One of the strangest things to adjust to in life outside the bubble is a lack of routine. Training for elite sport is incredibly structured, and athletes will often go weeks and months without significant change to their schedule. When I retired last year, I was quite looking forward to not living such a regimented existence but, in reality, it is actually quite daunting and can be hard to manage. The thought of weeks without being told what to do and where to be sound liberating, but it’s easy to fall into a bit of an aimless lifestyle, without much plan or purpose.

Of course, some athletes will go straight into a job and be required to adopt a new kind of structure, but many will take some time away from commitments or, like me, will start to build a portfolio career in which they dictate their own schedule. Although it’s quite nice to not have the pressure of someone else shaping the architecture of my weeks, it’s also a little unnerving, and I find I have to plan things well to avoid the inevitable lackadaisical days where my main achievement is completing a season on Netflix or going to the Post Office…

For those who also struggle without the strict organisation that sport brought, I’m going to be uploading a series of mini blogs on some of the areas that I found most challenging, and my top tips for optimising your time, productivity and wellbeing beyond sport. Many of these principles will apply to other industries as well — navigating major change is not a challenge limited to sport.

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