Category: time management

What will You Do to Feel Happier & More Relaxed this Coming Year, as a Caregiver?

With the start of a new year, most of us think about getting organized and decluttering our spaces. We know that we would feel better, be happier, and have the ability to do more. We want it. But, will we invest in the time it takes to get us there? Some will and some will not. Do you see the value of taking time and putting forth the effort to make your life easier, in all areas? January 4, 2023

What do you value?

What you value, you will make time for. What you value, you will do. It is that simple. It doesn’t matter if you “would like to” or if you “need to,” or even if “I have to.” None of those things matter. You get to decide what you will do or will not do. It really is a decision that you make. Find the health and well-being things that you enjoy. Nobody likes to do the grunt work. We would all rather do the “fun” stuff, but that is not the way things work. There is an upside. What you take care of now, you won’t have to fool with later and then you get to have more fun. You can get rid of the “I should’s” or the “I need to…” kinds of things and all of the stress that comes with that.

Being Organized is Your Friend (it helps your caregiver stressed brain a rest)

Organization is your friend. Getting organized is a process, it does take time, but it will be worth it in the long run. Think about it, no more searching for 20 minutes and sometimes hours on end. You know where it is and you can go and get it. Being able to put your hands on the information you need is awesome. Think of all the stress you don’t have to deal with because you have your stuff in order. Organization helps your brain to rest. Your brain needs downtime. That is another article and we will get to that later. Remember, you only have about four hours of focused brain energy every day. Organization will boost your health. By decreasing your stress, you have already helped your health. You will rest better, sleep better, have a better outlook on life. Organization helps you to control the things that you can control. There are so many things outside of our control, do what you can to manage the things you can. Organization helps you be healthier. You make time for meal prep. You plan food for your meal times and snacks. Organization will help you to be more productive. Yep, it’s true. Getting your ducks in the same pond will help you perform your duties better and more easily. They don’t have to be in a row, but they do need to be in the same pond.

Decrease Family Caregiver Overwhelm

Organization decreases overwhelm. How would you like to know who is doing what on each day? How would you like to know what you will or won’t be doing each day? How would you like to know what is coming up so you can make better plans for your days and weeks? Organization allows for spontaneity and unexpected problems. You know what must be done and can see what needs to be moved to a later date.  Things are going to “come up.” And stuff will “hit the fan.” Being able to make adjustments on the fly is what you need and organization helps you to do that.

Feeling Stuck or Paralyzed?

When you feel things are looming over you, you feel stressed and sometimes, that paralyzes you and then you are stuck. Feeling stuck sucks. It is hard to get moving when you feel stuck. If you are already in motion, then all you have to do is readjust or reorient and keep moving forward.

 Start with two areas in your life. You get to choose which two

    • Your work area
    • Your “To do” list
    • Your email – read it, do it, delete it, save it in a file folder, and answer it when you read it ** Do email two or three times a day only. Example – beginning of the workday, after lunch, before going home
    • Meal prep – every Sunday (or whatever day works best for you)
    • Make time for friends and family
    • Dedicate 30 minutes – 1 hour to plan your week
    • Develop a chores list and when to do them
    • Schedule your workout days and times – walking, running, lifting, bicycling, yoga, etc.
    • Journalling for 10 – 20 minutes daily
    • Reading for 10 – 30 minutes daily
    • Social media scrolling and interacting for a maximum of X amt. of minutes or hours per day and set a cutoff time every evening.
    • Declutter your home
    • Declutter your desk
    • Work from a check-off list
Be consistent! You will get there.

Maybe, you will do better with big bucket areas:

    • Work
    • Home
    • Home life
    • Bills/Finances
    • Health
    • Leisure time/Hobbies/Interests
    • Relationships
    • Personal growth
    • Education/Expanding knowledge
    • Caregiving

What does organization look like?

