|I’m always hearing from caregivers that there’s never enough time in the day to do what needs to be done, not to mention setting aside time for self-care. It’s true that the “to do” list for caregivers can seem to be never-ending, and that can lead to additional anxiety and stress.
But let’s take some advice from interior designer Amanda Gates: “Exhaustion is not a status symbol or a badge of honor. Stop the glorification of busy, and learn to nurture your soul.”
Trying to multitask can make it even worse, resulting in lower productivity and less efficiency. When you multitask, you are actually shifting your attention from one task to another, which makes it difficult to tune out distractions and actually slows down your mental processing.
That’s why time management is so important to self-care. The ability to plan and control how you spend your time can be critical in helping you accomplish your goals, and this can help reduce your feelings of frustration and stress.
So, here are some simple tips that may help you manage your time more effectively:
- Use a “to do” list or a weekly/monthly calendar/planner.
- Break your lists down into small manageable tasks.
- Identify your distractions, and then manage or eliminate them.
- Take breaks.
- Strive for progress, not perfection.
It also may help to think of time management as being composed of three elements: setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and planning.
Where would we be without goals? Our goals reflect our personal vision for what we aspire to do, to be, or to become. Without goals we might just be wandering through life. I believe your goals need to start with your “why” – your passions and your vision for your life. When you truly know your “why,” you’re apt to make better decisions on how you spend your time.
Once you understand what’s at your core, in your heart and soul, it becomes easier to prioritize so that you’re spending most of your time on what’s important to you. Prioritizing your “to do” list helps you plan better, and if you have your calendar and due dates under control, it’s easier to prioritize what you need to do today.
Finally, remember that one of your priorities should always be YOU. If that’s not the case, then it’s time to re-prioritize. You should always have a place on your “to do” list, and why not at the top?
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers