5 Ways to Be Productive With Chronic Illness

Learn how to keep a schedule and get things done despite epilepsy.

5 Ways to Be Productive With Chronic Illness

By Lana Barhum Published at August 3, 2015 Views 1,502

Being productive is important for people with chronic illness because it is an opportunity to focus on anything but their illnesses. However, schedules and goals can be difficult to accomplish when you are constantly dealing with symptoms. But just because it may be challenging to be productive with illness doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Here are five ways that help me to remain productive with chronic illness.

1. I maintain a daily schedule.

Being chronically ill can be unpredictable. I never know whether tomorrow or next week or even an hour from now I will be able to do what I planned. As soon as my symptoms attack, my schedule can change. But just because a daily schedule may not always fit into my life, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have a schedule. In fact, maintaining a daily routine for my work, errands, household chores, and hobbies provides feelings of stability despite the chaos and uncertainty illness often brings.

2. I am realistic and flexible.

When chronic illness zaps all my energy, I can find myself unable to do all the things I’d like to do. I choose to be realistic about how much time I can dedicate to particular activities and how much effort those activities will take. I also know how important it is to be flexible to avoid disappointment should my plans change when a good day suddenly becomes a bad one. It is often quite possible to still do the things we love and want to achieve if we can adjust our schedules around our symptoms.

3. I simplify my life.

There is a lot of time wasted dealing with symptoms, treatments, doctor appointments, and waiting. A lot of my life has been eaten up by being sick, and I have learned to make peace with that. But I still have to make my life simpler and less complicated. I decide what is a priority now rather than canceling plans later on. I cut out time wasters that take away big chunks of my life—such as watching TV and spending time online—and decide which daily tasks need my attention. Then, I try to make things simpler to accomplish by breaking them down into manageable steps or by asking for help if needed.

4. I make use of technology.

Using lists, schedules and/or a calendar helps me to remember and keep track of activities. That way I can keep track of my schedule without relying on memory or taking up too much time to re-plan if things get complicated. You could purchase a purse planner or make use of the calendars and planners on your cellphone or laptop. The to-do list on your electronic device can help to remind you of the things you need to do each day, due dates, and even your illness management reminders. Cross out activities you have completed to help you to see how much you have accomplished despite the stresses of your illness.

5. I make the best use of my time.

Time is a rare thing when you are sick, and it can be easy to let others take over the little time you have. To be productive, I stick to my schedule and don’t let time get away from me. That way I can do as much as I can without depleting my energy in the process and still have time to enjoy my life. Try to find ways to pull two activities together without overdoing things. For example, you could listen to a work lecture while exercising or you could schedule your errands and/or appointments to be done in a single trip. By doing that, you are making the best use of your time. The more tasks you can combine, the more you get done. Just make sure when combining activities, you don’t complicate things because you don’t need the added stress.

Make Time for Yourself

Having a chronic illness can be exhausting. While you should be productive and successful in managing your illness, don’t forget to make time for yourself to relax. Schedule a short daily activity, such as a nap, a warm bath or time to meditate and stick to that. You should also plan a personal event at least once a week, such as getting a massage or a pedicure or enjoying a coffee date with a friend. Remember, chronic illness should never keep you from leading a fulfilling life.

To read more from Lana:

9 Things Chronically Ill People Want Loved Ones to Know
Being Hopeful in the Face of Chronic Illness
3 Things I’ve Learned Not to Do on My Journey with Chronic Illness

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