    • Focus on what is important
    • Identify tasks – pick only 3 things at a time
    • Delegate what you can
    • Create To-do list
    • Use a planner to keep up with the agenda
    • Use labels/Dividers
    • Set goals – use SMART system         Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
    • Track your progress – Are you achieving your goals in the allotted time? Would it be better to block out periods of time? Find what works best for you.
    • Limit your distractions – unnecessary phone calls, texts, emails, other people
    • Use a timer
    • Reprioritize, when necessary
    • Take a break – sometimes 5 minutes will do and sometimes you need 20 minutes
    • Deep breathe – to help you decrease your stress and to refocus
    • Be flexible – bend, don’t break
    • Do a brain dump – get it all out so you can be creative, solve problems and imagine. Write down everything you need to do, think of appointments you need to make, bills you need to pay, people you need to see, tasks you need to complete, presentations you need to prepare for and make, etc. Don’t censor yourself and don’t put them in order. The goal is to get it out.
    • Be realistic about what you can complete in a day
    • Leave space for the unexpected
    • Eat the frog – Do it first thing in the morning and get it over with. Tackle the most difficult task first.
    • Work for 25 minutes on one project with no interruptions or distractions, then take a break for 5 minutes (get up and walk around).  Keep doing this cycle until you are done or as long as you are productive.
    • Avoid re-clutter – read it, handle it, throw it away, put it away
    • Never leave trash in your car

Oopsie! I messed up…

Yes, you will mess up every now and then. It is okay, no beating yourself up. Start where you are and get back on track. The mess-ups will happen less and less. Getting more organized is to help you. It is another tool for decreasing stress and improving productivity. When you improve your productivity you are less tired both mentally and physically. Pat

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time and Recharge Your Tired Brain

Promises of a better life, an easier life, if you will only use the XYZ method of time management. You are convinced that if you knew and could master the trick of managing your time to be more and more productive, your life will be better.

April 27, 20222

How many phrases pull you in to the “That would make my life better and easier?” Probably, quite a few. Why? Because, we are dealing with crap that is standing in our way of our lives being better and easier.

We see the ads, we see the promises, and we even search for solutions. Of course, we are leery, we have either bought or done things before that did not work for us. Still, we search. Why? Because, we want better. Something is out there to help us; it just has to be.

We have thought about time management wrong

What if we have thought about time all wrong? Maybe, we have only been managing deadlines, this whole time? Use a planner, they say. Planners and date books are great for solid meeting times, appointments or deadlines. There are list makers and there are fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinds of people. I am a list-maker, but I have learned to leave space for spontaneous goings-on. Changes, reschedules, opportunities, missed out times, it is all good. Time marches on no matter what we do or don’t do. Our energy on the other hand, is finite. It does run out. We do need to rest and recharge.

Doing a mental versus physical activity and the energy levels each takes

When doing a physical activity that does not require a lot of focused attention to detail, we get tired. We rest, get cleaned up and we are ready to go again. When doing mental activities that take a lot of focused attention to detail, we have about three hours a day before that energy is zapped. Sorry, but a short rest and shower will not fix this energy depletion. The brain must rest, from processing information. Daydreaming is a nice way to rest the brain. Letting your thoughts wander is great too.

What can you do to rest and recharge your brain?

    1. Go for a walk

    1. Take a nap between 10 minutes up to an hour

    1. Take a shower, leisurely

    1. Play sports

    1. Stretch

    1. Go outside

    1. Journal

    1. Color or Draw

    1. Watch animals play

    1. Listen to music

Find what works for you. If you know that you will be having to process a lot of information, learn when you perform at your best. You may already know that you can only be detail oriented for an hour and a half at a time. Great, you have two of those blocks per day.

How to stay focused during your workday

Depending on how detail oriented I need to be or how much research that I need to do, I know that I have about three hours a day for that intensity. After that, I will need to do other tasks that do not take as much effort and energy. My best times are usually from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm and from 2 pm – 4:00 pm. If I have reading and research to do, I protect that time frame so that I will be at my best to work on my clients needs.  I check email once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. I scan the news in the morning and late afternoon. I check Twitter and facebook mid-day and late afternoon. I have this routine and I don’t waste any brain energy trying to figure out what I am going to do or not do next. Routines and habits help you conserve brain energy.

Chasing rabbits and wasting time

We can all go down rabbit holes at any time. We learn to catch ourselves doing that, course correct and go forward. Mindless scrolling, is a rabbit hole. If you are having trouble with that, set a timer for 10 minutes. Do something else. Read. Journal. Chores. Plan for the next day. Walk. Daydream.

Learning to calm yourself benefits your brain too. When you focus on the problem or issue, you get stuck because you cannot think about it in any other way. By taking a break, getting away, playing or being fully present in the moment, you can rest and let your brain work in the background. Who knows, it may come up with a brilliant new way to look at the situation or find even better options.

New perspectives. New ways to think about brain energy. New ways to plan your day. Give them a try for two weeks and see how you are doing. Make adjustments, you may be surprised at how much better you feel and how much easier your tasks become. You get to do your most intense work when it is best for you, your brain and your body.