One of the things I learned in rehabilitation, was the importance of having a daily- and weekly schedule. Given that your energy is the most limiting factor, it helps to spread out your activities over the week. And even more important, to plan all your breaks and moments of recovery.
Making a schedule
Learning what a good schedule entails did take some time. I first needed to record everything I did. Next I scored each activity from one to three, according to how tiring it was. Breaks where zero points and by sleeping I could get back one or more points.
After a couple of weeks I knew how many points I could spend on a daily and weekly basis and still feel okay. Next, I could finally began with the actual planning itself. I knew how many points I could use for a day and how many points I needed for daily activities (such as getting dressed). The difference between these two numbers were the points I could use to live my life.
And I have to say that this approach worked. The only downside was that spontaneous decisions didn’t really fit. I no longer could just decide to do something that wasn’t scheduled, as it would mess up my points for the day or week. But still, this system did allow me to live a more balanced life with fewer bad days.
Work as a schedule
And then I got a job. Suddenly work domineered my schedule. Almost all my point would be used to work. Between work and daily chores I had about three hours left for a social life in the weekend. Days were either work days or recovery days. And I no longer needed to make a weekly schedule. As long as I followed this structure, everything went fine. (Well schedule wise that is, as the balance between work and life was definitely off, but that’s a whole different topic.)
But then my contract ended and I no longer had to go to work. Suddenly there wasn’t a fixed structure or schedule to hold on to. And boy, did I notice that.
Without a schedule
Well, I noticed that something was off. I began to sleep more poorly. It didn’t really matter when I went to bed, as I would often see two a.m. before I would finally fall asleep. The next day I would still feel tired and lethargic and the following night I would still see two a.m. come and go.
This really frustrated me. I had hoped (and expected) that I would feel a lot better when I no longer had to work. But now it turned out that I was just feeling tired all the time. It took some time to admit this to myself. To admit that something was off and that I was probably doing something that was the problem.
This week I finally got a sense as to what the problem was. I, or my brain, really needs a clear structure. I need to plan my activities and make sure that I get the rest and sleep that I need.
Despite the fact that I don’t have to go to work, there are still a lot of things I need to do. The packing isn’t done yet and I have a whole list of things to take care of before my travels can begin. Doing things every day, clearly isn’t working.
The loosey-goosey approach to sleep, going to bed whenever I want and waking up whenever I feel like it, also turned out to be a terrible idea. The old me would be fine, but that’s not me anymore.
Reinstating a schedule
As I did before I had a job, I need to spread my activities over the week, plan my breaks and get some daily structure going again.
Now that I know, or think to know, what the problem is, I can do something about it. And so I’ll reinstate my weekly schedule. I’ll plan my breaks and even add two recovery days. I’ll start with setting an alarm again and will go to bed at a fixed time again.
Hopefully this will help with the sleeping issue and will also make me feel better energy wise. Though I am truly annoyed that I needed to learn this lesson once again, I hope that I’ll remember the importance of planning a little earlier in the future.
Do you have a weekly schedule? Do you manage to stick to your schedule?