Gain the Feeling of Productivity Through Time Management
I must talk about time. I realized the other day that my mind no longer sees time in its linear model. Rather, I see time in chunks, with lots of blanks between. Chasms of emptiness separate the parts I remember. Jagged edged memories protrude through. Remembering, for me, is like running my hand over the Grand Canyon. On the other hand, time is a black hole to me. Everything is in distinguishable without a lot of mental work. I'm sure you are thinking that I have surely lost my mind. I have not. I am trying to explain to you how it feels to have short term memory loss. Be patient. Perhaps you will better understand as I continue.
Oscar Wilde said of memory:
"Memory...is the diary we carry about with us."
Let me see...I remember using the steam cleaner on the carpet yesterday, Monday. And I remember going to a wedding on Saturday evening. And I know we went to church on Sunday. What did I do last week? I haven't a clue. I would have to look at the calendar on my Palm Pilot to find out. I went to the dentist this morning-ONLY because they called me yesterday! What is coming up this week? A family reunion meeting here at my house on Thursday...I know I have to make cupcakes for that...I need to write that down so I have some continuity of time. I remember in chunks. I don't think of time in a linear manner anymore. My memory is not sequential. The pieces of time which I have lost make me feel unproductive.
Making lists helps. Calendars help. Without them, I just drift into the future. Every day could be spent just floating from one activity to another and back. Often not finishing the tasks I start.
About.com has an article entitled: Don't Use Multi-tasking When You Can Use Chunking. The article encourages one to start small, to choose an activity (like writing this blog) and to concentrate on doing it for just thirty minutes. Do not answer the telephone, look at your emails, etc. It suggests doing this with one thing each day for a couple of weeks, forming a pattern, or habit. The author says that the activity will become easier over time. It then says to add other activities that you concentrate on, one at a time until each is done. Using this technique makes perfect sense to me. With dementia, it is important that I not have distractions. Chunking time and activities will allow me to accomplish things. Writing down what I've done, affords me the ability to keep track of my day. I can look back and see what I have accomplished that day. Since I remember in chunks, perhaps chunking my time will result in improving my memory. I believe it can improve my self image; by seeing what I have been able to do, my feelings of uselessness should vanish!