Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Achievements Chart.

So far, I’ve had a very unstructured retirement and I love it. Every day, I get up and ask myself what I feel like doing that day. Then I do it.

Who wouldn’t be happy with that?

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a walking group on Thursdays, but I’ve only been to two walks so far. Aside from this “commitment”, my days are free and clear and I love the freedom in that.

I also like the feeling I get when I have a productive day. You know, when I Get Things Done. Given this, I began to think that it might be time to gently introduce a limited form of structure into my week. I want to Get Things Done, but without a rigid timetable or expected timeframe for each one.

So the Achievements Chart was born.

I chose 9 tasks that I want to move forward with each week.

I have a line in the chart for each day of the week. Every time I do one of these things, I colour the box in red for that task for that day of the week. With me so far?

The absolute beauty of this chart is its flexibility. I don’t want to give myself a job – I just escaped that!

For example: ‘Gardening’ is one of the tasks. Sometimes I might be out in the veggie garden for hours. Other days, I might be busy doing other things, so I simply race outside and pull a weed or two. Both count as a box-colourer.

I don’t need to do each category every day. I have a number beside each one that is the minimum required to get a success for the week. So I may have a day where I only get to do one or two tasks, but other days when I knock many categories over. It doesn’t matter, as long as I get to fulfil the number by the end of the week.

Then each task gets a green box coloured in, as a summary of the week.

My friend Scott won’t be pleased to see that I haven’t touched the quilt I’ve been making for him for 11 weeks. Oh well, what can I say? I haven’t been in the zone.

The beauty of this chart is that it’s very motivating. If there’s a spare 10 minutes at the end of the day, I can think, “I haven’t harvested anything today” and I’ll go out and pick some beans, just so I can get that box coloured! Or I’ll grab the dogs’ leads and take them for a gallop around the block.

Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, it’s interesting to see where my weaknesses are. I’ve already mentioned the quilting, but exercise is NOT a great love of mine. I could see that I was starting to drift into avoiding it again, so I made an effort to fulfil the requirement this week.

Blogging has fallen by the wayside a bit. I have 8 trips coming up in the next 15 months, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied with organising all of that. However, this will change in a week – Canada and Alaska are coming! Prepare for the travel posts!

My friend Blogless Sandy has been trialling this chart too and she’s loving it. The key to it is the flexibility and the personal goals that each person has for themselves. I’ve been doing it for 11 weeks now, and I plan to keep it going whenever I’m not travelling.

It gently keeps me on track, and I like that.

Dad joke of the day:


  1. Maureen Carreau

    Hmmm…, this is just the kind of structure I might adapt to accomplish some things I’ve let slide lately. Retirement is great and all, but motivation to be productive is a weak point for me. Thanks for the idea!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Give it a go! It’s working for me – I let it go for weeks before i blogged about it because I wanted to see if it would survive the initial novelty stage.

  2. Latestarterfire

    What a great idea! But I must admit that I’m looking forward to unstructured days 🙂 And wow, 8 trips in 15 months! Enjoy!!

    • FrogdancerJones

      I have a dog sitter for the next 3 years, so I’m going for it!

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