Learn how to manage your time with a chronic illness fibromyalgia

Use your productive time effectively!

How many times have you woken up late because you forgot to set an alarm? How often do you find yourself rushing out of the door, forgetting your lunch in the process? Does it happen you completely forget appointments or dates, or even where you’ve last seen your car keys? You’re not alone.
Below will be tips and tricks on how to organize your life; from DIY decor to agenda planning. By applying some of these simple tools, it’ll be much easier for you to lead a positive lifestyle with less stress (or, that is my hope!).

Organization is not an innate skill; you are not born with the natural ability to manage time and events wonderfully. It is developed and honed, and usually takes a lot of mishaps before you find what fits your lifestyle best. However, below you will find the psychology behind organizing, simple steps you can take to better your surroundings, an agenda to download on top of what the positive impacts that come from living a more structured life.

PSYCHOLOGY 101
Chronic Disorganization can affect anyone, no matter your level of income or education. Most people who are chronically disorganized tend to be highly intelligent, creative, outside of the box thinkers, having a high EQ and are likeable. However, when stressed , they can exhibit symptoms like being impatient, perfectionists, having emotional outburst and depressive episodes. Introverts tend to be disorganized more than extroverts studies have shown, but this does not mean an extroverted person always have good time management skills as well.
Organizing your life can help you reduce your stress and cortisol levels.
But what even is cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone released by your brain during periods of stress. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to memory and learning problems, lower immune functions, bone density drops, increase in weight, blood pressure and cardiac (your little ticker) disease. Not only that, but it can lead to elevated risks of mental illness and lowers life expectancy.
Cortisol is released as a fight or flight response from your adrenal glands. Two separate studies published in Science linked elevated cortisol levels as triggers for mental illness, especially in youth.

TIPS&TRICKS

  • Make sure to open your emails and declutter every day! Making sure you stay on top of communication will avoid any mishaps with employers or personal relationships.

  • Set a weekly day to go through and open your mail and pay you bills. Do not wait until the month to pay everything all at once. When you go pick up your mail, throw out the junk mail immediately. Once you have opened it, take action right away. Pay the bills that you can and answer any communication that day.

  • Choose one meal preparation day where you create a meal plan, detailing all of the ingredients needed. Go to the grocery store and only buy what is on your list!

    Prepare your meals ahead of time. Make two to three larger suppers that you can freeze during the week, or cut up fresh fruits and veggies for a quick snack during the week!

  • Try to keep as much as you can online! Use a calendar app such a Google Calendars to keep track of important dates, switch to mobile banking instead of paper banking and try to keep communication via email! This reduces your clutter and the risk of you misplacing something important.

    If you must use paper or prefer it, make sure you keep separate folders for bills, communication and an agenda. If you do use the paper agenda provided below, make sure to keep on track of it!

  • Make sure your desktop is free of clutter, that you empty your trash once per week and that you delete any unimportant files on a monthly basis! This will avoid you searching through hundreds of documents for the right one, and will keep your computer running smoothly.

  • Don’t be afraid to throw things out! This is where a lot of people struggle as they find emotional connections to materialistic things. However, if you haven’t used an item in over six months and there is no big significance behind this item, donate it.

    When throwing things out, go with your initial gut reaction. Whatever you don’t have a very strong urge to keep in the first few seconds, discard. Usually your initial reaction is logical, before you start processing emotionally.

  • If there are things that you do not want to throw out and yet have not used in over six months, I suggest putting them in storage! This will take up less space and you will know where the item is when you do need it, instead of it being hidden under a pile of dirty socks in the back of your closet.

    After washing your clothes, put them on hangers inside out. Every change of season (3 months), take whatever is still inside out and donate it !

  • When you are feeling overwhelmed with tasks, sit down and write them out. Creating a list helps you prioritize assignments, and seeing it clear and concise makes accomplishing the task easier. Furthermore, crossing out an item on the list after completing it is proven to bring stronger sense of accomplishment.

  • Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking may seem like a great idea, but your most productive when you put in your whole concentration on one topic and move forward after it is completed to the next one!

