, cooking and baking, learn the piano, volunteer work, work on the garden, play squash, spend more time on my investments, redecorate, learn new languages, learn new programming languages.

  6. I’ve been on a mini retirement for 18 months now and its just become so normal now.

    I’ll keep it simple, I live now. I still do my own work during the day and have some projects on the go, but I make sure I control how much I do.

  7. Pingback: Christopher Guest Post: Route to Retire - Physician on FIRE

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