I feel like lately I’ve lost control of managing my time.
Days are speeding by, the things on my to-do list are growing and I’m not really enjoying life so much. STRESS is becoming my middle name. Time to stop, take a breath, and refocus for sure.
I got stuck in a bit of a flare earlier in the year, which happens sometimes. As much as I have my disease under control, it feels the need to rear its ugly head now and again. After a long discussion with my rheumy we upped the one medication I take, and it kicked off a round of respiratory crud and fatigue.
So I’m feeling healthier, joints are mostly better, but now it’s time to get my schedule under control. I would really love to feel on top of things again. How many of you can relate to that one?
I know that I need to form some productive habits, find the areas that I waste the most time, but also hone in on what I love to do.
Let me share with you a revelation (well, it was to me; you may see it as painfully obvious):
People with chronic illnesses tend to fail at self-care.
Yes, we spend a lot of time caring for our condition, but not enough time caring for our self, our soul.
Please don’t get me wrong, we have to tend to our bodies – planning our food, scheduling and going to appointments, researching meds, adjusting to side-effects, etc. etc. But how often are you doing something to pamper yourself, or something that you love to do? How about relaxing for the sake of relaxing. Maybe heading outdoors just to enjoy some beautiful weather and soak up rays.
I’ve gotten so caught up in dealing with RA and running my business that I lost finding joy in moments. I forgot to take care of me. And when we do that EVERYTHING suffers, especially my family – cause mom sure isn’t in a good mood most of the time.
What to do when it happens?
First, PAUSE. Give an honest look at what habits need to go, and what you need to develop. Personally, I was starting to spend way too much time in my morning fog. I’d get up and still drink my morning water/lemon oil/apple cider vinegar “tea”, but then I’d just sit for a while. Maybe scroll through my social media, maybe just doze. NEW PLAN: Get up, make my tea, be intentional about some prayer time while I drink, and then 15-20 minutes of personal development reading. I’m rereading “You are a Badass”, but I just ordered “Big Magic” at the recommendation of a friend and I’m looking forward to starting that. I already feel more focused and refreshed and I’ve just been at this about a week
Habits are important, and I don’t personally buy into the 21 day makes a habit thing. I’ve done things for a month even and then fallen off the wagon on gone back to old ways. I want to make REAL LIFE CHANGES. It’s possible. We do things all the time that are 100 percent habit – putting on your seatbelt, making coffee in the morning, heck, putting on your underwear first. I’m being very mindful about what makes a habit stick, so stay tuned.
Second, do something for you EVERY SINGLE DAY. Take a bath, or a walk, call a friend, work on a hobby you enjoy…..doesn’t have to be long or involved, but it has to feed your soul. I can’t tell you what that is for you. For me, I have let hobbies go. I love photos and doing scrapbooking or photo books. I can do much of that from my computer these days. I’m planning to get a few photo books done over the next weeks. It’s relaxing to me to play with layouts and look at pics. I also love to garden. We planned and planted a beautiful small flower bed last week, this week it’s on to a few veggies. Not so much that I won’t be able to keep up with it, but enough that I’ll need to get out there every day or two and tend to it for a few.
What are things that bring you joy? You’ll be amazed at how your productivity increases in other areas when you take a bit of time to sharpen the old axe.
And finally, take a good look at how you’re spending your time. What is productive and what isn’t? It’s helpful to keep a log of your time for a week or two. BE HONEST. You’ll really see where your time is wasted and where it’s being well utilized. Begin to prioritize and let go of things that are not helpful to you. My business is very much about relationships and helping people. And that is what I LOVE about it. However, I have to evaluate how I can help the most people in the most time effective way. And I have to help others to understand that my time is extremely valuable (which means I have to believe that as well)
Half of this is mindset, half is action. Something I found very helpful is developing a weekly schedule. I know that Tuesday morning is for writing. Non-negotiable. Wednesdays are for follow up calls/messages and volunteering at the animal shelter. And so on. I won’t bore you with my entire schedule, but I want you to schedule in the most important things to you. You know yourself and what is realistic for your health. Stretch yourself but not so much that you fall into a flare.
…..and one KEY tip –
schedule in time to check your email every day. A couple times a day ought to be sufficient. If it’s an urgent matter, you’ll get a phone call, right? Every time we stop to check email we then have to re-start whatever it is we are doing. TIME and FOCUS waster.
I’m using different oils for focus and motivation in the diffuser to support all this. I’ve strategically placed diffusers around the house (my workspace, the kitchen, the family room, the car…..) so that I can utilize aromatherapy to support this change in attitude and action. Mint and citrus oils are great for both focus and motivation. In fact doTERRA even has an oil called Motivate that is a combo of those oils. It’s one of my go-to premade blends. Creating my own is fun too!
Talk to me – are you happy with how productive you are? If you implement any of these suggestions, I want to hear about it!!! Share in the comments