  • Every day, make sure to pick up anything out-of-place. Make sure to put aside one day to clean your space thoroughly, and once a month to clean it from top to bottom (walls, baseboard, trims, etc). This reduces the amount of dust and allergens in your apartment which reduces your risk of allergies and respiratory infections, plus a clean house is wonderful to come home to at the end of the day!

  • Limit the amount of distractions around you when you are trying to finish a task. If you are working on a project for school, enable parental locks so you can’t access social media tools until you are finished. If you are cleaning, turn off the TV so you are less distracted. This will reduce the time it takes for you to finish and will assure a much more up-to-par completed project.

  • Ask for Help! If you have a friend who is amazing at organizing and can give you tips, or you have the money to hire someone to help you clean and organize, do it! The less stress you have in your daily life, the more you can focus on yourself.

    Set some time aside for an activity you enjoy doing every day. This does not have to be very much time, if you love to dance around in your underwear every morning for five minutes, do it! Adding some fun and positivity in your day, as well as a bit of spontaneity, will allow your days to feel less monotone.

POSITIVE IMPACTS

MAKES YOU WANT TO TEAR YOUR HAIR OUT A LOT LESS
According to a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women who’s living environments that were considered as “cluttered” and had “unfinished projects” lying around were unfortunately finding it harder to go about their day, felt less excitement and optimism about life, were fatigued and depressed and had higher levels of cortisol (remember that stress hormone we were talking about earlier?). However, when interviewing women who typically kept their home tidy, those women answered with feeling “restorative” and “restful”.

HELPS WITH MAKING YOUR BODY HAPPY
When making sure that your meals are premade and that your snacks are healthy, you are assuring your body a constant source of fuel for the day. You end up making healthier lifestyle choices through this! Furthermore, Stress can make people overeat or having diminished appetites, so by reducing stress, you manage your eating habits which helps with your mood.

IT CAN HELP YOU GET BUFF
Well, not legitimately. I’m not offering free piggy back rides here! However, sticking to strict schedule or having more time in your day allows you to have the ability to hit the gym or sweat it out at home more often! By setting times during the week where you will workout and sticking to it, you start developing better habits and in turn, maybe get shredded in the process! Having a set workout plan cuts your workout time and typically allows you to stay on track. Furthermore, Working out releases endorphins which are known to make you happy!

IT MIGHT HELP NOT WAIT UNTIL 11:55 PM TO WRITE THAT PAPER DUE AT MIDNIGHT
As previously discussed, clutter is hella distracting. When you organize your life, you tend to develop better time management skills and also lessen your time doing unproductive things. However, According to the Journal of Neuroscience, when you look or do too many things at once, it overloads your visual cortex which makes it difficult for your brain to process the information. So by removing the extra distractions, you’re actually enabling your brain to function a bit faster (ish) . How neat is that?

IT MAY HELP WITH THOSE ZZZ’S
Reducing Stress is known to help sleep. Did you know that the people who make their bed EVERY SINGLE MORNING (dedication, right?) are more apt to have a solid nights sleep, and 75% of people in this study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that they slept even better in fresh sheets. This may be attributed to physical comfort, but other tricks such as fluffing your pillow and not bringing in any stress into your bedroom such as last-minute emails or bills to pay will help keep your bedroom a safe haven for you.

RESOURCES/SOURCES:
“One Year to an Organized Life” by Regina Leeds
https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200603/how-get-organized-finally
https://psychcentral.com/lib/12-tips-for-getting-organized-for-adults-with-adhd/
http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-cleaning-and-organizing-can-improve-your-physical-and-mental-health

2 thoughts on “Use your productive time effectively!

  1. This was so good! These are some of the things I’ve already been implementing, but I can add to it.

    BTW, thanks for stopping by my page! 🙂

    1. Fierce Fibro Femme September 3, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Ah, you’re the best, thank you! Organizing is really all about personal preferences and what works for you.
      Hope you’re having a great day!
      Chloe

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