Yes, we know you’re thinking “Don’t you know I would have done the exercises if it was that easy??!!!” One of the biggest concerns we hear from our patients trying to complete their exercise or postural homework is not being able to find the TIME.
We get it, you’re busy and you’re human, so when family, work, household, school, relationships, sport, hobbies, health issues, meal planning, vehicle maintenance and caregiving get in the way we understand; it all takes time. The idea of adding one more thing to your already packed schedule is a daunting request because in addition to your HOMEWORK, we also want you to prioritize some time for some occasional downtime, R&R, and maybe just once in a blue moon, sleep.
We do our best to make sure that what we ask you to do can actually fit into your schedule as it stands. For example:
- Postural or core exercises you can do while sitting at your desk,
- Ankle stabilizing you can do while sitting down to catch up on reading or while watching your favourite TV show
- Balance training works great while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil
These are some ways we try to help you recover and improve without having to find extra hours in your day.
So how to do you go about making the ‘choice’ to take back your time? Well, firstly, you need to list all of your ‘duties’. For example, picking up the kids, going to coffee with a friend, making homemade cupcakes for the whole class on your child’s birthday, always supervising the neighbourhood kids when they’re out playing in the street, taking on the extra tasks at work when you are already overloaded, completing your physio homework everyday, etc. If you have a partner get them to do a list as well. Not so you can say my list is bigger than yours, but so you can equitably go through the lists to make sure you both have things that build you up or fill up your bucket!
Once you have made your list, itemize it based on three categories:
- I must do this (things that just got to get done and it HAS to be ME, like going to your job!)
- I love doing this (things that fill up your bucket)
- You can do this (‘you’ can mean anyone, the neighbour, the partner, a grandparent, the child, etc.)
Some things that fill your schedule are inevitable, like work (unless you’re independently wealthy or have a sugar mama). The same goes for basic household maintenance and food: they have to happen, but take in the consideration of delegating some of those task and transitioning them to another capable human. Just remember, relinquishing the task will give you time. Try and somewhat ignore the execution (it will get better and closer to your standard) and don’t forget to be happy in the task’s completion!
If you have children or any other dependents, they will also demand a certain percentage of your time and sometimes that may fall into your ‘I love doing this’ time. This can be used as a teaching and transitioning opportunity. Kids thrive on boundaries and clear expectations so even though they are very young, children can have tasks that help the household run (not chores)!
Just remember it is freeing to acknowledge to yourself that you haven’t made that coffee date with so-and-so for three months because it is not really a ‘I love doing this’ task. Recognizing that you would rather eat with your family than shred those last 15lbs down to your ‘goal’ weight is important. Knowing that for you, getting at least seven hours of sleep matters more than meeting people for drinks at 10pm. With clear boundaries and social supports, some of the burden of those ‘I must dos’ can be managed on your schedule while the, ‘you can do this’ task delegation, can free up time from your schedule for those ‘I love doing this’ tasks!
After itemizing, make sure you organize how to give up/transition the ‘you can do this’ tasks to the appropriate winners. Also, make sure you have at least one ‘I love doing this’ on your list everyday. Finally, make sure that your ‘I must do’ list matches the ‘I must do’ list of your partner.
- Make your duties list (it may be extremely long)
- Itemize the list by the three categories
- Put your itemizing in to action, transition and shuffle tasks that need to be shuffled
Basically, this is about getting to know yourself, and what you prioritize. When you take a step back and recognize that many of the unreturned phone calls, emails, or event invites sitting at the edge of your consciousness are things you simply don’t love/need to do. Prioritizing opens up the possibility of making conscious choices in how you spend your time. Instead of getting caught up in the never ending deluge, you can pick your path. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll actually get to do some of the things you ‘love’ with a little time for a few physio exercises thrown in along the way!