Caregivers know all too well that there are many tasks to complete in any given 24-hour period. We’ve put together some time management tips for caregivers which may help ease the stress of scheduling doctor’s appointments, managing home health aides, or arranging transportation and recreational activities. Additional tasks like these, piled on top of their regular to do list, leaves some caregivers wishing they could clone themselves.
Tips for Time-Stressed Caregivers
Time is often cited as the great equalizer – everyone receives 24 hours per day to spend. A good time management strategy enables you to plan and prioritize where your time is spent each day. A great time management strategy will help you build efficiencies – allowing you to work smarter, not harder, and with less stress. Here are five time management tips to help you get started:
This is one of the most widely known tips for caregivers in general – and applies as a time-management tip as well. Setting aside time for yourself when your schedule is overflowing may seem strange, or even selfish. However, daily self-care is an absolute must for caregivers. Better overall health, improved mood, and reduced stress have all been link to a consistent self-care routine. The goal is to find activities that leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your to do list. The amount of time you spend is up to you – take as much as you need. Quiet time each morning while enjoying coffee, or taking a short walk around your neighborhood after dinner are great self-care practices.
Related >> Simple Self-Care Ideas
Plan and Prioritize
Central to most time management tip lists and systems, planning and prioritization will set you up for success. Whether you prefer a paper planner or to-do app on your smartphone, it is important to keep your list in one place that is easily accessible. Check-in with your list throughout the day – updating to remove completed tasks, and adding new ones that will require your attention. When deciding how to prioritize your list, feel free to search for what has worked for others. Just be sure that whatever tips you decide to use fit your needs, and don’t be afraid to tweak until you are satisfied. Identifying categories for your tasks – daily, weekly, monthly – is a good place to start.
You have sorted through and prioritized your list – and of course, there is too much for one person to do. Comb through your list and identify what tasks you can ask your spouse, children, siblings, or close friends to help with. Next, look for chores that can be handled by a third-party service – cleaning, laundry, yardwork, etc. Finally, are there tasks that technology can make easier – like grocery shopping or telehealth appointments?
Touch it Once
When time is at a premium it can be tempting to set aside receipts and other paperwork with the promise of handling them later. Time management experts caution against the practice, as it causes unnecessary stress later. They recommend instead touching an item only once. Whether it is a receipt from a doctor’s visit, insurance paperwork, or an email from a home health agency, place it where it belongs as soon as you receive it. If it is something you will need to reference in the future, be sure to flag it when you file it.
From car trouble to a sick child – life has a way of interfering with our carefully crafted plans. When your schedule for the day or week has been derailed, re-prioritize, delegate, and reschedule as much as you can. Be okay with letting go of the things can be completed later, but make sure you are still setting aside time for yourself.
Read More Caregiver Tips
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