One of the biggest challenges for many home caregivers is finding the time to do everything that needs to get done. More than just about anyone else, home caregivers understand the truth of the phrase, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!”
Unfortunately, the days aren’t going to magically sprout an extra hour or two, so it behooves home caregivers to become time management experts. One of the best habits they can adopt in this area is sitting down and planning their whole week in advance.
Knowing what is coming in the week ahead and having a strategy for getting everything done can ensure that important things don’t fall by the wayside. Sure, no plan is perfect, and there are always unforeseen occurrences that have to be dealt with; but a master plan for the week provides a road map that can come in very handy.
When to Start
Many people choose to plan their upcoming week on Sunday night. Since it’s the weekend, they are more likely to have a few extra minutes of free time for this activity. But there’s no hard-and-fast rule. Some people may find that planning the next 7 days is better on a Tuesday morning or a Thursday afternoon. Home caregivers should pick whatever makes the most sense for them.
Write it Out
Even people with near-perfect memories will benefit from having a physical weekly plan, whether it’s handwritten or prepared on a computer. The act of writing or inputting helps to reinforce the information, and having it handy in physical form enables one to check off items – resulting in a real sense of accomplishment!
Go in Order
It usually helps to make the weekly plan in proper order. For some people, that’s chronological and means starting at, say, what happens first on Monday morning and going through until the last item on Sunday evening. For other people, it’s better to go in order of importance – all the “number one priority” items get put on the schedule first, then the secondary items, then the third-most important, etc. Again, there is no right way to do this – caregivers should simply choose the order that makes the most sense to them.
It’s tempting to try to fudge on times and put down what one wishes was realistic rather than what actually is realistic. If a doctor appointment typically takes an hour, scheduling only 30 minutes for it is likely to just mess up the whole day’s plan.
It’s also important to realize that sometimes there is too much to be accomplished in the given time. Home caregivers need to be ready to move things which are not time-sensitive to next week – or to find a family member to take on that activity.
Weekly planning can be challenging, but it can also help to reduce some of the stress many home caregivers feel. And that’s a blessing!