My Favorite Time Management Strategies for Caregivers
While caregiving isn’t a job, it has many facets like a job. When you are handling many tasks, you need to have strong time management skills in order to keep the chaos in order. For most people, being a family caregiver is an entirely new role that they have little experience with. Being a caree is also new to your loved one, so both of you are embarking on a new journey.
Of course, in many cases, caregivers fell into their role due to an accident or illness so there isn’t a lot of time to get organized, much less create a time management strategy. If you are struggling with managing all of your caregiving tasks, along with your own life management, you need to create a few systems to keep things in order.
Time Management Strategies for Caregivers
If you are struggling to get everything done, or dropping a few balls here and there, here are some time management strategies that can help. That being said, as I frequently tell my son, we are all human. Everyone makes mistakes and it is OK to make a mistake here and there.
- Write everything down. Don’t rely on your brain to remember everything. No matter how good your memory is, you are bound to forget things when you have a lot of things going on. I have a great memory but I drop many balls when I try to rely on my brain. Writing things down also takes the stress off of your mind so you may sleep better and reduce your stress levels.
- Create an organizing system. Once you’ve written down everything you need to do, create an organizing system. I prefer a paper planner system and digital calendar combination, but use whatever organizing system works for you. The important part is that you come up with an organizing strategy that works for you.
- Batch your tasks. If you haven’t heard of it before, batching tasks is a fantastic time management technique. Batching tasks essentially means doing similar tasks together. For example, if you have to make several phone calls, rather than doing a call, cleaning a room, doing another call and then filling out a form, do all of the calls together, then move on to another task. You’ll save time if your brain doesn’t have to jump from one task to another.
- Plot your days. Batching your days is a great time management tool. To take it a step further, plot your days so you don’t forget things. For example, Monday is always budget day or Tuesday is always medical management day. It doesn’t matter what task you assign to a day, as long as you follow your schedule so that you don’t drop the ball on things. If you keep putting off a task week after week, it ends up being overwhelming because there is so much more to do. This also takes some of the pressure off remembering when was the last time you did x, because you always do x on y day of the week.
- Organize yourself. If you are struggling to stay on top of things, you may need to step back and get things organized. Create a filing system so that you don’t waste time looking for things. If there is specific information that you regularly need, put it in a place that is easily accessible. For example, I have my medical ID number saved under the contact information for my doctor. That way, I have it when I need it. I also put all of the information I need to refill my prescriptions in the contact area of my planner so that I don’t have to go get the prescription bottle when I need to refill a medication. Figure out ways to make things easier on yourself and set aside time to create the system.
People don’t normally think of time management when it comes to caregiving, but the better you manage your time, the more efficiently your caregiving role will be. In addition, if you manage your time, you’ll have less stress and will hopefully be able to spend time doing things you enjoy, rather than always giving of yourself.
P.S. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some of my favorite organization products.