As I sit to write this, I’ll first be completely honest with you about the fact that my choice right now is using my energy to write this blog post or taking a shower (so it’s probably good you can’t smell me across the screen ;) )
Managing life with chronic illness requires making constant decisions on where you will spend your energy - will I get groceries or will I do my physical therapy exercises? Will I fix my hair before going somewhere or save the energy so I can actually leave the house?
So, as I breach this topic of productivity, let me first just start by saying that I am honestly in grateful tears over the fact that I can even think about productivity and not just survival. Having said that, I want you to know that while I hope what I share is helpful, it may not apply to you, your health situation, or your work situation. However, I wanted to share these with you in case it is helpful! For me, it is hopeful to still be able to grow in productivity even while managing chronic illness so here are a few tips!
It has been really helpful for me to specifically plan out each week - everything from food to rest times to work tasks to medical calls - literally EVERYTHING. This enables me to have a more realistic view of my week because while I wish it didn’t take away my mental energy to make that insurance call, it does! So, I need to allow for that!
I have learned that for me, I’m most productive if I work when it works and do something else when it doesn’t rather than trying to force it. Sometimes I have a scheduled time to work on specific tasks and I have a headache or feel particularly exhausted. So, if after giving it a shot I am unable to be productive in that way, I do something else. Perhaps I can’t write content, but I could document some expenses from that tall stack of receipts! Or maybe it’s doing laundry, grocery shopping, or just resting so I can work the following day.
On the flip side, when I have a burst of creative ideas, I try to roll with it!! Even if I can’t fully execute something at that moment, I can at least write the ideas down!
Hinging on the last point...when I am on a roll, I try to do as much of that one thing as I possibly can! So, for example, if I am in a writing mood, I may sit down and write a couple week’s worth of social media posts. Or, if I’m having new ideas for paintings, I may go ahead and create a few or at least draw out the ideas for them.
VARY ENERGY USAGE
While batching is helpful, it tends to have to be in short spurts for me. I’ve found that often I am able to do more in a day when I vary the kind of energy I’m using. So, if I’ve worked for an hour or two and am mentally tired, I may switch to cooking or working out for a little bit before resting.
While all these things are often helpful, let’s be real, sometimes it ALLL goes out the window, because life happens, right? The car breaks down, you feel sick, etc. And when that happens, I am trying to learn to be flexible and embrace whatever the moment brings!
What helps your productivity? I’d love to hear - comment below! :)