Some of my clients wrestle with physical issues which sap their energy in addition to the physical chaos: lyme, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, MS, auto-immune, to name a few.
“We have to make the systems simple to maintain because I never know what my energy level will be until my feet hit the ground each morning.”
If you think it’s difficult to organize your life or your office, imagine not knowing when your energy will just give up and float away. Each day, you won’t know what you’ll be able to handle.
And the lists just grow longer of things to do.
This post is about a few tips to shift your perspective about your time, not about your physical issue – that takes longer. But if you are newly diagnosed chances are that you’ve been working on or struggling with how to reorganize your days to best fit your unpredictable energy levels.
Plan in weeks, not days.
Think about what you need or want to get done this week, not on each day.
If you focus too much on “today’s list,” and your energy or physical challenges won’t cooperate, think how that will feel. Disheartening for days on end which will take such a toll on your outlook, which is connected to your physical health, and on and on.
Instead, think about your whole week and what you’d like to do with the time. If you have a rough day, you can move things to do from one day to the next and know that it is okay and even expected.
It’s useful to keep track of your energy cycles as well as how much you expected to get done versus what you were able to do. You might be surprised, one way or the other; without awareness though ….
“Calendarize” your self-care needs.
Your highest priority, to be understood by those around you, needs to be your own self-care. By self-care, I mean two things:
asics, such as reminders to take your medications on time, healthy eating, movement or exercise as prescribed.
Second, acquiring and maintain a mindfulness approach to your days: meditation, quiet, time to yourself, writing in a journal about how your health is going (for yourself and your next appointments), gratitude time, and so forth. Mind, body, spirit.
Obsess about the rhythms of your days.
What are your best times of the day? Highest energy times? Lowest?
What things on your list need high energy? Low energy? That’s how to organize your days. Think about the energy use of the things you need to do.
When you find yourself saying “I can’t do that anymore.”
You’re going to say it and if you live with family, they will, too. Only you can determine this, but here’s the twist.
There ARE things you won’t be able to do AS YOU USED TO.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do a part of it, or do it differently or do it with some sort of support.
ecause otherwise, that would be giving up, wouldn’t it. On bad days, you might like to. But on most days, you have a lot going for you in your life.
So instead of trying harder, try differently.
Figure out the small steps involved in the thing you used to do. Break it all down.
Now look at which parts you can do, even if not the whole thing.
Or how you could do it differently, at a different time of day, or with different support.
And if you need to, pick up some tasks from your partner and give away some you really can’t handle anymore. Always, there’s plenty to go around.
Acceptance … and then embrace it
Whether it’s a physical or a mental health challenges, we all have enough and are enough.
So this thing has happened to you and it might not go away. Take your time to work through it, and then make your choice.
And then embrace what you know are your strengths. Do the rest differently. Or give it away. Or don’t do it; let it go. Easy? No, of course not.
Check out this resource, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, if you have chronic physical or mental health issues such as the ones I’ve discussed here. Free fact sheets, common Q&A, teleclasses and more. This is where I’ve received much of my education in issues which impact organization of our things, our thoughts or our time; my instructors are often professionals who work with my clients, and sometimes actively collaborate to make it easier on the client and a more successful experience (only with written permission).