In my previous post on this subject, I talked about how making a monthly schedule has made a huge difference to my productivity and to my anxiety and depression levels. I'm not saying I don't have bad days. This last week has been tough because I haven't felt well most of the time. There were several days when I had to go back to bed in the morning or afternoon and slept for another three hours at a time.
And yet - I did accomplish something every day, even if I didn't feel well, even if I didn't start till 4:00. Checking the schedule told me what was most important to do. I didn't have to come up with something to get done - it was already there.
But now for the things that are more difficult for me: finances, home and health.
Finances means, first off, just opening the mail. Why is that so hard? Am I afraid of mail or something? It's not all that difficult! I swear, if I would just open and sort the mail every day, keeping up with financial responsibilities would be a breeze. (And since it's tax season, it's even more important to keep up!)
Home means housecleaning, putting things away and - dare I say it? Opening the mail. Because not only do I get behind on my financial records and occasionally pay bills late (fortunately, most of them are set up to be paid automatically), but the mail is now covering the dining table, the piano bench and part of the floor. It's that bad.
Health means just two things: improve my diet, and exercise. Both of these are seriously difficult for me - or maybe it's just too easy to say, "Ahhhh never mind" to both of them.
I have some housework incorporated into the schedule now, but it's generally the first thing to be ignored if I'm tired, not feeling well, or blah. So... what's the answer?
January's almost over, so I'm at the perfect point to think about expanding the schedule to incorporate financial, home and health issues.
And here's where I need to use the mantra my psychiatrist told me: Action Before Feeling. (If I remember right, he said this is used in A.A. and in cognitive behavioral therapy.) What that means to me is: Don't spend time trying to get yourself mentally ready to do a task. Do it - and feel good about having done it afterward.
Ever sat in a chair for half an hour or more telling yourself, "I've got to wash the dishes," or "I've got to mow the lawn" or something like that? And the more you think about it, the more paralyzed you become, or the more reasons you think of why you can't or don't want to do it? "Action before feeling" means putting a stop to that process. It means getting something done, and then enjoying the satisfaction.
So for February, I will add some items to the schedule. "Open mail" will be there six times a week. February 1st will say "Do 5 pushups" and I'll add one to that every day or two. I need to be more specific than just "kitchen" with housework, and add more daily and weekly tasks.
Hardest of all, I need to do something about eating better. Thanks to my meds, I'm seriously overweight. I agonize about that, but I don't do anything about it. So it is time to plan meals ahead, too.