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Blog: Organizing For Special Needs
The Challenge of Time Management

Does it seem impossible to imagine a day when you aren't stressed out about being somewhere on time?

Do you frequently tell yourself that if your life was different (different job, less children, more support), things would be easier?

Life can be easier with a shift in how you look at your time.

By rethinking your schedule, you can create more calm in your life, and in the lives of those who count on you.

1) Keep a Calendar and write down everything

  • Big Appointments
  • Recurring Activities
  • A list of things to do that day

If my teenage daughter thinks she has 7 days to complete her school project, she will wait until 2 days before to begin.

She refuses to use a calendar, because she thinks she can remember everything.

The impact of this, it that she flies through her days, and then ends up frantic, and unable to participate in positive communication or unexpected activities that may come up.
("I can't do anything. Don't bother me, I'm so stressed out, I have to write this paper.")

If she used a written schedule, she would see that she has school, work, a doctors appointment, a hair appointment, and social obligations that she doesn't consider expendable.

She would see clearly which blocks of time were available for working on her project- and she would protect those moments, and use those times to get her work done.

The time to talk about strategies is not when someone is in chaos, but when they are calm and open. For someone who doesn't seem ready for change, gentle modeling and repetition works well...."Oh, let me go write that down so I don't forget." , or, " Would you like me to write the doctors appointment on the calendar?" As parents or support people, we can always hope that with enough repetition, our loved one will start to realize how to use structure and routine in their day.

Many people can be turned off by the words structure or routine.
But these words do not mean lack of freedom, they can create exactly the opposite.

If I have structure, I know when I have free time, that it is really free.
I don't have worry or regret about what I am forgetting or need to get done.

Most of us don't feel stressed out when we are DOING a difficult task.
It is the vast period of time we put off doing a task when we feel STRESS.
What FREEDOM to realize that life can be more vibrant and easy if we
find a way to plan our necessary activities, and have more open time for spontaneity.

2) Give yourself Permission to say No (or "What is Important?")

People will show you respect and love, if you respect and love yourself.

Creating a livable schedule is an important part of self care.

Try these thoughts, say them to yourself a few times a day for the next month until they become natural.

"If I don't really want to do something, I can easily say no."

"If I am hesitant to commit to something, I prefer to say no."

Allow yourself to smile, thank the person for thinking of you, and graciously say no.

Keep it friendly, and pat yourself on the back for creating the life you want and deserve.

No regrets or guilt needed.

3) Create Buffer Time between activities

  • Always schedule 15 minutes extra to transition between activities. You will use it.
  • Sit and breath
  • Gather your thoughts
  • Write it Down
  • Prepare
You will be calm and ready for whatever comes your way, and it will improve your life,
and your relationships with everyone in your life.

If you have Buffer time, you won't have to apologize if you couldn't find a parking spot,
or feel flustered if someone wants to stop you to say hello.

You can find calm and be in charge of your time.
If something unexpected happens, you have the time to deal with it in a calm and collected way.

What a gift to give yourself and everyone you come in contact with.

Lisa Alishio

Clarity Home Consulting

Live Well in Your Home

posted on: 2/20/2008 12:30:00 PM by Lisa Alishio
category: Special Populations

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Organizing For Special Needs

by Lisa Alishio

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About Lisa:

Lisa Alishio, COTA/L, is a professional organizer with a background in pediatric and adult occupational therapy. Her intention is to help people of all ages and abilities to "Live Well in their Home".

Lisa's Website:


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