Do you find yourself saying “I’ll do it when I feel like doing it?” Sometimes there are things in life we have to do that are not as enjoyable, the scut work that goes with the territory of the roles we fulfill. Here are some strategies to get you rolling so that you have more time left for things that are beneficial.
1. Eliminate distractions: This fits into a previous article written where we outline the 4 Ps: Prioritize, Plan, Pace, Place. If your phone keeps chiming while you are trying to get a task done, and you can’t help but entertaining it, it may be a good idea to put it on silent or keep it across the room until a scheduled break.
2. Just do it: Anyone can do anything for just 20 minutes. If you are having a tough time doing something you ought to be doing (e.g., exercise), why don’t you try setting a timer and going to the basement and doing nothing else but exercise until the timer sounds? Even if you don’t exercise at what you believe your potential to be, you have taken a step in creating a new habit of devoting 20 minutes per day to exercise. As results and fruit come from this habit, you may feel encouraged to dedicate more time to it or put more pep in your step while you are doing it.
3. Commit: If the strategy above won’t work for you, you can make it challenging to back out once you start. For example, if you can’t reliably workout at home on your own, you could always go to the gym. Then you’ll have to workout as you’ve paid the admission fee and have already invested the time in driving over there.
4. Schedule a post-task reward: If you keep imposing task after task on yourself, you may not get away with it. That is, you may start to resent your life and what you are doing to yourself. Why don’t you reward yourself with a “treat” for not procrastinating and taking-care-of-business? Perhaps a mani-pedi, a massage, or hiring the kid next door to shovel your driveway.
1. Your time: A good practice is to sit down for 30 minutes one day a week to make a schedule of things that must get done, things that would be nice if they were to get done and things that can be put off.
2. Your environment: This is an old philosophy in many cultures – Feng Shui, Vastu. Perhaps the time you are spending cleaning and dusting the knickknacks (or even otherwise) you have in your place aren’t worth the joy they bring. At a practical level, getting rid of stuff or organizing your stuff can save you time and free up the things you have on your mind.
This is a common lesson to be learned by the more perfectionist crowd. Sometimes the solution you want to exist doesn’t. Thomas Sowell (Professor at Standford University) said “There are no solutions – only trade-offs.”
You may have to make concessions.
The most common issue we see in those that set down the road to recovery for their concussion is trying not to fall too far behind in work or school, and that attitude sucks them into a challenging situation where they have to rehabilitate themselves – which requires time, mindful effort and relaxation (think vacation-like relaxation for those just starting out on this road) – and keep up at work. All of this equates to them trying keeping up with their former selves!
Time management is a big topic. An occupational therapist can help with this. Read over Covey’s Time management matrix. Try increasing Q2 activities and cutting out Q3 and Q4 activities. (Covey, 2013)
1. Think about asking for help: This can be hired or help from friends/family. This can be help with driving, groceries, lawn work, shovelling the driveway, finances, meal preparation, etc. If you can arrange things so you have an hour or two extra a day just to relax and perhaps do your exercises if you haven’t done them already that day, that will be a good practice. This is a good practice even for those without concussions.
2. Think about challenging what really matters to you: Maybe you can let somethings slide. Perhaps having the perfect yard is not that important to you and you can have simpler plants in your garden this year.
3. Think about investing in processes that will save you time in the long-run: For example, perhaps the meals you made were quite elaborate before this injury. Perhaps you can invest in a new cookbook with fast and healthy recipes. This way, you will learn a new way of cooking that will see you still eating tasty and nutritious food, but also saving time for R&R. Maybe you do like guacamole and didn’t know it?
Covey, Stephen R.; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Simon & Schuster; Anniversary edition (Nov. 19 2013)
Dubord, Greg. (2011). Part 6. The CUE question. Canadian family physician Médecin de famille canadien. 57. 573.
Speed, Brittany & L. Goldstein, Brandon & R. Goldfried, Marvin. (2017). Assertiveness Training: A Forgotten Evidence-Based Treatment. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. 25. 10.1111/cpsp.12216.