Time management is a skill that people try to improve every day of their lives. The goal being to achieve tasks and responsibilities in a productive, efficient manner. It’s a technique that most people struggle with; however, it can be especially difficult for those in recovery. To ensure that you are making the most of your days, we’ve compiled a list of essential strategies that will help you navigate life after treatment.
Enhance Your Time Management by Creating a Routine
Routine isn’t just about managing your time, it’s also about managing yourself. Perhaps one of the more important tools to develop in recovery, routine is also key to achieving effective time management skills. Throughout recovery, there may be times your life feels that is all over the place. Keeping the various aspects of your life coordinated and consistent will help you feel in control of your schedule.
To start, create a simple daily routine by taking all the major factors in your day – i.e. wake, sleep, exercise – and scheduling them for the same time each and every day. Knowing what you have to do and when you have to do it creates a sense of comfort and ease to your daily routine that is effective in achieving a positive recovery outcome. Everyday routines also help limit the stress of worrying too much and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Prepare the Night Before
Most of us do not think our best first thing in the morning. Your thoughts are racing, jumping from one thing to another – your mind is not clear. At night, however, your mind is far calmer. When you prepare at night for the next day, you eliminate some of the cobwebbed thoughts that muddle your mind when you first awake.
Suggestions on how to do so include…
- Check the weather forecast and preparing accordingly (for both apparel and commute time).
- Choose what you’re going to wear the next day and hang it up in the bathroom.
- Pack your bag to include important papers, chargers, computer and a water bottle.
- Have your breakfast out for the morning.
- Make tomorrow’s lunch.
- Think about what you’re going to make for supper the next evening.
Upon waking the next morning, you won’t feel as pressured, risk forgetting something or chance running late. Instead, you’ll feel accomplished and productive, which in turn boosts your self-esteem.
Prioritize Time and Goals
Prioritizing your time can reduce stress; it can also give you a greater feeling of control and increased productivity throughout the day. At the beginning of each month, create (and later, update) a Master To-Do list of what you would like to achieve this week in recovery. These tasks may include items such as household chores, work assignments, random tasks, as well as goals specific to your recovery. Referencing your Master list, create a Daily To-Do list, which you can prioritize in order of importance and necessity.
Should you find any goal on your To-Do list overwhelming, break it down into smaller pieces, making sure to assign each a due date that comes before the original task’s deadline. Re-evaluate your To-Do list on a regular basis and ensure that the items on it are reasonable for you to achieve. This is an important tool in effectively managing your time, as it will cause less anxiety and stress while reducing your chances of relapse.
Live Clean and Organized
When you maintain physical and mental organization in your life, you’re accomplishing successful time management steps, as well as alleviating stress. When your home is messy, your life feels messy, priming you for anxiety and depression. Cleaning and organizing are known to reduce stress, and keeping a tidy home tends to lead to happier, more productive lives.
Staying clean and organized also helps you manage your time best, especially when everyday cleaning tasks become habits. For example, when you get up in the morning, make your bed straight away – before you even leave the bedroom. Another example is to clean up after yourself at every turn – not everything will go back to its original home straight away (i.e. dirty dishes), but you can save time by rinsing them and placing them in the dishwasher as opposed to letting them pile up.
Above all else, follow the idea that every item in your home should have its own place. Staying organized and knowing where your things are will help to keep your time well managed. As we all know, it can take up a chunk of your day searching for something, not to mention that it is extremely frustrating and stressful when you can’t find something you know you have. Take the time to ensure everything you own has its own place in your home. It is much more satisfying when you can find what you’re looking for when you need it.
Get More Rest
One of the most important factors in having healthy and well-balanced time management is taking the time to rest. Most people who’ve gone through an addiction don’t have consistent, healthy sleep schedules. This can negatively impact one’s physical and mental health. In recovery, be sure to plan adequate time for rest and sleep, as both will give your body what it needs to recover.
Throughout the day, schedule a five- to ten-minute break in for every hour you are planning to tackle your To-Do list. Take that scheduled time to get something to drink, grab a snack, walk around or stretch. Taking these breaks will help reduce stress and ease you back into focus when you go back to the task at hand. If you’re especially exhausted, you can even schedule a twenty- to thirty-minute nap in the middle of the day. These break and rest times will give you more energy throughout the day, helping you to achieve your To-Do list effectively. Your sense of accomplishment when you go to bed at night will bolster your self-esteem, and you’ll find yourself excited about the new day to come.
Recovery Skills and Time Management
At Cumberland Heights, we don’t just get you sober – we equip you with the tools necessary for a life of sustained recovery. Through clinically sophisticated programs, you will develop skills in the areas of finances, relationships, communication and independent living. Our comprehensive curriculum serves as a cornerstone of your sobriety. For more information, contact the Cumberland Heights admissions team by calling 800-646-9998. We look forward to speaking with you.