Five Time Management Tips for Caregivers

November 2, 2015

Keep a to-do list!

One of the key struggles of caregivers is finding the time to do everything that is demanded of them. It’s hard enough just to juggle all of the things you need to do for yourself. When you factor in the time required to care for the needs of a loved one and the time you need to devote to family matters, and there’s just nothing left. If you also work, time becomes unimaginably precious. When time is at a premium, it’s easy to become stressed out, resentful, tired, and inefficient. Your health may begin to suffer.

Time management can’t solve all of these problems; sometimes a person simply has more to do than he or she is humanly capable of doing. However, making sure you’re using good time management skills will definitely ease some of your struggles.

So what are some good time management tips?  Here are five helpful tips.

1.  Be as organized as possible.

Take some time to figure out what are some typical “time wasters” for you and how you can fix them.  For example, do you always seem to have to spend a few minutes looking for your car keys when you’re in a hurry to get out the door?  Find a convenient place where you can leave the car keys when you come in the door, and get into the habit of putting them there.  If you keep forgetting to bring Mom’s medicine log with you when you go to the doctor, put a note on the door the night before each appointment.

2.  Write things down.

None of us are as young as we used to be and we all forget things. Keep a little notebook with you (or an iPad or other electronic device) and jot down important things that you need to remember as you think of them.  Then you won’t waste time trying to remember the three things you really needed to do today.

3.  Plan ahead.

If you’re going to take Dad to the doctor and you know this particular doctor always keeps you waiting, bring along some work that you can take care of while you wait.  This might be a good time to fill out those Medicaid forms, read over that letter you got about upcoming changes in your insurance plan, jot down your grocery list, or sort Dad’s pills for the week.  Or, if you know that it simply takes Dad longer to walk places now than it used to, allow extra travel time when going somewhere.

4.  Prioritize.

This is probably the most important tip.  When you have seven things that all need to get done, you simply have to figure out the order of their importance – and you also have to realize that sometimes you cannot do everything that you need to do, and that is okay.  It also helps to realize that not everything on your list has to be done to the same level of perfection.  For example, some days it may be more important to just do a quick “tidy up” rather than a real cleaning.

5.  Know when and when not to multitask.

It’s great when you’re able to get several things done at once, such as  preparing the pasta while also phoning in that prescription refill.  However, it’s also important to realize that some tasks require your full concentration; don’t try to cook dinner while trying to convince your insurance provider to correct a mistake.

Time is your most valuable resource.  Here’s to using it wisely!

Jason Sager

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior who could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Fairfax Annandale, please call us at 703.750.6644 or email us. We work with most long term care insurance companies as well as Veterans Affairs, and Workers' Compensation.

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