October 18, 2012

Oh to be List-less

Posted in Strategies tagged , , , at 5:51 pm by Reva

Pardon the pun.

As my ME/CFS progresses my memory is slowly getting worse.  One of the things I’ve learned I need to do to keep myself on track it to write lists.  I have to write everything on these lists and I keep them everywhere.  Here’s one example:

Yep I have to remind myself to trim my nails and have a shower some days.

I always have a few lists on the go.

At home I have a “big jobs” list that sits on my fridge.  It’s the stuff that I know needs to be done, but is usually too big to do on my own or to do all at once, and doesn’t need to be done right away.  I keep it so that when people offer to help me by doing something around the house I know what to suggest, or when I have an unexpected run of good days or quiet weekends I can break the jobs down and do them myself.

On the first day of my weekend I write a list of all the things I want or need to achieve for the weekend.  I started to do this when I realised I was running around like a mad thing on a Sunday night trying to do all the things I forgot to do on a weekend, burning myself out before the work week even starts. Over breakfast I keep this list by me and plan my day or weekend.

I have a “Spring Cleaning” list.  It might take a full year to work through it but it prompts me to clean those things that I only ever notice when I’m too tired to do anything about it.

At work I have an ongoing “to-do” book (Yep, a whole book).  It has all the big projects I want to do, the phone calls I need to follow up, the forms I need to submit, the policies I’m supposed to write.

From this list I write a daily to-do list – If I don’t write this one I’m likely to forget all sorts of appointments.  And I usually break down the bigger projects into smaller jobs on this list.

As well as keeping me from forgetting things these lists help me to prioritise how to use my energy on a particular day.  For example from the list above, I would decide what absolutely HAS to be done (eg. Shower, dishes, voting).  I know I can’t do the dishes straight after (or before) having a shower.  Both involve standing in one place for a reasonably long period of time so if I did these for too long I’d probably end up with a drop in blood pressure, start to feel weak and dizzy, possibly nauseous and on a really bad week I’d possibly pass out.  So I make sure I have enough time between each to stop for a break, usually sit down and read the paper or watch some TV in between (I was told by a doctor once that the only activity that doesn’t count as “activity” when measuring how much a person with ME/CFS can do is watching TV – reading counts as activity as it takes more brain power than watching TV to do).  Or I might use this time in between to do some of the less draining activities (eg phone calls to make appointments, paying bills online)

My latest list is my “want” list.  Like most people I always find throughout the year I think of things I want but the needs come first.  But when Christmas or my birthday comes around and people ask what I want, I forget.  Usually until the day after the event.  So I’ve gone back to my preschool years and started a Santa list.

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