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  • Writer's pictureMargreta

How To Value Your Time When You Have A Chronic Condition [Part 3]

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

{This is part 3 of our series on living life with an autoimmune condition. Subscribe to get the next article sent directly to you.}

Time management, energy management, time blocking, scheduling, whatever you want to call it, people with a chronic condition like autoimmune conditions are masters at fitting everything into the 168 hours each week we all have during the week.

I’m sharing my schedule with you before, during, and during my recovery phase of an autoimmune flare. I understand that I control my schedule more than the average worker does, however, you may qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act depending on your classifications. And if that’s the case, you should discuss with both your medical team and your company’s HR and use your employee rights to your advantage.

As a wellness business owner, I see clients throughout the day and some evenings. Between these sessions are when I tackle all the necessary tasks to run a successful business. About a year ago, I started eating my meals at specific times each day and guarded those times and rarely interfered with them.

I’ve time-blocked my calendar for about a decade, much to a previous employer’s dismay at how I would only check my emails at 3 intervals during the day. Amazing how much more work you get done when you aren’t tied to your inbox.

Rules of time-blocking are simple, color coding is helpful if that works for you. I use it and find it easy to look at my calendar and know based on color what I should be working on at this moment or in the future - without having to read the details.

Below is my calendar during remission or before a flare when I am fully operational.

Next up is my calendar during a flare.

Who schedules naptime as an adult??

I do. Sleep and rest are an important part of my healing. If I don’t take the time to respect my body’s need to sleep midday, it would only result in worsening the flare-up and end up even sicker. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, and if I’m being honest, it took YEARS to figure out how my body starts to tell me I need that sleep.

Now that I know how my body communicates I need sleep, I let it. As I start to heal, the amount of sleep needed changes but as a rule, I try to always give myself about 90 minutes each day for a nap.

The other biggest difference between these two is that I try to condense my two main business activities: content creation (like writing articles and social media posts) and my general business management into fewer hours. Focusing on the tasks that must be done and delegating or postponing other non-essential tasks to a later date.

You’ll also see meditation every day. Normally, it's not nearly as regular on my schedule and usually associated with my planning time every day. During a flare, I like to purposefully meditate every day to help stay focused on the tasks that are essential and remind myself that I’m healing and it’s ok to slow down.

When I’m feeling better, which varies in length of time, I don’t just jump back to my “remission” schedule. I still schedule downtime or nap time every day to allow my body to relax and not overdo it. Overdoing it is the bane of existence for anyone with a chronic condition.

I refer to this as my “recovery phase” and it’ll last about a week or two depending on how bad the flare was and if I’m finding myself still needing to nap in the afternoon. I get back to focusing on more business tasks, often the things I put off the week before labeling it not essential but not worth delegating to someone else (AI or human VA).

My time management skills have greatly improved over the years and to some might seem excessive (or even obsessive) but they work. If I know that from 8-10 am on Wednesdays I’m doing content creation, I know that I have two hours to focus on one particular business area and get it done. I’m able to hit that much-needed flow and generate better content in less time then if I had just a checklist.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a checklist of necessary tasks every week and they fall into the various categories and are filled into my calendar as such. This post, for example, was written and my schedules summarized to categories (for obvious client privacy and business privacy) in under 40 minutes.

Without a time block to accomplish that, who knows how long it would take me - flare up or not.

As a medical exercise specialist, I’ve learned from my experiences and my clients and developed a system that motivates my clients to exercise, eat well, and get back to enjoying life.

That’s why I’ve decided to take the best methods of helping my one-on-one clients and turn it into a FREE all-new 5-Day challenge: Naturally Lower Inflammation!

During the challenge we’ll be covering:

  • Exercises to help you live pain-free

  • FREE Grocery List so you only eat foods that help reduce inflammation

  • How to sleep pain-free

And as a bonus, I’ve created a supportive online group for my clients and participants in this challenge.

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