Managing time and setting priorities is difficult whether you are sick or not. Everyone seems to be too busy to get things done. Some of you may have noticed that you rush around at the last minute to do something you need to do because you didn’t plan your day. Many of you have also spent time looking around for something you can’t remember where you put it. Some of you may have even shown up for a doctor’s appointment unprepared to ask the questions you wanted to ask because you didn’t have time to write those questions down.
These scenarios can make you feel overwhelmed, and increase your feelings of emptiness and uselessness because you have so many things to do and not enough time to do them. These feelings are exaggerated when you are dealing with a chronic health issue and chronic pain, because these feelings can become even worse. These feelings can also contribute to your stress level which can increase your pain!
Tips for Managing Time
To stop this cycle and to feel more useful, you need to starting managing time more effectively. In order to manage your time you need to determine which tasks are important to you and what kind of energy these tasks require. It is also helpful to get a planner or notebook and write things down. So here are a few tips for managing time and setting priorities.
- Buy a calendar or a weekly, monthly or daily planner. If a planner isn’t your thing, get a calendar and start a binder or a folder. This will serve as the place to store your appointments, important information, and to-do lists. By keeping your calendar and a planner, folder, or binder you will know where to look when you need that information.
- Make a list of things you need to do and a list of things you enjoy. Also make a list of things you want to accomplish such as short term and long term goals (here is a link that may help you set goals). Remember, it is okay to say “NO” when someone asks you to do something. You also need to remember to NOT worry about things you can not control.
- From your to-do list, organize your day with tasks. Make sure when you combine your tasks that you don’t overdo it and wear yourself out. Pace yourself. Break bigger to-do’s into smaller pieces. I do this when I clean the house. My motto is to focus on one room at a time and getting that room done. If I get tired I rest and continue later on or the next day.
- Take time each day to do something each day that you enjoy. Try reading, breathing, stretching, a craft, a hobby, or think of something you are grateful for!
Remember, even though you don’t feel well, don’t be guided by your fears. Too often we have a tendency to do way too much on the days we feel good causing us to relapse and spend the next few days resting. That is why managing time, setting priorities, setting goals, making lists and keeping calendars will help you avoid doing this and realize whats most important to you! Not only will it help you see what you are getting done, it will also help you to feel better about yourself. Pacing yourself will keep you from overdoing it on your good days so you can better enjoy them.